Published on: 24 May 2023 at 12:28 IST
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has released guidance advising retailers against mandating customers to provide personal contact information or mobile phone numbers for specific services.
Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary of Consumer Affairs, shared this information on Tuesday. The advisory was issued in response to numerous consumer complaints.
Singh explained that customers have raised concerns about retailers refusing to offer services unless they share their contact information.
The secretary stated that vendors cannot generate bills without obtaining personal contact details. Such practices, according to the Consumer Protection Act, are deemed unfair and restrictive, lacking any logical basis for collecting the information.
Privacy concerns were also highlighted. Consequently, the advisory has been extended to the retail industry, as well as industry chambers like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and FICCI, to address the matter in the best interest of consumers.
It is important to note that customers in India are not obligated to provide their mobile numbers to retailers in order to obtain bills.
The insistence of retailers on obtaining a single number for transaction completion puts customers in an uncomfortable position. In many cases, customers are not given the option to opt out of sharing their contact information.