ERA Statement on Online Age Verification
9th October 2012: In response to recent enquiries about the measures retailers take to verify the age of online customers, the Entertainment Retailers Association today made the following statement:
'Retailers have long invested significant time and resources in
administering the age ratings schemes which apply to both video and
videogames content. We work closely with the Video Standards
Council and have been one of the prime movers behind the
standardisation of videogames ratings under the PEGI system.
'Training of retail staff to administer the ratings schemes is
arguably at a higher level than in any other country in the world.
Staff vigilance is complemented by measures such as automated till
prompts and over 25 policies to ensure compliance. Significant
resources have gone into educating consumers - particularly parents
- how the ratings system works and what the various ratings
'Compliance in online sales has to be undertaken by alternative
means since by definition the customer cannot be viewed physically.
Online retailers do take measures - as far as is practicable - to
ensure compliance with the law, as well as to provide information
to their customers on age ratings and the law.
'Where age rating information is provided by the supplier online
retailers clearly display that information either via
packshots or other means. In practice many online purchases are
made via credit cards, which are only issued to adults.
'Retailers continue to explore technical solutions for the
verification of age online, but the competing priority of data
protection often makes this difficult. For example many debit cards
and prepaid or gift cards often have no age information attached
and so this information is not available to the retailer.
'Online compliance is not an issue peculiar to entertainment
retailers, and applies equally to goods such as medicines, adult
entertainment and alcohol.
'ERA encourages all its retailers to ensure that information as
to the age rating of any product is made available to their
customers but recommends that there is no substitute for parents
exercising proper supervision over children's use of the internet,
either for mail
order deliveries or online entertainment. '
For further information contact Steve Redmond on 07770