Online retailers failing age-restricted good checks

Web retailers don't go far enough to make sure children can't buy age-restricted goods, something a new bill going through the House of Lords is looking to address.

The Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill wants online retailers to adopt strict age verification systems, like those used by gambling sites.

Currently, it's said to be too easy for children to buy the likes of knives, alcohol, tobacco, age-restricted video games and DVDs, solvents and spray paints.

Following trading standards tests, it's been revealed that thorough checks are not being carried out, with some retailers only asking shoppers to tick a box to verify their appropriate age.

Debenhams sold knives to a teenage tester, relying on only an online warning to avoid under-age sales.

"Customers who visit Debenhams' website pages where knives are for sale are made aware that these are age-restricted products and should therefore only purchase them if they are over 18", the department store said in a statement.

"Retailers' increasingly successful efforts to control the sale of age restricted products over the counter on the High Street are being seriously undermined by their failure to take similarly effective steps to limit sales of exactly the same items on the internet", said Zoe Hilton, a policy advisor for the NSPCC speaking on behalf of the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety to the BBC.


>