For over 100 years and four generations the Milton family and its businesses have been serving clients across Merseyside and the wider North West region. By maintaining a personal ethos of looking after our customers courteously, professionally and fairly, our aim is to consolidate our reputation as the pawnbroker of choice for all.
On this page we look at some points about pawnbroking which are a little less mainstream than the key information which can be found if you click on our main pawnbroking page, above. If you can’t find what you need there or below, please fill out the enquiry form (or call us using the telephone numbers) here. We will try to respond to any query within 24 hours by email, or immediately if you have telephoned.
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Are there any books about UK pawnbroking?
No book is perfect, but there is one recent work of note, available on Amazon if you click this link : The Pawnbrokers: the Fall and Rise of Pawnbroking written by Ray Perry. Until mid-2016 Ray was the Chief Executive of the National Pawnbrokers Association, on whose Council our Managing Director continues to serve. The book covers interesting history, a breakdown of the UK market and much about how the pawnbroking procedure has worked through the years. Miltons have recently submitted extensive further material to Ray which, if he finds the time, should add to the content of the Second Edition!
Aren’t all pawnbrokers the same? I’ll just go to the nearest one…
Stop right there! All pawnbrokers are not the same, and there can a massive difference in the cost of borrowing money from one compared with another. For the sake of Treating Customers Fairly, it is important to spell out just how much difference an apparently small variation in interest rates can make. Many pawnbrokers around the UK charge around 9.9% per month for most of their loans, while if you make a little effort you can find pawnbrokers who will charge 7.5% per month or even less. You might think “That’s only 2% difference, it’s not worth shopping around” but that is an expensive mathematical mistake! In this example, the more expensive pawnbroker is in fact charging nearly a third more than the other! We know that some customers struggle to understand percentages so, in other words, you may well pay nearly a third as much again at one pawnbroker for the same loan as you might at a competitor! Our own interest rates are shown clearly if you click here for our main pawnbroking page. You should compare them with others to ensure that you get the lowest rate that you can for your specific loan. The Representative APRs will give you some indication of any comparison, but it may be more directly relevant to look at the specific rates you would be asked to pay for your size of loan. If the interest rates aren’t shown clearly on a competitor’s website or in-store, why is that?
You will also find that different pawnbrokers will also offer very different loan amounts against your jewellery or watches. Those who do not have a strong retail department in a high street location, or who perhaps sell unredeemed goods at auction, usually have to base their loan prices on lower market values as a result. However, where the pawnbroker is a strong retailer, you may well find that you are able to borrow more when you need it. Never borrow more than you need, though.
Not all pawnbrokers are members of the excellent National Pawnbrokers Association. Not all pawnbrokers have teams of valuers headed by NAG Registered Valuers and Watch Specialists. Not all pawnbrokers offer the same levels of physical security for your property (look for stores with plenty of staff, a doorman, CCTV, bankers’ safes and so on). Not all pawnbrokers have private facilities where you may conduct your business in private if you wish.
I would feel embarrassed coming to you.
First-time customers often tell us that they have been nervous about coming in, but even by the time they reach us they already feel happier, because a Miltons store has the appearance of nothing other than a smart, bright, modern jewellery store. You won’t be embarrassed entering a shop with Rolexes and top end diamond jewellery in the windows! Our staff are especially sensitive and patient with first time clients, so tell them that you are. Why not ask if you can be seen in private? You don’t need an appointment and we can sit down to talk face-to-face in a private client suite designed for the purpose. Let us treat you like the precious client you are to us.
Yes, but having to pawn my things…
What of it? No-one would be embarrased to take out a mortgage to pay for an extension; is it really so different to raise money against a different sort of asset, for a different type of need? Pawnbroking simply provides immediate access to cash or funds for a short period of time (contracts are for up to seven months). Many asset-rich clients use us when cash-flow is just a bit tight. A builder may have men to pay but is awaiting payment from a client. A professional may have just received an unexpected tax bill. The car needs new tyres. The boiler has gone…Almost ALL of us face similar demands on our immediately available cash and at times need a short-term solution, as fast as possible. We will never forget one customer who said that she was too embarrassed to ask the bank for a loan (and may not have been granted it), but she was happy to use a pawnbroker because she felt she was “borrowing from herself.” She had items worth something, and was simply releasing the value in them temporarily when she needed it.
Am I as good as saying “goodbye” to my precious items forever?
Absolutely not! Around 85% of pawnbroking clients reclaim their property and have, as they intended, used us simply for an immediate or short term borrowing need. The last thing we want to do is to have to sell anyone’s property. We pride ourselves on being a very “human,” personal, family business and want you to retain those assets which are yours.
Could my credit rating be affected?
Not at all. Our own, expert valuation of your property serves as the credit-worthiness check for your loan. We do not contact any external credit-referencing body. If you aren’t able to reclaim your items in due course — and this happens in only about 15% of cases, so please tell us if you are struggling as we’d rather help you if we can! — we will ultimately sell them in order to recover the relevant loan, interest and reasonable costs. You cannot end up owing us any more than the item(s) sell for. Your credit rating will not be affected and your entire business with us will not be recorded on any credit database but our own.
Interest rates? Absolute / vs others.
More Details to follow / comments on short term nature / trains v taxis / weekend wallet / hotel.
Many people find that using a pawnbroker can be more sensible than going overdrawn at their bank. In May 2015 the independent Which? website carried this survey showing the charges and rates which High Street banks applied to unauthorised overdrafts. Rates do vary, so why not use the internet to find what your bank is actually going to charge you before you go overdrawn? You would be much better-placed to make the right choice, if you then ask : for short term borrowing, could pawnbroking be cheaper?
Unfortunately for the rest of the lending industry, for some reason the banks with their massive lobbying power have managed to have a lot of their actual charges excluded from the rates they need to publish. It is unclear why, when they are the ones who commonly attract customer complaint, they should enjoy this special privilege; one might wonder if it meets the principle of Treating Customers Fairly. Anyone who pays their charges might agree with the BBC Moneybox programme, who found that High Street Banks can be the most expensive short-term lenders of all!
Why jewellery and watches only?
Details to follow
I have more than one item to pawn. Should I pawn them on one contract or split them?
If you pawn more than one item on a single loan agreement you will not be able to redeem them separately. We advise pawning multiple items individually over two or more separate contracts, so that they may also be redeemed separately if this is desired. However, if this is not a concern and you wish to pawn multiple items under one loan agreement, the single, larger loan may incur a slightly lower rate of interest than multiple, smaller loans.
I have lost my pawn ticket, what should I do?
It is vital that we are promptly and properly notified, so that we may prevent someone else from redeeming your property using the pawn receipt. It is best if you contact us immediately using the telephone numbers on our “Contact Us” page. We will advise you what you need to do next.
My pledge contract said that interest is added each month (or part of month) by a stated amount, but when I came back for my jewellery I wasn’t charged as much as I expected. Why not?
The great news is that you cannot be charged more than your contract’s terms suggest. Like many pawnbrokers, we apply simple (not compounding) interest on each monthly anniversary of your agreement, but if you come in soon after this date, especially in the early months of your agreement, an Early Settlement Discount based on a daily rate may apply so that you don’t pay a full month’s additional interest. If you would like to know how much it would cost to redeem your pledge today, you can call us before you come in.
Tell me more about the costs of sale, if I don’t come back for my property.
We will do all in our power reasonably to help you reclaim your jewellery, as that is much better for you and for us. Ultimately, though, we do have to sell some pledges in order to recover our loan, interest and costs. Our having to sell these items requires that we incur significant additional expense, so we are allowed to deduct reasonable “costs of sale” from the proceeds realised. Always seeking to obtain the highest price for you, in over 99% of cases we sell unredeemed pledges by private treaty (that is, on your behalf); from the proceeds we deduct 24% in costs. For many years we have (unlike most pawnbrokers) published our selling costs in advance, on the walls of our pawnbroking departments and on our website. There they may be seen at any time, even before a contract is first completed. You can view this detailed document by clicking here.
You’ve joined the voluntary “Gold Standard” for buying in secondhand jewellery. Does this have any independent support?
The Home Office, Police and the Minister for Crime Prevention at the time (Lord Henley) were all very positive when the Gold Standard was launched with the NAG and NPA’s support. Lord Henley said: “The theft of gold including jewellery can have a devastating effect on victims. I welcome the way in which the … National Pawnbrokers Association have worked in collaboration with the police to produce the Gold Standard voluntary code of conduct. This initiative will really help to reduce the chance of jewellers unwittingly buying or selling stolen goods, and provide greater confidence to people who want to sell items on to trusted dealers. It is a good example of what can be achieved when business and police work together to cut crime in the communities in which they operate.” Membership of the Gold Standard scheme is now something about which the Financial Conduct Authority may be asking all pawnbrokers.
Why has Miltons refused to be a part of the recent “TV Pawnbroker” phenomenon?
Pawnbroking as presented on television is almost entirely a work of fiction. Stooge customers carrying out sale transactions that are a mile away from the professional, discrete loan transactions carried out by proper pawnbrokers are not something with which Miltons wish to be associated. Have you seen advertisements looking for “customers” to appear in these programmes?
It is worth looking at the accounts of some of the businesses featured in these programmes in order to see quite how substantial — or otherwise — they really are. This newspaper article only recently came to our attention and we await further news with interest : click here for www.dailypost.co.uk article
Miltons has appeared many times in sensible interviews / feature pieces with all the main terrestrial channels, broadsheet newspapers and radio stations, but we won’t compromise our business in order to satisfy television companies’ wish to present a fictional and misleading version of the job in which we take such pride.
Some “buy-back” shops call themselves pawnbrokers. Are they the same?
Pawnbroking is a regulated industry whose transactions are subject to the Consumer Credit Act, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Consumers enjoy extensive protection as a result. For decades it has been a highly respectable industry and it is a matter of record at the Financial Ombudsman Service that complaints about pawnbrokers are almost unheard of. “Buy-back” on the other hand is something many people consider to be an artificial transaction, designed to work around Consumer Credit law. A number of its providers privately admit that the service is “obviously a loan” yet it is clearly a service that is not regulated in the same way as pawnbroking and other forms of lending. Be aware that your rights to information about a “buy-back” transaction and the consumer protection available to you are very different from those you enjoy if you complete a pawnbroking transaction. Furthermore, can any single location really offer expertise in cameras, televisions, telephones, computer games, musical instruments, PCs / tablets, golf clubs…and jewellery and watches? With the Financial Conduct Authority’s justified focus on “treating customers fairly,” it will be interesting to see if the buy-back providers can convince the regulator that this part of their business should not be treated the same as any form of lending.
For loans of any significant value, and certainly all those made against jewellery and watches, we think you are best served by a proper, specialist pawnbroker which is also an established jewellery retailer. The three companies Miltons (Liverpool) Ltd, M.S.Milton Ltd and S.S.Milton Ltd together enjoy jewellery and watch sales of some £5million every year, including over 500 Rolex watches and many five-figure diamonds.
Do you have any problems with stolen goods being offered to you?
As members of the National Pawnbrokers Association and leading supporters of the Safergems intelligence network, we have extensive measures in place to make sure that the baddies go somewhere else. The propriety of UK pawnbrokers has often been recognised by the police and it is gratifying to read comments like this from Superintendent Jim Allen of Derbyshire Police in June 2016 :
“Like many people I had an uninformed view of the pawnbroking business. Working with the National Pawnbrokers Association has been very informative and certainly changed my view of the business.
“I would encourage any police force looking to drive down acquisitive crime to talk with the NPA and use their advice and guidance to better inform officers about the work of pawnbrokers and the very considerable steps they take to prevent criminals using their services.”
If you still have a question, please ask us!
We are people just like you and it’s our job to help you. Whether you think it’s a silly question or a complicated one, pick up the telephone, email us or pop in to the relevant store.