How should refusals be recorded?

08 January, 2010

A There isn’t one single format that you’re obliged to adhere to, but common sense dictates your refusals book should contain all the information a police or Trading Standards officer would expect to see.

Imagine a ruled A4 book containing five columns. The first column is for the date and time of the refused sales. The second is for a description of the customers – which can include a note about their behaviour as well as their appearance and suspected age.

In the third column, you should write what the customers attempted to purchase, and in the fourth you should briefly record any further comments. This may be something as simple as “no ID, sale refused” to something more detailed, such as “claimed student card was legitimate ID, became abusive when told could not be served – asked him to leave shop”.

The fifth column is for the signature of the member of staff who refused the sale.

Having a refusals book certainly won’t save you if you’re repeatedly caught selling alcohol to kids, but in borderline cases it can persuade the authorities you take your responsibilities seriously.

It is also a useful way of monitoring your own activities, if you take the trouble to study the entries on a regular basis.

Are there some staff who never seem to make refusals? Are there peak times for under-age attempts at purchasing? What kind of products are mostly requested? All this information can help you minimise the possibility of your store making a costly mistake.

Yes, you could use a computerised system to log your refusals – it would be very simple to set up a Word template or something similar. But staff may be less diligent about inputting data in this way than they are about writing in a physical book.

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