Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 4. Pawnbrokers

Interest Pawnbrokers May Receive -- Civil Enforcement -- Prohibited Activities

31-1-401. Interest pawnbrokers may receive -- civil enforcement -- prohibited activities. (1) A person may not carry on the business of pawnbroker or junk dealer by receiving goods pawned or in pledge for loans at any rate of interest above 10% a year without first obtaining a license. A pawnbroker or junk dealer or the pawnbroker's or junk dealer's employees or agents may not charge a fee of more than 25% of the amount of the loan for a 30-day period. The fee for extending a pawn agreement for 30 days may not exceed 25% of the amount of the loan. For purposes of this section, a fee includes all costs or fees charged, including but not limited to interest, commission, discount, storage, care of property, and purchase option.

(2) The taking, receiving, reserving, or charging of a fee greater than that allowed under subsection (1) is considered a forfeiture of a sum double the amount of the fee for storage or caring that was agreed to be paid.

(3) (a) When a rate or charge greater than that provided for in subsection (1) has been paid, the person by whom it has been paid may recover from the pawnbroker or junk dealer reasonable attorney fees and an amount double the amount of the fee paid.

(b) An action under this subsection (3) must be brought within 2 years after the payment of the fee. Before a suit may be brought, the party bringing suit shall make written demand for return of the fee paid.

(4) Unless licensed as a consumer loan licensee or a deferred deposit loan licensee, a pawnbroker or junk dealer may not:

(a) cash or advance money for a postdated or deferred presentment check in exchange for a fee or finance charge;

(b) use a check, authorization for electronic access, or other method of access to a deposit account, savings account, or other financial or asset account as a condition of or security for an extension of credit;

(c) receive the title to a motor vehicle for the purpose of a pawn transaction or in pledge for a loan; or

(d) engage in any device or subterfuge intended to evade the requirements of this chapter, including assisting a borrower to obtain a loan at a rate of interest prohibited by Montana law, making loans disguised as personal property sales and leaseback transactions, or disguising loan proceeds as cash rebates for the pretextual installment sale of goods or services.

(5) In addition to other penalties provided by law, a violation of subsection (4) is a violation of Title 30, chapter 14, part 1.

History: En. Secs. 1 to 8, pp. 206-207, L. 1889; amd. Sec. 3310, Pol. C. 1895; Sec. 2105, Rev. C. 1907; re-en. Sec. 4186, R.C.M. 1921; re-en. Sec. 4186, R.C.M. 1935; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 185, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 66-1601; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 258, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 5, I.M. No. 164, approved Nov. 2, 2010; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 278, L. 2013.