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Delivering Christmas cheer

By Felix Faulkner, solicitor, Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Delivering success: Poppleston Allen advises on the legal aspect of setting up a home delivery service (image: Getty/andresr)
Delivering success: Poppleston Allen advises on the legal aspect of setting up a home delivery service (image: Getty/andresr)

Related tags Licensing Poppleston allen Legislation Health and safety

It is undeniable that home delivery is booming. However, the convenience of shopping without leaving the sofa means that you have to work harder to get customers through their (and your) door.

We are receiving an increasing number of queries from operators who are, among other tactics, choosing to take their goods to their customers by setting up a home delivery service, especially during the Christmas period.

As well as boosting trade, it is a great marketing opportunity.

Home delivery presents its own specific set of issues that need to be addressed to ensure you are fully compliant with the law. Here are some top tips to get you started. It is not straightforward, especially where the actual sale of alcohol is taking place. If in doubt, take legal advice.

  • Delivery of alcohol will still involve a sale and a premises licence will normally be required. The premises licence will need to authorise the location where the alcohol is specifically selected for a particular sale, not necessarily where the ‘contract’ takes place.  For example, if a customer contacts your Head Office to place an order, but the alcohol is picked at a separate unit, that unit will require authorisation.
  • If you have a number of separate premises they may all need to be licensed.
  • You cannot sell alcohol from a vehicle that moves from place-to-place, unless each location is licensed.
  • Any premises licence will need permission for off-sales of alcohol, covering the hours that you select the alcohol, and you should check that there are no restrictive conditions on the premises licence. 
  • The Government Guidance recommends you speak to the local licensing authority if you are running alcohol delivery services. This is so that they can consider whether any conditions may be appropriate and a variation of the premises licence may be required. However, this is only guidance.
  • You will need to carefully consider your age verification policy and how it will work in practice with home delivery. All premises licences have a mandatory condition regarding an age verification policy, and there may also be specific conditions which must be adhered to. You should consider age verification both at the point of order (e.g. online age verification) and at delivery. Your couriers or delivery drivers will have responsibility for checking that age verification takes place and you should consider training and other steps that may be appropriate to ensure that they can carry out this function properly.
  • If you are using the services of a specific delivery company to deliver alcohol from your licensed premises, you should consider the training in place for their couriers and ensure you are satisfied that the delivery company’s age verification procedures comply with the law.

Felix Faulkner​ is a solicitor for Poppleston Allen

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