Senate Bill No. 35
(By Senator Klempa)
[Introduced January 11, 2012; referred to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2, §47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5, §47-26-6, §47-26-7, §47-26-8 and §47-26-9, all relating to pawnbrokers; providing definitions; establishing requirements for pawnbrokers; providing for the confiscation of pledged or purchased goods; establishing requirements for pawn tickets; requiring pawn transaction reporting; establishing disclosure requirements for pawn transactions to law-enforcement officers; authorizing the Commissioner of Banking to promulgate forms and propose legislative rules; establishing misdemeanor offenses; and providing criminal penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2, §47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5, §47-26-6, §47-26-7, §47-26-8 and §47-26-9, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 26. PAWNBROKERS.
(a) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Banking of West Virginia established in section one, article two, chapter thirty-one-a of this code;
(b) "Pawnbroker" means any person, partnership, association or corporation advancing money in a pawn transaction in exchange for collateral in the property of the pledgor.
(c) "Pawn transaction" means a transaction between a pawnbroker and a pledgor where the pledgor’s property is placed in the possession of the pawnbroker as security for money or other valuable consideration provided by the pawnbroker on the condition that the pledgor may pay a pawn charge and redeem his or her property within a predetermined time frame: Provided, That pawn transactions do not include those transactions where securities or printed evidence of indebtedness are used as security for the transaction.
(d) "Pledge" means an article or articles of property deposited with a pawnbroker by a pledgor as security for money or other consideration in a pawn transaction.
(e) "Pledgor" means a person who delivers the pledge into the possession of a pawnbroker, unless such person discloses that he or she is acting on behalf of another, and in such an event "pledgor" means the disclosed principal.
(a) On and after July 1, 2012, persons engaged in business as a pawnbroker shall comply with this article. (b) Only licensed pawnbrokers that comply with this article may:
(1) Display any sign or other device in or about a place of business, or use any advertising or printing material that resembles an emblem or sign commonly used by pawnbrokers;
(2) Display any sign or other device in or about a place of business or use any advertising or printing material indicating that pawnbroker transactions take place at the business; and
(3) Represent to the public that he or she is a pawnbroker or use the word "pawnbroker" either through advertising, soliciting, signs or otherwise.
§47-26-3. Operating requirements of pawnbrokers.
(a) All pawnbrokers shall continuously display their business hours on the exterior front door of their place of business or on another conspicuous location that is clearly visible to the public.
(b) Items bought outright by a pawnbroker shall be held for seven days before being disposed of or sold and shall be subject to the reporting requirements of sections six and seven of this article: Provided, That items on invoice purchased from a manufacturer or wholesaler with an established place of business are exempt from this subsection.
(c) Property pledged to or purchased outright by a pawnbroker may not be disfigured or its identity destroyed or affected in any manner while under the control of the pawnbroker nor may any property be concealed for forty-eight hours after the property is received by the pawnbroker: Provided, That items on invoice purchased from a manufacturer or wholesaler with an established place of business are exempt from this subsection.
(d) All pawnbrokers shall obtain a statement from each seller or pledgor on all sale or pawn transactions, except for refinance pawn transactions or merchandise bought from a manufacturer or wholesaler with an established place of business, affirming that the pledger or seller is the lawful owner of the property and that the property is free of all encumbrances. The statement shall appear on the bill of sale or pawn ticket that is completed by the seller or pledgor at the time of the transaction.
(e) All pawnbrokers and their employees or agents shall admit the chief law-enforcement officer, or his or her authorized agent with the approval of the chief, of the jurisdiction where the business is located or any law-enforcement officer of the state during the pawnbroker’s posted, regular business hours. The pawnbroker shall permit the officer to examine all records, including pawn tickets and pawn transaction forms, required by this article and any property listed in a record that is believed by the officer to be missing or stolen.
§47-26-4. Confiscation of pledged or purchased goods.
(a) Pledged or purchased goods may not be confiscated without a police report being filed by the rightful owner of the property.
(b) Pledged or purchased goods can be put on a one-time, thirty day hold by the authorized law-enforcement authorities.
§47-26-5. Powers and duties of the banking commissioner.
The commissioner shall prescribe and publish all forms may be necessary, and may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code as needed, to effectuate the provisions of this article.
§47-26-6. Requirements for pawn tickets.
(a) Every pawnbroker shall keep at his or her place of business an accurate and legible record of all pawn tickets written by the pawnbroker for the previous three years. A pawn ticket shall be written in ink or by another permanent recordation method of each transaction made in the course of his or her business. The pawn ticket shall be made at the time of the transaction and shall include at a minimum:
(1) A description of the make, manufacturer, model, model number, size, shape, serial number, year of manufacture or other description of the property received;
(2) The time, date and place of the transaction;
(3) A transaction number for each individual piece of property received;
(4) The full name, residence address, and home telephone number of the person or persons, together with a personal description, including the height, weight, date of birth, social security number, hair and eye color of such person or persons;
(5) Verification of the identity of the person by the pawnbroker by examining the state-issued identification card, driver's license or federal passport other government-issued photo identification card of the person and noting the identification exhibited, the issuing agency, and the number thereon with a copy thereof being kept by the pawnbroker;
(6) The maturity date, amount financed, finance charge, total payments, annual percentage rate, payment schedule and prepayment terms; and
(7) The signature of the pledgor upon placing the pledge and upon redeeming the pledge;
(b) In addition to the information required in subsection (a) of this section, a description of firearms including the manufacturer, make model and serial number of the firearms.
§47-26-7. Required transaction reporting on a pawn transaction form.
(a) Every pawnbroker shall each day prepare a report on a pawn transaction form of all the transactions conducted by the pawnbroker for that day. Transactions shall be entered on the report in chronological order of the occurrences of the transactions.
(b) The pawn transaction form shall include all the information required by section six of this article.
(c) The pawn transaction form shall be made available to law-enforcement officers pursuant to section three of this article.
§47-26-8. County and municipal regulation of pawnbrokers.
This article may not be construed to prohibit or otherwise limit any county or municipality of this state from adopting an ordinance, to the extent that the ordinance does not conflict or create lesser requirements than this article or any other provision of this code, establishing additional requirements of pawnbrokers within its jurisdiction. Pawnbrokers located in a county or municipality in which an ordinance establishes reporting requirements to local law-enforcement officials are not required to provide duplicate information to other law-enforcement officials pursuant to section three of this article.
§47-26-9. Criminal penalties.
(a) Any person who engages in the business of a pawnbroker in violation of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000.
(b) Any person selling or pledging property to a pawnbroker who uses false or altered identification or a false declaration of ownership in violation of the provisions in this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500 or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish requirements for pawnbrokers and pawn transactions. The bill also establishes procedures for confiscation of goods, establishes requirements for pawn tickets, requires pawn transaction reporting and establishes disclosure requirements for pawn transactions to law-enforcement officers. The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Banking to promulgate forms and propose legislative rules. The bill creates misdemeanor offenses for persons engaging in the business of a pawnbroker and for persons using false or altered identification to pawn or sell property to a pawnbroker. The bill further creates criminal penalties.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.