Delivery service GoPuff loses license for selling alcohol to minors around Boston College


05/20/2023
GoPuff is accused of 19 counts of selling alcohol to minors around Boston College

GoPuff, a popular delivery service, has had its alcohol delivery license revoked amid accusations of selling alcohol to minors. The incident, involving 19 counts of underage alcohol sales near Boston College, has sparked concerns about industry regulation. State investigators found that GoPuff’s management failed to take sufficient action to prevent these sales, even after multiple confrontations.

The controversy unfolded following an undercover investigation in 2021, initiated by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). Investigators received a tip-off about GoPuff’s illicit alcohol sales to minors. Consequently, the delivery company has now lost its license for alcohol delivery.

Some users of the app expressed little surprise at the revelations. Katalina Valdez, an app user, shared, “I understand why people were getting alcohol. For a lot of people, it was an underground practice.” Olivia Williams, another user, noted, “Usually, they just drop it on the doorstep, so it’s kind of easy to obtain alcohol from them if you’re underage.”

During the undercover operation, investigators observed GoPuff drivers delivering alcohol to various locations around Boston College, including freshman dorms. Detectives discovered that underage students presented fake IDs, while others were not even asked for identification.

Valdez emphasized, “GoPuff, as a company, should have implemented stricter regulations and measures to identify and prevent these occurrences.” BC student Ricardo Ponce added, “Organizations should proactively address such issues to avoid license revocation and other severe consequences.”

Further investigations revealed that some drivers lacked the necessary permits mandated by law. This development comes as the Massachusetts Attorney General imposed a $6 million fine on GoPuff for multiple violations, including misclassifying drivers as contractors and other labor-related infractions. The Attorney General’s office cited citations for misclassifying employees, failure to provide suitable paystubs, and failure to maintain an earned sick leave policy. These violations have impacted a total of 968 employees.

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC, commended the diligent work of the ABCC team and expressed commitment to curbing underage drinking and its detrimental effects. Goldberg highlighted the importance of proactive outreach and education for young people and families, alongside rigorous compliance measures across the state.

In response to the investigation, GoPuff officials have implemented various measures to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors. These steps include enhanced ID scanning technology, driver partner education, operational compliance procedures, and a secret shopper program. A spokesperson from GoPuff stated, “We have always prioritized the responsible sale and delivery of alcohol and continuously enhance our robust systems to prevent underage sales. As soon as we became aware of these events, we immediately took action to strengthen our compliance measures in collaboration with the ABCC. We vehemently disagree with the Commission’s decision and plan to appeal.”

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