Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

I recently pawned a chainsaw.About a week later,the place burned to the ground.Faulty wiring was the fire departments official finding.the building has been rebuilt,and the same pawn shop is back in business.My question is; do they have to honor their pawn slips?

Asked on 6/03/10, 11:33 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

The short answer is yes they do. That pawn slip represents a contract between you and the shop. The complicated part comes in when you look at whether you paid the loan back. I don't know the exact terms of your pawn slip, but typically, you have a certain amount of time to pay off the loan and at a certain interest rate, otherwise, you forfeit your chainsaw. If you paid the loan back or if you tried to pay it off and were refused and can prove this, then I'd say they need to reimburse you the fair market value of your chainsaw as it was then. The problem you may have is that the "fair market value" may be what's on the pawn slip, which is arguably less than what you would pay if you went on Craigslist or eBay and tried to buy a similar model used.

On the other hand, if you never did pay off the loan, then courts are likely to treat this as a default, which means you lost the chainsaw to the pawn shop and got to keep the money without repayment or interest. You both walk away with nothing more or less.

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Answered on 6/03/10, 3:33 pm

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