South Carolina pawnbrokers will need to post a $15,000 surety bond following the passage of House Bill 4090. Previously, pawnbrokers were required to post a $5,000 surety bond. The change became effective on June 9, 2016, the day the bill was passed.
A pawnbroker is any person engaged in the business of lending money in return of goods, or engaged in the business of purchasing tangible personal property on condition that it may be redeemed or repurchased by the seller for a fixed price within a fixed period of time. The surety bond guarantees that the pawnbroker will comply with laws set forth in Chapter 39 of South Carolina Code, Title 40.
Applicants can no longer post a letter of credit, a certificate of deposit, or other form of financial responsibility; only a surety bond will be accepted by the South Carolina Secretary of State. The bond must also be issued by one surety company and can no longer be issued by two sureties. In addition, pawnbrokers must provide proof of adequate insurance, covering loss of pledged (pawned) items.
H. 4090 adds procedures for police officers placing holds on pawned items. If an officer has probable cause to believe a pawned item was misappropriated or stolen, they can place a hold on the item. Section 40-39-145 details the information that must be included on the hold order. The hold period is 90 days and officers can use the item in criminal proceedings, if needed. If the hold period expires and the pawnbroker is still in possession of the item, they must notify the officer in writing. The officer then has ten days to respond before the hold is released.
Section 49-30-80 details procedures for filling out a pawn ticket for pledge or purchase of an item. The pawnbroker must ID pledgors and purchasers before signing the pawn ticket.
Doing business as a pawnbroker in South Carolina requires a license from the Department of Consumer Affairs, called a Certificate of Authority. A Certificate is required for each location where business is conducted. Pawnbrokers must submit the following information:
- Name of business as displayed, legal name of business and Federal Employer ID number (if applicable)
- Names of all employees and owners, with contact person indicated
- $275 application fee per location
- Business’s mailing and street addresses, phone number, email and website
- List of all pawn business locations (if more than one)
- Other names and addresses applicant has done business under
H. 4090 mandates that a pawnbroker license applicant must conduct and document background checks on all employees, partners, or anyone directly or indirectly controlling the pawnshop. Alternatively, applicants can submit consent to background checks as well as fingerprints from each relevant person. The applicant must also undergo a background check and submit their fingerprints to the administrator of the Department.
The Department will issue notice of the new law and a deadline for compliance for current pawnbrokers in the next few weeks. Brokers should submit renewal forms as usual by the June 30 deadline.
Contact the Department’s Senior Licensing Examiner Barbara Faircloth at (803) 734-4249 with your questions about the new pawnbroker surety bond. The SuretyBonds.com team can answer your questions about purchasing a surety bond in South Carolina.