If a business is caught selling age restricted items to an underage person, did you know that both the business owner and the person who made the sale can be held responsible? This can result in a fine and a criminal record.
It’s not just alcohol and tobacco – there are a range of age restricted goods that you might not usually think about, including games, knives, pets, tanning and much more. A particular issue at the moment is the sale of knives to young people. Wiltshire Police and Swindon Trading Standards conducted a test purchase operation in September 2017. 7 out of 49 businesses (14%) sold a knife to an underage volunteer.
If you own or work in a business that sells age restricted goods or services, you can be held personally liable for selling to an underage person or for failing a test purchase. Most of the time, an underage sale is made because staff aren’t properly trained or there isn’t a robust age restricted sales policy in place.
So how can you protect yourself and your business? Here are a few pointers from Trading Standards:
- Have an age restricted sales policy
- Make sure you have training in place
- Keep training records to show due diligence
- Operate a Challenge 21/25 policy
- Make sure you know what goods & services are age restricted, and what the restrictions are
- Make sure you know what forms of ID are acceptable
There are many ways that you can implement training, from online courses to in-classroom training. Trading Standards South West offers an online, subscription-based training toolkit called ‘No Proof of Age – No Sale’ (www.npoans.org.uk) which is supported by several Trading Standards Services across the South West. If your business operates in an area where the toolkit is supported by your local Trading Standards, you may be able to access the training for free.
Lisa Peters, the Operations Manager from Trading Standards South West says “Training your staff on age restricted products protects your business as well as underage people. Staff need to know what to do if they are faced with a young person trying to buy age restricted goods.”