Convenience stores occupy a unique position in the retail space, catering to customers who are on the go and in need of a quick shopping option. This general urgency can lead to store owners optimizing their sales processes for speed and near-frictionless transactions. This type of quick transaction, however, can sometimes lead to a lapse in compliance, especially when selling controlled substances like alcohol or tobacco.
The risk of such sales impacting your convenience store is significant. For instance law enforcement engages in undercover operations using underage volunteers to test for noncompliance. Businesses and employees can be held liable when failing to check an ID or simply misreading it, especially in circumstances when selling to a minor or when someone is injured or worse as a result.
The consequences vary by jurisdiction, but repeat offenses can result in significant fines as well as jail time– a high price to pay for such a small oversight. Liability can threaten not only your business but your personal life as well. Understanding what being held liable actually entails and how you can curb risks by taking steps towards consistent compliance is key to long-term success.
What Should Convenience Stores Watch for?
Convenience store liability comes in many forms and being held liable for breaking the law can mean many different things, depending on jurisdiction and the parties involved. As a convenience store owner or manager, you may find yourself held liable for everything from employee payment mishaps to customers accidentally slipping and falling on-premises. Liability means fines, payouts, and an assortment of associated costs, including damages, losses, and fees (attorneys, experts, etc.) incurred by the convenience store owner in the event that they are sued. However, failure to abide by controlled substance laws can result in far worse outcomes, including criminal charges.
Convenience store owners can be confronted with underage individuals or even visibly intoxicated people–those they can’t legally sell to. In certain jurisdictions, even selling gasoline to an intoxicated person can be considered a criminal offense.
So-called “dram shop” laws make selling alcohol to underage or intoxicated customers a major risk for convenience stores by introducing these types of liabilities and opening the door for lawsuits in the event an accident transpires.
How Businesses Can Comply and Protect Themselves
Protecting your convenience store from the consequences of sales mishaps and other issues comes down to two things: establishing safe onsite practices to help mitigate risks and seeking out comprehensive insurance packages that cover common potentialities.
Employees should be trained to handle a variety of situations with potential legal ramifications. In the case of conducting sales of controlled substances such as alcohol and tobacco, they need to know what steps they are required to take before a sale can be finalized.
Training your employees to check IDs when customers attempt to purchase these types of items is a great start. Providing them with proper tooling to automate this critical process is ideal.
Identity Validation Software
Convenience store owners should take additional steps to ensure they are protected from any liabilities that their chosen insurance policies do not cover. Implementing the right onsite practices can help, business practices are only as effective as the people tasked with following them. Human error and the potential for employee dishonesty can lead to disaster if left unchecked.
Choosing powerful technology to incorporate into your business operations that can curb risk with reliable results could be the best strategy to adopt for long-term protection. Intellicheck can help.
Intellicheck offers a powerful, yet easy-to-use ID validation solution that you can get up and running at your place of business in no time. You can connect it to your point of sale system or make use of the plug-and-play cloud solution to validate customer identity documents on the fly.
The Intellicheck solution goes beyond the competition, validating not only the authenticity of the presented document itself but that of the person presenting it as well. Intellicheck’s ID scanning accuracy clocks in at 99.9% – high enough to serve law enforcement agencies and other organizations across the nation.
If you’re ready to reduce your convenience store liability, it’s time to explore Intellicheck.