Are there any sources that would constitute the following as stealing/gezel: If one buys a product that the website requires one to be 18 years or older to purchase and is underage? So let’s say you try to buy a pencil and the website requires you to be over 18, and one buys it but is under 18. Is this stealing?
I recently posted an answer on the site - on a question of yours, in fact - that discusses the prohibition of Lo Sachmod, do not covet. The two points from that answer that are relevant to this question are:
- As per SA CM 359:1, if it is a stealing issue, it does not matter whether the parties involved are Jewish or not - stealing is always prohibited.
- Forcing someone into a sale they didn’t willingly agree to is prohibited by Lo Sachmod (Ibid. §9, from BM 5a).
Since the website (or store, for that matter - no reason to limit the question to websites) requires that their customers be over 18, if one tricks them into selling something to an underage client, they are in violation of Lo Sachmod.
Lying and Geneivas Da’as
Your question was about whether this is stealing or not, so technically the answer stops here. However, even if it’s not a stealing issue, it would still be forbidden for several other reasons.
The first one is that you’re lying. When the store asks you to confirm that you’re over 18, and you click that checkbox, you have lied to them.
Most poskim - including the Shulchan Aruch (YD 402:12) and Sefer HaChinuch (74) - hold that lying is always forbidden. However, a minority holds that it only applies where it causes a loss of money - including the Rambam (De’os 5:13).
But even according to the Rambam, it would seemingly be an issue of Geneivas Da’as - misleading someone to your advantage (De’os 2:6).
Dina d’Malchusa Dina
And now we come to the part everyone seems to forget about. Just because it’s not Jewish Law doesn’t mean we don’t care about it.
The Halacha is that the law of the land is binding. I’ll refer you to another post of mine here for details, but the main point is that according to just about everyone, if the site says only those above 18 can purchase because of federal law, then whatever federal restrictions are in place are indeed binding.
Not exactly, it is called מקח טעות because it overrides an explicit condition presented at the moment of the מכירה.
On the side of the buyer, it is a transgression of גניבת דעת, as he presents himself of what he's not.
Therefore the sale is automatically invalidated but I could never truly understand what happens to the state of the product and the money once it is מקח טעות.
As All of the above applies to the Jews, I tend to think it is irrelevant to buying from goyim, and since nobody is tracing the transactions and there's no Hilul Hashem it seems that it would be still valid.