Retailer advice - staying within the law

A responsible retailer will: 

  • train till staff and provide regular reminders/refresher training
  • adopt a policy not to sell when there is doubt
  • display statutory signs and deterrent posters
  • always ask for proof of age. “No ID, No Sale”
  • comply with the spirit and the letter of the law
  • work with enforcement agencies and make them aware of suspected sources
  • keep a record of refusals

Defences to these offences are provided if you can show you exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence.

Due diligence defence

Implement a company policy

To whom and in what circumstances a customer will/will not be served such as only on production of proof of age.

Adopt a written procedure

It should be brought to the attention of all employees dealing with age-restricted sales. For example, that before selling to a person suspected of being under age, refer to other senior staff for advice (if possible).

Provide staff training

You have a responsibility to ensure your employees are aware of the legal requirements relating to age-restricted sales.


Statutory notices should always be displayed prominently. Additional notices may also be displayed to deter potential underage purchasers and to remind employees.

Refusals log

This will demonstrate to any enforcement body that refusals do occur. It also enables you to monitor refusals by individual employees. A history of refusals acts as evidence that your business is attempting to comply with the law.

Till stickers/prompts

Reminds employees that the product is age-restricted and encourages them to consider their response to the attempted purchase.

Trading Standards conduct test-purchase operations on age-restricted products using volunteer children. If a sale is made we will investigate what precautions the retailer took to avoid the sale occurring.