Govt issues advisory for data privacy: Shopkeepers in India can no longer ask for your mobile numbers to generate bill

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Ministry of Consumer Affairs’s move aimed at customer security. Government Takes a Stand to Safeguard Consumer Privacy and Curb Unsolicited Marketing Messages

In a significant move aimed at protecting consumer privacy and curbing the rising threat of online scams, the Indian Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued an advisory to retailers, urging them to refrain from pressuring customers into providing their personal contact details, particularly mobile numbers, during the billing process. This advisory comes as a response to growing concerns over the incessant solicitation of mobile numbers by shopkeepers, which often leads to an influx of unsolicited marketing messages and unwanted sales calls.

The disclosure of personal mobile numbers poses a considerable risk to individuals, exposing them to scammers who frequently exploit such information through mobile phone and WhatsApp messages. By taking this proactive step, the government intends to strengthen consumer privacy and bolster security measures for customers across the country.

Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, shed light on the issue, highlighting the unfair practice employed by sellers who refuse to generate a bill unless customers provide their personal contact details. He clarified that such practices are not only unreasonable but also in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Singh further emphasized that there is no valid justification for retailers to collect customers’ personal mobile numbers, as it creates an unnecessary restriction on consumers.

“The claim made by sellers that they cannot generate a bill without obtaining personal contact details is an unfair and restrictive trade practice, directly contravening the Consumer Protection Act. There is no logical basis behind this information collection,” asserted the Secretary during a press conference.

Customers, who have long expressed frustration over the repeated insistence on sharing their mobile numbers with retailers, have warmly welcomed this development. With online scams on the rise, the government’s intervention serves as a shield against potential fraudulent activities that exploit personal information.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ advisory serves as a clear directive to all retailers, reinforcing the fact that it is not mandatory for customers to disclose their mobile numbers for billing purposes. Shopkeepers are now required to comply with the guidelines in order to protect consumer rights and ensure a more secure shopping experience.

This initiative marks a significant step forward in safeguarding customer privacy in the digital age. The government’s emphasis on curtailing unsolicited marketing messages and reducing the risk of scams aligns with its commitment to fostering a consumer-friendly environment while leveraging technology for the nation’s progress.

As consumers celebrate this newfound protection of their personal information, it is expected that the measures implemented by the government will contribute to a more secure and trustworthy marketplace in India.

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