WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Lawmakers Looking To Address Montgomery County's Pawn Problem

Play associated audio
Big box retailers are currently prevented from taking in trade-in units in Montgomery County.
Mike Mozart: https://flic.kr/p/mHd976
Big box retailers are currently prevented from taking in trade-in units in Montgomery County.

A nearly 30-year-old law in Montgomery County is frustrating customers who are looking to trade-in cell phones and other electronics to get the latest versions of them.

When it was passed in 1985, the county's so-called "pawn shop" law prevented stores from giving cash to customers who brought in goods to sell — stores could only give them checks. It was designed to stop criminals who sold stolen goods for cash.

Three decades later, that law is stopping stores like Best Buy and Apple from giving store credits to customers when they bring in their electronics — mostly cell phones and tablets — that are applied to purchasing the latest versions of those devices.

Eric Friedman heads Montgomery County's office of consumer protection and says that, for whatever reason, this part of the pawn shop law was never updated.

"Back in 1985, we didn't have appliances on the marketplace that were typically replaced every few years with new versions. You bought a television, it lasted 20 years and you bought a new one," Friedman says.

The county council will take up a bill when it returns to work next month that would allow stores to offer credits and gift cards, not just written checks.

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Sweet Name Of Kids' Clinic Gives Some People Heartburn

The Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic gets its name from a student-run charity race in Raleigh, N.C., that has already raised $1 million for kids. Still, some find the name unhealthy.

Americans Don't Disagree On Politics As Much As You Might Think

Everyone knows that distrust of Washington is at near-record levels and that Congress has grown more polarized. But what's going on with American voters is more complicated than you may realize.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.