Long Beach, CA asked in Consumer Law for California

Q: I was turned away from buying a bottle of alcohol because my partner, who didn’t have her ID, brought it to the counter?

I was the one buying it and I had my ID, but because the cashier saw her holding the bottle, she said she needed an ID too, even though I was buying everything. We were told to leave the bottle, then I had to go grab a new on myself. Is this the law in CA?

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3 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The shop can refuse service if it wants, especially if it looks like you are buying alcohol for a minor. What the shop did isn't a "law" in that it is not required to refuse to sell to you if someone who didn't have an ID held the bottle. However, shops can get into a lot of trouble for selling alcohol to minors. Seems like they didn't want to take a risk.

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman
Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Los Altos, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I doubt it is the law. See the prior response by Atty Light.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Shops are often wary of people who buy liquor for minors, which is prohibited by law. They take steps to be sure that the person is, at least appearing to be, buying for their own consumption. It is the point of sale that is a problem, what you do after taking it out of the store is not the store's problem, but if there was an undercover ABC inspector in the store at the time of your transaction, the store could lose its license. The store was not technically right, but it erred on the side of overcaution. Unless you believe that your race or ethnicity had something to do with the situation, you really don't have a claim. Look at Civil Code §§ 52, et seq.

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