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Since the Government has decided to pass a law that inconveniences more than 40,000 small store owners, then you would hope that all of the loopholes, pitfalls and problems would be ironed out long before it comes into force. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
With only one month to go until the display ban comes into force, Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, gives three anomalies in the new law that just don’t make sense.
1. You could be fined more for showing than selling.
“You could pay a much larger fine if an underage customer sees tobacco products than for actually selling them,” says Allen. Opening the gantry door to someone under 18 can land you a £5,000 fine but currently selling tobacco to a minor carries a £2,500 fine.
2. You can get three strikes in one transaction.
The law states that if a retailer makes three offences relating to the sale of tobacco products within two years their licence could be revoked. However, if a staff member shows an underage customer the tobacco price list, then displays the product, then sells it, that could mean three offences from one sale, says Allen.
3. The font you need for the price list is hard to get hold of.
Every retailer will be able to show a price list when a customer requests tobacco. The law states that the font for this price list must be Helvetica plain. “Was someone in a hurry when they made this legislation?” says Allen. “On most PCs you won’t find this font. If you have a Mac, you’ll be okay,” he adds.