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Retail Drinks issues online liquor sales warning

May 14, 2019
By Alana House

Retail Drinks Australia has advised all online liquor retailers to be vigilant about online alcohol sales and deliveries and conduct thorough self-audits of their use of third-party websites to ensure ongoing compliance with relevant state and territory legislation.

Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan said that the fundamental principles of responsibility and compliance should be at the forefront of all online liquor retailers’ practices, because the liability for non-compliance sits with the retailer and not the marketplace.

“Retailers should always take a great degree of caution in ensuring that their practices adhere to the relevant liquor legislation in all the states and territories in which they operate, especially concerning online alcohol sales and deliveries.

“Retailers cannot rely on representations of compliance from third-party websites, and we are actively working with several members to provide clarity on their obligations in each state and territory.”

Julie Ryan announced Retail Drinks Australia's board and vision last year.
Julie Ryan announced Retail Drinks Australia’s board and vision last year.

This warning follows concerns raised by liquor retailers earlier this year regarding the use of eBay by BoozeBud, an online retailer owned by AB InBev’s, ZX Ventures, to sell certain CUB products.

Retail Drinks met with representatives from eBay and outlined the key concerns for liquor retailer compliance, including that in certain states and territories (such as South Australia and Tasmania) there is a requirement that a date of birth must be entered at the time of the transaction to purchase alcohol online, however this can be bypassed using eBay’s guest checkout facility.

eBay immediately confirmed its intent to work collaboratively towards ensuring that retailers will be able to use its online liquor marketplace in the future.

Retail Drinks said it sought a meeting with ZX Ventures but was referred to CUB’s legal team and no further comment was received.

“Following discussions with Retail Drinks, eBay committed to upgrading their product systems by the fourth quarter of 2019 in order to comply with all state and territory legislation,” Ryan said.

“We were really pleased with eBay’s commitment to demonstrating compliance and we look forward to their site being upgraded later this year so that liquor retailers can again use their marketplace with confidence.”

Ryan also reaffirmed Retail Drinks’ commitment to pursuing a responsible retailing environment for the online alcohol sales and deliveries space, with a voluntary, industry-wide Code of Conduct to be launched shortly giving retailers full confidence that their processes are compliant.

“Given the importance of ensuring compliance in the online and digital space, Retail Drinks is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive Code of Conduct governing online alcohol sales and deliveries.

“The Code is being developed in close consultation and collaboration with various industry and government representatives and will serve as a robust, best-practice and fit for purpose framework allowing retailers to participate in this space in a responsible and compliant way,” Ms Ryan said.

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