Ministry of Consumer Affairs Takes Stand Against Retailers’ Forced Collection of Personal Contact Details


The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has taken a significant step in addressing customer complaints by issuing an advisory that discourages retailers from compelling customers to provide their personal contact details for certain services. Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh emphasized that retailers should not engage in unfair practices by refusing to offer services unless customers share their contact numbers. The ministry’s advisory aims to protect consumer rights and ensure fair treatment, privacy, and adherence to the Consumer Protection Act. The issue at hand revolves around retailers insisting on obtaining customers’ personal contact details, often citing the need to generate a bill. However, the ministry’s advisory clarifies that there is no valid reason for retailers to collect such information, and it restricts customers unjustly. Singh highlighted the lack of rationality behind this practice, reaffirming that it is unfair and violates the Consumer Protection Act.

Privacy concerns further compound the issue, as retailers’ requests for personal contact details raise red flags. To address these concerns and safeguard consumers, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has provided guidance to the retail industry and industry chambers such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It is important to note that in India, it is not mandatory for customers to provide their mobile numbers to retailers in order to receive a bill.

However, customers often feel pressured by retailers who insist on obtaining their contact details to complete transactions, leaving them with little choice but to comply. By issuing this advisory, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs takes a firm stance against retailers’ unfair trade practices, upholding consumer rights, and promoting privacy protection. The advisory serves as a reminder to retailers to treat customers fairly, respect their privacy, and comply with regulations. This proactive approach will help safeguard consumers’ interests and prevent the misuse of personal data for unsolicited marketing messages or unwanted sales calls. Ultimately, it aims to ensure a more secure and transparent consumer-retailer relationship, benefiting both parties involved.


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