Injunction against pawnbroker


The Federal Court has granted an injunction against Delahey pawnbroker, Taylors Business Pty Ltd, in class action proceedings filed by the Consumer Action Law Centre on October 26.

A Consumer Action Law Centre spokesperson said Taylors Business operates a pawnbroking business in Delahey, which was shut without notice in July of this year.

After several complaints from Taylors Business’s customers, the Consumer Action Law Centre investigated and discovered that Taylors Business was deregistered as a pawnbroker by the Business Licensing Authority on November 15, 2022.

Consumer Action said despite being deregistered, Taylors Business continued to enter into new pawnbroking contracts with its customers after this date.

Consumer Action chief executive Stephanie Tonkin said the class action is being undertaken to help distressed people who cannot access better and safer forms of credit.

“We also want to shine a light on this industry and laws that permit businesses to take items of significant value to people – most of whom are in financial trouble – and slug them with extraordinary charges on top. Charging interest rates above 48 per cent per annum is illegal under the credit laws, and you have to query why pawnbroking businesses are exempted,” she said.

“Our clients often surrender goods that are really meaningful to them, to access small sums of money worth much less than the goods and are paying eye-boggling sums of interest on top.

“The fact is that people are turning to these pawnbroking services out of desperation, and it’s taking them into even deeper financial troubles, and underlying all of this is the cost-of-living crisis we’re all experiencing.”

The injunction restrains the business from dealing with any of the pawned goods that are subject to the class action, and includes an exception that Taylors Business can return the pawned goods at its own expense, without requiring the payment of any charges under the pawn contracts.

Consumer Action is acting for the lead plaintiff in the proceeding as well as group members who entered into pawn contracts with the business between November 15, 2022 and October 26, 2023.

The applicant is seeking orders that the business return any pawned goods that it continues to hold, despite shutting its store in July 2023, and compensation. The applicant is also seeking urgent orders to protect the pawned goods.