Avoid the Dangers of Delivering Alcohol to Minors

| Post, Parcel & Express

Age Verified Delivery - ID Scanning - US Drivers License

Delivery companies are risking serious financial penalties if they provide alcoholic beverages to underage buyers.

But we all know it’s hard to figure out someone’s age.

No, we don’t know how old he is either.

The point is, perception of a person’s age can vary with the situation. Plus, we have our own biases to deal with.

This is what delivery drivers need to contend with everyday following the huge rises in online alcohol sales over the last two years.

Nowadays a US delivery company could be fined if they provide alcohol to someone who is under the legal drinking age of 21.

So this blog covers three key areas:

  • The penalties for delivering alcohol to minors.
  • Delivery companies facing a challenge to take charge.
  • How to equip your drivers with the right technology.

In short, you’ll get the rundown on what delivery companies can do to protect themselves when delivering online alcohol orders.

Online alcohol sales increasing

Over the last two years, there has been a significant uptick in online sales of age-restricted goods — particularly alcohol sales— for home delivery or pickup.

Here are just a few statistics:

  • 44% of shoppers bought alcohol online in 2020 (compared to 19% in 2019).
  • 6.9% of the total off-trade volume is expected to be reached by online alcohol sales in the U.S. by 2024.
  • 80% growth in online alcohol sales in the US in 2020.

Penalties for delivery companies delivering alcohol to minors

The risks for delivery companies delivering these products have grown. One significant market is the US where alcohol consumption is restricted to the over-21s in all states.

Lost revenue Fines

Providing alcohol to someone under-aged via delivery is the same as selling it to them from a legal perspective. This is considered a crime in the eyes of the law.

Punishments include revoked licenses and fines as high as $800,000 for a company making 10,000 daily alcohol deliveries.

However, the UK and Australia also have a list of age-restricted products. For example, as well as alcohol, knives can only be delivered to over-18s in the UK.

Delivery companies struggling with age-verification

Yet it appears many delivery companies are failing to safeguard against putting age-restricted products in the wrong hands. Despite the risks.

In the UK, there was a call by alcohol awareness charities for the government to create tighter rules for online delivery firms.

In 2020, the alcohol charities warned that age-verification measures taken by delivery companies were too weak.

However, as UK law stands anyone who sells or delivers alcohol to someone under-18 can be fined up to £5,000 and/or face up to 6 months imprisonment.

Why some solutions are insufficient

To counter this some stores have a guidance to only hand alcohol to customers if they look like they are over-25.flater

While in a 2020 UK study, Wrexham University said they have ‘no confidence in existing [age verification] solutions’.

It added: “Many companies push the necessary age verification checks to the end of the buying process, requiring delivery drivers to manually check identification and refuse sales as appropriate.”

ID verification with Scandit

How do you verify age without inconveniencing customers, incurring unnecessary delivery delays, and increased dwell time?

Deploying smart data capture, including ID scanning into existing delivery apps and processes, is a proven and accessible solution to age verification. It automates, updates and mobilizes processes for faster, more reliable document verification.

It also records the results of the age verification. So the delivery company is covered if it is audited at a later time.

With Scandit Smart Data Capture, our ID scanning solution supports a wide range of ID documents:

  • Machine Readable Zone (MRZ): Passports & ID Cards: Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD) include many countries’ ID cards, all passports and visa stickers. These documents are standardized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and feature text in a Machine Readable Zone
  • PDF417 Barcode: Driving Licenses: PDF14 scanning and parsing is used on all driving licenses issued in the USA and Canada by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), along with US Military ID
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Front of ID Documents without Machine Readable Data: Data from driving licenses in the EU, UK and US, and many other ID cards, can be captured by scanning the regular text containing personal details on the front of the license using text recognition (OCR)
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID): ePassports: Electronically Machine Readable Travel Documents (eMRTD) or e-Passports), and ePassports with embedded RFID chips
    It’s important to have software support that monitors changes to all ID types and continuously updates the parser to ensure the most reliable scanning results.

It’s important to have software support that monitors changes to all ID types and continuously updates the parser to ensure the most reliable scanning results.

ID Validate for Age-Verified Deliveries in the US

Fake IDs are also a huge problem are becoming more sophisticated. Recent research found 32% of students admitted owning a fake ID. In addition, to parsing an ID, Scandit can also check its authenticity.

ID verification with Scandit is typically a three-step process:

  1. The information on the document is captured.
  2. The different fields are parsed, and the structured data is converted to a digital format.
  3. Various checks can be made based on the retrieved ID data, such as expiration date or the person’s age.

Scandit’s ID Validate adds a fourth stage to this process. It analyzes the ID characteristics to check for forgery errors and determine if an ID is real or fake. This process takes no additional time and works entirely offline, like all of Scandit’s ID verification tools.

The software enables any mobile device app to analyze an ID to check for forgery errors and determine if it is real or fake. So frontline workers can receive instant age calculations and guidance on the authenticity of an ID in one go.

ID Validate is exclusively available in the US for US Driver licenses.

How Instacart is verifying customer age

One company that has embraced Age Verification on smart devices is the US grocery delivery firm Instacart.

In 2020, Instacart reported a 75% rise in alcohol orders.

US grocery delivery company Instacart uses Scandit’s Barcode Scanning SDK in its Instacart Shopper order picking app. Instacart shoppers download the Instacart Shopper app onto their mobile devices to accept, pick, and deliver customer orders.

ID scanning is used for age verification for home delivery and curbside pickup. It works in combination with the delivery label scan to alert the driver when verification is required. Crucially, it records proof they have correctly made the scan.

Conclusion – getting age verification wrong can be harder than getting it right

Age verification can put additional strain on the driver and the customer. It’s difficult to keep on top of, but so are the legal ramifications for getting it wrong.

Scandit can help you get it right by implementing our smart data capture technology into your drivers’ smart devices.

Interested in finding out more? If you are interested in discovering more about age verification we have put together two guides on the subject.

For compliance issues related to age verification, we have created this guide ‘Age Verified Delivery: Fast, Reliable Compliance in the Last Mile’.

And if you are looking at it from an operational perspective, check out ‘ID Scanning in the Last Mile: Operational Considerations’.

Or alternatively, get in touch with a member of our team.