Retailer advice - proxy sales

This is when an adult attempts to buy age restricted products on behalf of an underage person

How to spot proxy sales

  • When groups of youth congregate outside approaching members of the public who enter the store
  • If members of the public who might have been approached, ask for the same alcohol product, etc which you have just refused to sell to an underage person
  • If the adult pays separately for the product and keeps the change separate
  • If the age restricted product is kept separate from their other shopping
  • If you know your local community and your customers, and the purchase of such an alcoholic product is totally out of character, remind them that it is an offence to “proxy” purchase
  • If the adult re-enters the store just to buy alcohol after they have left
  • You do not have to sell anything to anyone if you are in doubt

Such best practice procedures should be adopted for all age restricted products, however at present it is only an offence for an alcohol proxy sale. Section 149 of the Licensing Act 2003 makes it an offence for a person to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol for a child, as where a child gives money to an adult to buy alcohol in an off licence for consumption by the child.

Who is responsible for the sale?

The person making or attempting to make the purchase (unless by the parent or legal guardian for responsible consumption within the home).