Online Age Verification Does NOT Work!
Posted on 16 August 2016
As of August 8, 2016 the FDA’s Deeming Regulations went into effect stating that for every transaction containing “Tobacco Products” the vendor must verify the customer is over 18 years old. In face-to-face transactions this is simple by showing your government issued photo id. However online it becomes much more difficult, and the technology doesn’t quite seem to be there to fully support proper age verification techniques.
BlueCheck does not offer any support options for vendors or consumers other than a ticket system which does not appear to get checked. That is why I’m writing this blog post to point out the flaws in their system and explain why we are removing BlueCheck from Vapejoose.com.
After 72 hours of running BlueCheck age verification plugin, and hearing countless customer's complaints about the system, here is what we’ve found:
- The BlueCheck plugin is easily bypassed by closing the plugin, allowing customers to checkout without providing age verification. This essentially makes the entire service worthless.
- Customers over the age of 27 are still being prompted for photo identification.
- International customers are occasionally being prompted for photo identification.
- Verification time is suppose to be 20 seconds, however some customers have reported having to wait up to 36 hours for SMS verification code.
- There is no way to complete age verification without a mobile telephone, which many customers do not have.
- For many customers there are several assorted errors that prevent checkout, even after successfully completing the age verification process.
After researching many age verification options, and researching the ins-and-outs of the deeming regulations we’ve found a major flaw in the other age verification options available. The next largest age verification provider available only has a 60% match rate for age verification data and according to the PACT act (the same act that requires online retailers to use a third party age verification system) we are not allowed to manage the failed transactions. BlueCheck is the only service we’ve discovered so far that manually validates failed transactions, meaning with other popular age verification services 40% of customers would have to be turned away with no option of verifying their age.
Until a better option is available to online retailers that actually works more than 30-40% of the time, provides timely support to both vendors and consumers, and manually validates failed verifications, Vapejoose.com will not be using third party age verification software. If you’ve already gone through the age verification process, thank you, if you’ve had difficulty checking out over the last few days please try again today.
To voice your comments or concerns about these changes please comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org