Booze-for-hire scheme down the drain

Take note – story published 9 years and 10 months ago

A novel attempt by a company to circumvent licensing laws by 'hiring' alcoholic drinks to customers backfired Thursday with tax authorities cracking down on the firm in question, taking away its drinks license and launching an investigation into its accounts.

In a press release Latvia's State Revenue Service (VID) said the company, Seavita, was not allowed to 'loan' liquor to its customers and had not cooperated with VID efforts to check out its unusual business model.

“VID informs that property that can not be used for purposes other than consumption cannot be loaned,” the tax enforcer said.

The means by which drinkers were supposed to return the booze they had quaffed was never made entirely clear by Seavita's terms and conditions, a point also noted by VID.

“Civil Law point 2152 states that after the expiry of the lease or rental, the tenant must return the leased or rented item with all its accessories, in as good a condition as possible. It should be noted that as alcohol can only be consumed, restitution of it after the termination of the lease is not possible,” VID clarified.

Seavita had attracted widespread attention when its posters appeared on billboards across the southern town of Bauska – famous for its brewery – promoting an “Alco Club” in which members could hire rather than buy drinks.

Alco Club members were also promised the benefit of 24-hour delivery of their favorite hooch in an attempt to circumvent laws preventing the retail sale of alcoholic drinks between the hours of 22:00 and 08:00.

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