The Consumer Affairs Ministry has issued an advisory to retailers, urging them to refrain from demanding buyers’ personal contact details for bill generation or product delivery. This move comes in response to increasing reports of scams conducted through fraudulent phone calls and text messages. Consumers have lodged complaints stating that sellers refuse to provide services unless they share their contact information.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh highlighted that this practice constitutes an unfair and restrictive trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act, with no valid justification for collecting such data. He also emphasized the privacy concerns associated with this practice. The advisory has been issued in the best interest of consumers, and industry bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have been notified.
Singh further noted that providing phone numbers to retailers is not mandatory in India for deliveries or generating bills. Nonetheless, consumers often find themselves in an uncomfortable position when retailers insist on obtaining their mobile numbers as a prerequisite for completing a transaction, leaving them with no alternative.