Centre Says Retailers Can't Force Customers To Share Phone Number, Calls It 'Unfair Trade Practice'
In its bid to end the menace of retailers compulsorily seeking mobile number of customers after every purchase and before generating the bill, the Consumer Affairs Ministry will soon issue an advisory to stop this practice.
For getting their contact number, the retailers will need to get “express consent” from customers.
Union Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said the Ministry is issuing the advisory following several complaints and any seller insisting on the contact number of the customer falls under “unfair trade practice”.
Customers have complained about several retailers not providing them services, if they refuse to share their contact number.
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".
"They should not take the number unless there is an express consent,” the Ministry maintains.
Officials said this is also a privacy concern and the customer should have the discretion to share the contact number or not.
They added that there are complaints of salespersons informing the customers that they can’t generate a bill without a contact number as this is inbuilt in the system.
“We will specify the procedure the retailers need to follow to obtain the contact numbers of customers. If even after being told about the benefits such as loyalty points for purchasing a customer doesn’t want to give his number, the salespersons must not insist on this,” said an official.The advisory will be sent out to the retail industry and entities such as CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM to address this issue in consumers’ interest.
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