Takealot stops alcohol sales

Takealot has inexplicably disabled sales of alcohol on its online store for well over a week.

A MyBroadband reader notified us about the issue and referred us to a Reddit thread where several other Takealot customers were complaining about the lack of alcohol availability on the store.

“It seems to have vanished from their site. I had some booze on my wishlist, it still shows up, but I get 404 [error] if I click on it,” the original poster wrote.

“I’m getting ‘This product is no longer available’ for a red wine on my wish list,” a second said.

Another user said they received a vague response from Takealot about the issue.

“We have temporarily banned all liquor sales on Takealot. We will inform you once this ban has been lifted,” the response read.

Based on the timing of the original Reddit post, the liquor category had been unavailable since at least Thursday, 21 December 2023.

When we visited the Takealot liquor section on the morning of Sunday, 31 December 2023,  the only products available were non-alcoholic beverages.

In response to questions from disgruntled customers on Twitter/X, Takealot support said that sales of liquor had been “temporarily disabled” and apologised for any inconvenience caused.

“We should be back up and running soon. Please check again tomorrow,” a representative posted on Wednesday, 27 December 2023.

As of the morning of 31 December 2023, alcohol sales on Takealot.com remained unavailable.

The suspension comes during one of the busiest liquor shopping periods of the year.

The lack of liquor availability will likely result in severe sales losses for resellers on Takealot’s platform who benefit greatly from people’s liquor shopping for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

We contacted Takealot for feedback on the reasons for the abrupt suspension, but the company did not provide feedback by the time of publication.

Possible liquor licence issues

South African companies need to have a liquor licence to sell alcoholic beverages legally.

In the case of Takealot, it must renew its licence annually with the National Liquor Authority (NLA), considering its status as a macro liquor distributor.

Several Reddit users speculated that an expired liquor sales licence might be the cause of Takealot’s problem.

“It could be a temporary thing, like having forgotten to renew their licence to sell,” one said.

“Must be a regulatory glitch or something similar for an entire category to suddenly go offline,” another guessed.

It should be emphasised that these theories are conjecture.

MyBroadband found that Takealot.com was listed on the NLA’s register, available on the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition’s (DTIC’s) website.

However, this register was last updated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

MyBroadband contacted the DTIC to confirm whether Takealot.com still had a valid licence to distribute liquor but it had not provided feedback by the time of publication.

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Takealot stops alcohol sales