Bringing the Booze to You

Following up the earlier post about concerns being raised about on-line alcohol sales. This research from the United States suggests that there is a need to do some urgent research into whether on-line retailers have effective age control policies in place.

Here’s what they found:

The study participants successfully purchased alcohol on 45 out of 100 tightly controlled attempts. They did not use fake IDs, and they had to provide their real IDs when asked. Only 12 orders failed immediately when the participant placed the online order or shortly afterward. (more stats below.)

“We were amazed at how easy it was,” says Rebecca Williams, the UNC researcher who led the study. “With just a few clicks on their computers or smartphones, kids can order alcohol and have it delivered to their homes.” And if one website denies them access to alcohol, there are thousands of other sites to choose from.

Read the whole piece here.

How much of an issue is underage on-line sales of alcohol?

The BBC are reporting that as retailers are doing better at doing age checks that underage on-line sales are becoming a problem.

They draw this from a report by Dr Adrian Barton at the Centre for Research in Sustainable Leadership, Governance and Policy, Plymouth University.

But I don’t think the report quite says what the BBC imply.

Rather what the report suggests that this may be a way that young people try to access alcohol and that there are weaknesses in the age verification process on some sites that the researchers visited.