Massachusetts Announces Age Compliance Checks for DtC Shippers

Rachel Hoffman
July 21, 2022

The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission in Massachusetts recently announced that they will be conducting Minimum Purchase Age Compliance Checks in retail stores and aimed at direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shippers through December 31, 2022. With this information in mind, now is a great time to refresh your age verification knowledge and company policy.

What are age verifications?

Bars, liquor stores and tasting rooms check IDs for each purchase, and online sellers should be doing the same. By conducting age checks at the time of online purchase, you’re ensuring that all laws are being followed. Online age verifications can include requiring a scanned image of the purchaser’s ID or can be done through a third-party service like LexisNexis or IDology. Both services use public data to corroborate that the purchaser’s name and address matches with someone over the age of 21.
Not all states require DtC shippers to conduct age verifications, but by making them standard practice, you can ensure compliance with all sales in all states (where permitted). When it comes to the possibility of minors obtaining alcohol, it’s better to err on the side of caution and conduct thorough age checks for each sale, no matter which jurisdiction you’re shipping to. (Of course, an automated compliance solution can help run age verification along with other DtC shipping compliance check.)

Adult signatures are a must

All alcohol shipments require the carrier to check the ID of the recipient and obtain the signature of an adult who is of legal drinking age. Though the burden falls to the carriers, noncompliance can result in the loss of your DtC license. Both FedEx and UPS require that delivery of wine can only be made to someone who is present at the time of delivery, who will sign for the package and who will present identification verifying they are of legal age to possess alcohol.
Though states may differ in their age verification requirements, best practice dictates that DtC shippers should cover all bases by conducting them for each sale. By implementing point-of-sale checks, delivery ID checks, and requiring recipient signatures, you’re protecting against underage drinking, as well as protecting your business from penalties or lost licenses.

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Rachel Hoffman

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