Checks urged over web alcohol sales
Not enough is being done to stop teenagers buying alcohol through supermarket online delivery services, according to a report.
Supermarkets are not as stringent about asking for ID when delivering alcohol to people's homes as they are at the checkout, a study by test purchase company Serve Legal found.
Serve Legal director Charlie Mowat told The Grocer magazine that test purchases on retailers' online operations this year found the percentage of those failing was "significantly higher" than the 22% in stores.
The company would not disclose the pass rates for client confidentiality reasons.
However, Mr Mowat said retailers had asked Serve Legal to conduct the tests because they were aware that under-18s were trying to exploit the channel.
Serve Legal said it had carried out 345 home delivery test purchases this year involving 18 or 19-year-olds ordering groceries to the value of at least £40, including alcohol.
When the delivery arrived, the test was judged a pass if the driver asked to see ID and a fail if the order was handed over without the recipient being asked.
Explaining the disparity between the in-store and online pass rates, Mr Mowat said it was easier for processes to go wrong with home deliveries as drivers were not supervised to the same level as checkout operators and did not have the same support from colleagues if a situation became tense.
A Tesco spokesman told The Grocer that its systems were as secure, if not more so, for home delivery as in-store.
He said: "To be an online shopper you have to be a Clubcard holder and to get a Clubcard you have to be over 18. This is also password protected, so it's not just a case of someone getting hold of their parents' card."