How to challenge for ID?

You should always challenge younger customers for ID, even if they look like they might be old enough. It’s always better to check. If the customer doesn’t have their driving licence or passport, you should look for the PASS hologram on any proof-of-age presented. Make sure you check the ID carefully, look for tampering and check the date. It’s often useful to have a note on your till of the year of birth for today’s 18 year olds.

Check for a PASS card, such as a CitizenCard, or a driving licence, passport or military ID.


How to get it right?

Six Top Tips

1Train your staff

You rely on the snap decisions of your staff to prevent under age sales. You need to ensure that they are properly trained and have the skills to challenge for ID. You can get NVQ accredited training from as little as £20 – see useful contacts.

1Set your store out

Think carefully about how you layout your store. Keep as many of the age restricted goods as possible (* see the list at the top of this page) behind the counter. That way your customers will need to ask for them giving your staff an added opportunity to assess their age. If all of your age restricted goods won’t fit behind the counter keep them in sight, not hidden away at the back of the store. Use the materials in the Retail pack and order more if you need them.


3Keep your records

Get your staff to keep a record of when they have refused sales. You can either set your till up to do this or use the refusals register included in this pack. Regularly check the record to see if any of your staff might not be making any refusals – that might indicate that they need some more training. Also keep a copy of any training provided. Show your staff the Managers Guide and get them to sign page 11 of it to prove that they have read it – it may be useful to show Trading Standards.


4If it goes wrong

Local trading standards officers actively enforce this legislation and one slip up can put your business and licences in jeopardy. If you do fail an official test purchase they will tell you within a few days. You should be prepared to be retested in the next few days and certainly within 3 months. If you fail again, the penalties can be four times higher. Don’t panic. You can get free advice from these useful contacts.


5Remind your staff again

Have regular reminders for your staff. Perhaps get them to re-read the Manager’s Guide booklet and keep a log of when you have reminded them about the rules. You should carry out refresher training for your till staff at least once every three months.


6Challenge for ID

If a customer is purchasing age restricted goods always think about challenging them for ID. Your staff should never try to guess someone’s age – if in doubt, always ask for ID.

You should be clear with staff over what you will accept as valid proof of age. We recommend that you only accept driving licences, passports, proof-of-age cards that carry the PASS hologram (such as CitizenCard) and military ID. Place the CitizenCard dispenser in the retail pack by your till. That way, if a young customer doesn’t have ID, you can give them a leaflet to diffuse the situation.

How to layout your store?

(For a larger image please see the Managers Guide)


As many of the age restricted products as possible should be behind the till or in direct sight of your staff working on the till. This may not always be possible, but the courts have said that if you set out your store in a piecemeal and cavalier way, it may prevent you from defending any prosecution brought by Trading Standards for under age sales.

(01) A3 Statutory notice:
If you sell tobacco, you are legally required to prominently display this notice near to your tobacco products.
(02) Pin badge
(03) DL leaflet dispenser
(04) A4 poster
(05) A5 vinyl window sticker