Ask LH: Are Liquor Stores Allowed To Refuse Service To Customers With ID?

Dear Lifehacker, I look pretty young for my age and was recently asked for ID before entering a liquor store. I didn’t have my purse with me so I just stayed outside. However, my boyfriend, who is 29, was also refused service in case he was buying alcohol for me. Is this allowed? If he has ID, isn’t it discriminatory to refuse service? Thanks, Pissed Off Party Girl

Liquor customer picture from Shutterstock

Dear POPG,

Australian businesses have the right to decide who they do business with. This means they can refuse service for almost any reason, so long as the rules are enforced consistently to all customers and aren’t motivated by discriminatory factors like race or sexual preference.

In the case of liquor stores, anyone suspected of being underage — or of buying for an underage acquaintance — must be refused service. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and even jail time. In NSW, if a bottle shop gets caught selling alcohol to minors, the responsible parties could receive anything from an on-the-spot fine of $1100 to 12 months in prison.

In other words, the liquor store was simply being responsible (if perhaps a little overzealous.) Next time, remember to bring your ID!


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