Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on complaints by UK watchdog groups that online auction sellers were selling 18+ games to underage buyers.
Now the Harrow Observer reports that some game retailers in that part of London have been caught selling mature-themed games in a sting conducted by Harrow Council Trading Standards and Which? Computing. The stores fingered in the report are Woolworths, Game and Maplin.
From the newspaper account:
All three shops have now launched internal investigations into the sales and will face legal action from the council if caught out again.
Woolworths sold Grand Theft Auto (GTA) – Vice City Stories…. to the [15-year-old] girl without question. In the Maplin store, the assistant asked the investigator’s age, but did not refuse the sale of Hitman, even when she said she was 15.
The six other Harrow stores that were tested in the operation in May – Tesco, Argos, Debenhams, HMV, Currys Digital and Entertainment Exchange – all refused to sell the game to the teenager.
GP: While this smcall-scale study almost certainly wasn’t conducted with the design rigor of the Federal Trade Commission’s secret shopper survey in the US, its results (67% success rate in blocking the underage sale) aren’t that far off from the 80% success rate that the FTC found here in the States.