King Edward III of England had pawned his jewels in the year 1388 to a prominent money-lending family―the Lombards. He did so to get some finance for war against France.
When we think of a pawn shop, it doesn't really come off as a place where you'd like to do some shopping, does it? But, if you are okay with the fact that what you'll be getting is an already used item, with possible signs signifying the same, buying a pawned item can actually prove to be an money-saving option. And to make things more convenient for their customers, now, these business owners are also reaching out to those who prefer using the virtual medium over personal visits. There are websites such as pawn up where you can pawn/sell your items and get cash without having to step out of your home. But, what if you need to buy and not pawn?
Though the pawn industry has an online market, mind you, the options available aren't a lot. You would be surprised (or not) to know that most pawn shops sell through well-established retail websites such as eBay and GunBroker. Though some prominent pawn shops have their own online stores, you must check through these retail stores for some great money-saving deals. To get a direct listing of the item(s) you seek, and save some time spent on browsing and searching, type the direct phrase on the search bar. An example for the same would be: "pawn" site:ebay gold ring (if you wish to buy a gold ring). This would give you instant listings of all the pawn brokers who are selling this item on the website. The same rule applies when you wish to search in other websites as well. This tip is for those shoppers who wish to save the browsing time. The following points will inform you of some more interesting tips.
1. Do Your Homework Beforehand
Any online purchase, especially those of used items, requires a thorough research beforehand. If you are spending for a pre-owned item, you might as well get the best in the category. Therefore, you must invest some time and browse on different websites to see which item seems more gainful. For example, a search for "gold ring" may give you varied results in terms of the condition of the item and the quoted price. Evaluate all the possible parameters―make, scratches, missing parts, size, color, and the like. Also, remember that not all items lose their value in the same fashion. For instance, you might get a DVD for minimal price because it's used, but the same rule may not apply to coins or medals.
2. Buy from a Genuine Website
It is best to buy from a website you know is an established online seller. This may perhaps be the reason that (as mentioned earlier) most pawn brokers sell through eBay―the first name that comes to your mind when it comes to online shopping! You can also try GunBroker. Even the website Shop.History sells stuff from the popular reality show Pawn Stars store.
Before making the purchase always check that the website is secured, has genuine customer service and is backed by policies/guarantees that secure your transaction. It is only after proper scrutiny of the website, especially if it seems new or unfamiliar, that you must enter your card details.
3. Evaluate the Product Carefully
Experts suggest that there are some items that you should and some that you shouldn't buy from a pawn shop. While it's a great way to get some genuine precious jewels, branded accessories, home-improvement instruments, etc., at highly discounted rates, you might not want to buy electronic goods such as computers, video games, and TVs. The only reason behind this is the fact that they are used already, which in turn, may imply that the product might not be up to the mark. Ensure that the product is in working condition; the ring should not be missing a stone, or the video game should not have a missing remote. More on this is explained in the next point.
4. Look for the Item's Condition
When you view the item on a website, say eBay for instance, after you have had the enlarged view of all the images given, don't forget to pay attention to the field which says, "Item Condition". Look out for headers such as 'For parts or not working' or 'As is', this means that the item is not in a working state, or is missing an essential part, a remote perhaps? Speaking on these lines, also remember to check what is included within the quoted price. For instance, if you are buying an Xbox 360, check if it comes with a functional wireless remote, AV cable, chargeable battery, and so on. You can always contact the customer service in case the information is not clear enough. Never assume anything in these situations.
5. Check the Purchase Policies
If everything seems fine, the last and final checkpoint would be analysis of the policies associated with your purchase. These include policies related to return, exchange, payment, shipping, money-back guarantee, and the like. While some sellers do have lenient policies, some just follow the rule which states, "All Sales Are Final". Ensure that all these policies seem to be in your favor before taking the final call.
An online purchase, especially of pawn items, although has its own share of advantages, but the one downside that it has is that you don't get a chance to bargain further in the presence of the seller. While pawn brokers have hands-on experience in bargaining, some items may be bought at much cheaper prices when buying from a physical store, especially if they have been there for quite some time. Nonetheless, the aforementioned points will definitely help you get a deal that is not only profitable, but also secure.