Czech Trade Inspection Authority: children can easily buy alcohol in Czech shops

Czechs under 18 years old were able to buy alcohol in almost three-quarters of test cases.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 04.01.2021 15:57:00 (updated on 04.01.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Minors have a relatively easy time buying alcohol in the Czech Republic. The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) checked compliance with rules for alcohol and tobacco sales and found that minors could buy alcohol in 74.2 percent of the inspections.

Inspectors in the third quarter of 2020 invited persons under 18 years of age to 190 inspections. Violations of the law meant to protect health against the harmful effects of addictive substances were found in 173 cases. This included 141 cases where the ban on selling or serving alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 18 was violated.

“Since May 2017, we have the opportunity to use a helper, usually someone who is less than 17 years old. The person goes, buys alcohol at the store, and as soon as they’re leaving, inspectors come in. In a restaurant, at the moment when [alcohol] should be consumed, an inspector sitting at the next table identifies themself,” ČOI spokesman Jiří Fröhlich said, according to new server iDnes.

In 21 cases the sellers did not place a clearly visible text at the points of sale of alcoholic beverages for consumers concerning the ban on the sale of these beverages to persons under 18 years of age, or this text did not meet the legal standard of being in the Czech language with letters at least 2 cm tall. Other shortcomings related to the sale of alcohol and tobacco were found in smaller numbers.

The law on excise duties was violated in 1 case where cigarettes were sold at a price higher than indicated on the tobacco label.

Violations against the consumer protection act were also found. The most common shortcoming was failure to inform consumers of the price of products offered and services provided, in 360 cases.

Violations of the principles of honesty in sales were found in 258 cases, and failure to issue a receipt in 99 cases.

During the third quarter of 2020, the ČOI imposed 653 fines totaling CZK 5. 83 million. The numbers of fines and their amount also relate to other violations of legal regulations found during inspections.

The highest percentage of violations was in Prague and Central Bohemia, at 60.4 percent, with 207 violations out of 343 inspections. The lowest rate was found in South Bohemia and Vysočina, at 25.9 percent, with 81 violations out of 313 inspections. The average for the Czech Republic was 43.0 percent, with 831 violations out of 1,931 inspections held between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2020.

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