2016 Georgia Code
Title 44 - Property
Chapter 12 - Rights in Personalty
Article 3 - Bailments
Part 5 - Pawnbrokers
§ 44-12-131. Duration of pawn transactions; lease-back of motor vehicles prohibited; taking possession of motor vehicles; restrictions on interest, fees, or charges; action to recover excessive or undisclosed charges; consequences of excessive charges
(a)(1) All pawn transactions shall be for 30 day periods but may be extended or continued for additional 30 day periods.
(2) A pawnbroker shall not lease back to the seller or pledgor any motor vehicle during a pawn transaction or during any extension or continuation of the pawn transaction.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed, a pawnbroker has upon default the right to take possession of the motor vehicle. In taking possession, the pawnbroker or his agent may proceed without judicial process if this can be done without breach of the peace or may proceed by action.
(4)(A) During the first 90 days of any pawn transaction or extension or continuation of the pawn transaction, a pawnbroker may charge for each 30 day period interest and pawnshop charges which together equal no more than 25 percent of the principal amount advanced, with a minimum charge of up to $10.00 per 30 day period.
(B) On any pawn transaction which is continued or extended beyond 90 days, a pawnbroker may charge for each 30 day period interest and pawnshop charges which together equal no more than 12.5 percent of the principal amount advanced, with a minimum charge of up to $5.00 per 30 day period.
(C) In addition to the charges provided for in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, in a pawn transaction or in any extension or continuation of a pawn transaction involving a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle certificate of title, a pawnbroker may charge the following:
(i) A fee equal to no more than any fee imposed by the appropriate state to register a lien upon a motor vehicle title, but only if the pawnbroker actually registers such a lien;
(ii) No more than $5.00 per day in storage fees, but only if an actual repossession pursuant to a default takes place on a vehicle which was not already in the pawnbroker's possession and only for each day the pawnbroker must actually retain possession of the motor vehicle; and
(iii) A repossession fee of $50.00 within 50 miles of the office where the pawn originated, $100.00 within 51 to 100 miles, $150.00 within 101 to 300 miles and a fee of $250.00 beyond 300 miles, but only if an actual repossession pursuant to a default takes place on a vehicle which was not already in the pawnbroker's possession.
(D) If a pledgor or seller requests that the pawnbroker mail or ship the pledged item to the pledgor or seller, a pawnbroker may charge a fee for the actual shipping and mailing costs, plus a handling fee equal to not more than 50 percent of the actual shipping and mailing costs.
(E) In the event the pledgor or seller has lost or destroyed the original pawn ticket, a pawnbroker may, at the time of redemption, charge a fee equal to not more than $2.00.
(5) No other charge or fee of any kind by whatever name denominated, including but not limited to any other storage fee for a motor vehicle, shall be made by a pawnbroker except as set out in paragraph (4) of this subsection.
(6) No fee or charge provided for in this Code section may be imposed unless a disclosure regarding that fee or charge has been properly made as provided for in Code Section 44-12-138.
(7)(A) Any interest, fees, or charges collected which are undisclosed, improperly disclosed, or in excess of that allowed by this subsection may be recovered by the pledgor or seller in an action at law in any superior court of appropriate jurisdiction.
(B) In any such action in which the pledgor or seller prevails, the court shall also award reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, and any expenses of litigation to the pledgor or seller.
(C) Before filing an action under this Code section, the pledgor or seller shall provide the pawnbroker with a written notice by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, that such an action is contemplated, identifying any fees or charges which the pledgor or seller contends are undisclosed, improperly disclosed, or in excess of the fees and charges allowed by this Code section. If the court finds that during the 30 days following receipt of this notice the pawnbroker made a good faith offer to return any excess, undisclosed, or improperly disclosed charges, the court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, and expenses of litigation to the pawnbroker.
(D) No action shall be brought under this Code section more than two years after the pledgor or seller knew or should have known of the excess, undisclosed, or improperly disclosed charges.
(b) Any interest, charge, or fees contracted for or received, directly or indirectly, in excess of the amounts permitted under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be uncollectable and the pawn transaction shall be void. All interest and the pawnshop charge allowed under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be deemed earned, due, and owing as of the date of the pawn transaction and a like sum shall be deemed earned, due, and owing on the same day of the succeeding month.
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