Online wine sales – get your paperwork in order

by | May 25, 2020 | Covid-19

While the South African liquor industry is awaiting confirmation that it may deliver wines sold online during the national lockdown when the country moves to level 3 of the COVID-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy on 1 June 2020, it is crucial that online retailers and those making use of innovative apps are aware of the paperwork that is required to make such a sale.

Danie Cronjé, director of Danie Cronje Attorneys Incorporated provides some clear guidelines with regard to online wine sales.

According to the national address by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on 24 May 2020, the country may resume trade in alcohol for off-consumption under strict conditions when it moves from level 4 to level 3 of the COVID-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy on 1 June 2020. The liquor industry is awaiting clarification of the conditions under which wine may be traded locally, including online and “click & collect” wine sales.

Although technology now makes it possible to order liquor online or with an app the Liquor Act which regulates retail sales requires a license holder to keep records and issue invoices containing prescribed information.

If liquor is sold for consumption elsewhere a licence holder must keep records of such sales. The records may be kept in electronic form and must contain the following information in respect of each sale:

  1. Name and address of the license holder;
  2. Liquor licence number of the license holder;
  3. Invoice numbers and dates of issue;
  4. Kind and quantity of the liquor sold; and
  5. Purchase prices paid

This also applies when liquor is ordered online or via an app.

The licence holder must retain copies of invoices at its licensed premises for a period of three years.

Since the records may be kept in electronic format in our opinion this also applies to invoices.

An invoice must contain the following information:

  1. The name and address of the license holder;
  2. The liquor licence number of the license holder;
  3. The invoice number and date of issue;
  4. The full name and address of the person ordering the liquor and the address to which liquor must be delivered;
  5. The kind and quantity of the liquor to be delivered; and
  6. The purchase price to be paid

The Act also contain specific requirements regarding the delivery of liquor.

One of the requirements is that liquor may not be delivered from any vehicle unless the liquor was ordered before it was dispatched and an invoice containing the prescribed information has been generated. This provision is aimed at preventing persons from driving around with liquor and effectively selling the liquor from mobile liquor stores.

The Act requires that the liquor only be delivered to the address indicated on the invoice.

The Act also requires that a copy of the invoice must be kept in the delivery vehicle while the liquor is transported for delivery.

Since the Act states that the records of sales may be kept in electronic format in our opinion this also means that it is acceptable if an electronic invoice (on a mobile device) accompanies the liquor.

Further enquiries:

For news and updates on the regulations follow Danie Cronje Attorneys on LinkedIn. You are also welcome to contact Danie Cronje on 082 772 3517 or danie@daniecronje.com.

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