The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has taken a significant step towards protecting consumer privacy by introducing a new advisory for retailers. The advisory explicitly states that shopkeepers can no longer demand customers to provide their personal contact details when generating a bill for a specific purchase. This measure aims to address the increasing concerns raised by consumers and ensure a fair and transparent shopping experience.
According to the Consumer Affairs Secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, the decision to issue this advisory was prompted by numerous consumer complaints. Many customers have reported instances where retailers refused to provide services unless they divulged their contact numbers. Recognizing the unjust nature of this practice, Singh emphasized that it goes against the principles of the Consumer Protection Act and is therefore deemed unfair.
Singh further explained that retailers often claim that they are unable to generate a bill without obtaining customers’ personal contact details. However, this justification lacks rationality and serves as an unreasonable constraint on consumers. In light of these concerns, Singh addressed reporters, highlighting the need for change and asserting that such practices are unacceptable.
Moreover, the issue of privacy also comes into play. Recognizing the importance of safeguarding consumer data, an advisory has been issued to the retail industry, as well as industry chambers such as CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). This collective effort aims to address the issue and protect the interests of consumers.
It is crucial to note that in India, it is not compulsory for customers to provide their mobile numbers to retailers in order to generate a bill. However, customers often find themselves cornered and pressured by retailers who insist on acquiring their contact information for completing transactions. This lack of choice has created an imbalance of power in certain situations, leaving consumers feeling obligated to comply.
The new advisory from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs seeks to rectify this imbalance and ensure that consumers are not subjected to unnecessary demands for their personal contact details. By addressing these concerns, the advisory aims to establish a fair and consumer-friendly business environment, where privacy is respected, and customers can make informed choices without coercion.