Online stores breaking ban on high discounts

3 August 2022

Online stores that sell alcohol are regularly breaking the new Alcohol Act that took effect last year, according to Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP. The law prohibits shops to offer alcoholic drinks more than 25% off the price they normally charges, but online stores find many ways around this, NOS reports.

"At many online stores, customers initially receive that 25% discount, but with extra discount codes, it can go up to 30 or 40%," STAP director Wim van Dalen said to the broadcaster. This concerns, for example, a personal discount code, or a code that can be copied from special websites. By 'stacking' discounts, customers quickly get more than the legally permitted discount, Van Dalen said.

STAP wants the authorities to take enforcement more seriously. "We all want to limit the alcohol problem. It has been proven that low prices are an important factor in a lot of drinking. It is important to tackle that problem, but then enforcement must be in order. I understand that there may be too few people at the supervisor, but priorities must be set differently."

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), responsible for the enforcement of the rules around price promotions, told NOS that "entrepreneurs are creative and look for boundaries." Supervision and enforcement of online sales can be challenging, a spokesperson said. "But we are taking it seriously. If we find a violation, we take action against it with a fine."



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043