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selling alcohol online legally

When looking to sell wine, whisky or rum be it a single bottle or a large collection, many people will instinctively turn to websites such as eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace as a go-to for moving unwanted items.

Many of these platforms seem like the logical choice for consumers, but their policies regarding the sale of alcohol can be vague and often confusing, assuming you can find any information at all. We have broken it down for you.

Can I sell my alcohol on Gumtree?

No. Gumtree prohibits the posting of advertisements offering or wanting the sale of alcoholic Beverages as their first point in their policy page - they do, however, allow the sale of paraphernalia and collectible items, such as empty bottles, barrels, wine glasses etc.

Can I sell my alcohol on Facebook Marketplace?

No. Facebook's Commerce Policies page advises that posts on Marketplace may not promote the sale of alcohol. So, whilst Facebook is an excellent tool for increasing your business advertising platform through social media, selling wine or alcohol direct to the consumer (DTC/D2C) is illegal.

Can I sell my alcohol through eBay Australia?

The answer is yes, but only with a liquor license.

Selling alcohol in Australia in any capacity requires you to have a valid liquor license specific to your sales platform (i.e. online or in person) and your state, under Federal law.

eBay Australia has a strict Alcohol policy that advises a few key points if you intend to sell your wine through their website:

  • You must include your current liquor license in your listing to be approved by eBay as a valid seller. You will need to upload a copy of your license to be reviewed by their administrative team before you can legally sell your wine, otherwise your listing will be removed, and you may face penalties.
  • You must adhere to your state's law in regard to selling alcohol - these will differ from state to state, and it is the seller's responsibility to research all legal restrictions within their part of the country.
  • The seller must include clear instructions regarding the refusal of sale and delivery of alcohol to minors (under the age of 18).
  • You may only offer domestic postage (shipping within Australia, no sales are allowed to other countries) and may not send alcohol to domestic restricted dry areas.

Even if you've gone through the process of putting together your wine listing to sell through eBay, the company will remove your post without the correct legal documentation and disclaimers.

Is it legal to sell alcohol anywhere in Australia without a licence?

Except under some very special circumstances, absolutely not, and the fines are hefty - you may not even discover this to be the case until you're already in hot water over your unwanted bottle of bubbly.

How do I sell my alcohol online?

  • You can obtain a valid liquor license for your state.
  • You can approach your local bottle shop to sell your wine on consignment, usually with the understanding that you will be paying a commission (often as much as 40%) and any additional fees that may arise from the sale of the wine.
  • Some wine storage places will have an online market place and allow you to place your wine online at any price you want, usually for a listing fee plus storage costs. Unfortunately, these places are not frequented by many buyers and have a reputation of stocking overpriced bottles of dubious provenance.
  • You can entrust the sale of your wine to a dedicated wine auction house who hold regular auctions and a large audience of specialist wine buyers such as top restaurants, casinos, sommeliers, Masters of wine, commercial wine buyers and private wine collectors; such as Wickmans, Langtons, Oddbins and the like - who will sell your wine at auction in order to fetch you the highest secondary market price possible through competing online bids. Like retail vendors, this does involve a commission, but these average a lot lower than retail, and - depending on the rarity and quality of your wine or collection - can stand to make you a tidy return from their long list of investors and buyers. Particular favourites of auction house buyers are fine wines like Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace and Torbreck The Laird - if you happen to have a rare Macallan, Yamazaki whisky or perhaps a Bundaberg rum gathering dust, you could be sitting on a goldmine.

It may seem like there is a great deal of time and effort involved if you are thinking of selling your wine online, whether it be through platforms like eBay Australia or through a specialist auction house like Wickmans. At the end of the day, wine is meant to be enjoyed, and it's up to you if you would prefer to share your wares amongst friends or turn your bottle into treasure.

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