The Consumer Affairs Ministry has taken action in response to consumer complaints by issuing an advisory that instructs retailers not to demand customers’ personal contact details for certain services, according to Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh.
Retailers Directed Not To Insist On Customers’ Phone Numbers
Singh highlighted that retailers claim they cannot generate a bill without obtaining personal contact details, which he deemed an unfair and restrictive trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act.
The requirement lacks rationality, and collecting such information raises privacy concerns.
“Sellers say they cannot generate the bill until personal contact details are provided. This is an unfair and restrictive trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act and there is no rationality behind collecting the information,” the Secretary told reporters.
To address this issue in the interest of consumers, the Consumer Affairs Ministry has issued an advisory to the retail industry, as well as industry chambers such as CII and FICCI.
The advisory emphasizes that it is not mandatory for customers in India to provide their mobile numbers to retailers in order to receive a bill. Retailers’ insistence on obtaining contact details puts customers in an uncomfortable position, as they often have no option to opt out of providing this information.
The advisory aims to rectify this practice and ensure that retailers understand and comply with the regulations. It is part of the government’s efforts to protect consumer rights and promote fair trade practices.
By addressing the issue of retailers demanding personal contact details, the ministry aims to safeguard consumer privacy and prevent unfair treatment of customers.
Union Minister’s Advice For All Indians: Never Share Your Phone Number With Retailers
For safety reasons, personal numbers should not be shared with any retailer unless there is a valid reason for which they are requesting them.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, has advised consumers to withhold their personal mobile phone number from merchants unless they have a valid reason to do so.
In 2022, severe fines of up to 500 crore rupees can be imposed for personal data breaches, according to the DPDP Bill. It states that failure to implement reasonable security safeguards to protect data and prevent personal data breach will result in penalties for data processors and data fiduciaries.