At the end of January this year, the Regional Court of Bochum ruled that the age restriction for alcoholic beverages also applies to online sales. This has been controversial until now, because the Law on the Protection of minors, which only standardises“otherwise in public”in addition to restaurants and sales position. Until now, it has therefore been controversial whether this also applies to sales in our own online shop, as an Ebay retailer or as an Amazon seller.
The Regional Court of Bochum is thus opposed to a decision of the Koblenz Regional Court, which is more than 10 years old, and is breaking new ground. There are no other decisions to do so. It should be particularly unpleasant that, after this decision, it is NOT sufficient if, for example in terms and conditions or the product description, it is pointed out that a sale takes place only to adults. Instead, traders are now forced to use effective age verification systems. As a rule, this should only be Postident and similar system (e.g. via mobile app). The legal opinion of the Federal Court of Justice, according to which dispatch to minors can only be reliably omitted, is likely to be different if the trader ensures that a reliable contract is concluded at the time of conclusion of the contract. age verification. For example, shipping by DHL, which checks the age of majority and the correctness of the personal data, is not enough. Instead, both must be done.
This should at least make the cost of spirits through online shipping more expensive, if not much more difficult. Traders should not ignore the verdict either. Experience has shown that consumer protection associations, also affectionately admonishing associations, quickly jump on such new judgments, scan offers on eBay and Amazon, and send warnings in a chord. One’s own practice should therefore be carefully reviewed, and the regulation should also include not only large bottles of high-percentage alcohol, but also things such as gift baskets, goodies with small flatmen and similar offers.
It can also be assumed that the verdict will withstand a possible appeal (I have no information on this at the moment), because the old judgment of the District Court of Koblenz has been heavily criticized and, among other things, the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs has advocated a different interpretation of the Law on the Protection of Minors.
By the way: If you introduce an age verification in your own online shop, you may also have to consider adapting the data protection declaration. Here, of course, I can help.