Shopkeepers Can't Force Customer To Share Mobile Number for Buying Product or Service: Govt
Moneylife Digital Team 01 June 2023
Here is some good news for customers who are unnecessarily forced to share their mobile numbers by shopkeepers while buying products from the shop. In an advisory, the Union ministry of consumer affairs has warned shopkeepers not to demand mobile numbers from customers.
In the advisory, Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary for consumer affairs, says, "The department has taken a serious note of this situation. I urge you to suitably advise the retailers that the mobile number of the consumers should not be taken without their express consent at the time of sale of any product or services, and providing the same should not be made a mandatory pre-condition for sale."
Mr Singh has sent the advisory to industry representative bodies, including the Retailers Association of India (RAI), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 
According to the secretary, several grievances registered on the national consumer helpline (NCH) are about many retail stores compelling consumers to submit their mobile numbers while purchasing a product. Further, in case of denial by consumers to provide the mobile number,  in many cases, the retailers either declined to sell the product or service and also rejected any refund or exchange.
"It may be mentioned that insisting on a mobile number during the sale of a product as a pre-requisite mandatory condition, even when a consumer opts not to provide the same, is a violation of their rights and constitutes unfair trade practice under the consumer protection act," Mr Singh says.
Further, the advisory points out that under Section 72-A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, disclosing personal information of a person, including mobile number obtained at the time of a sale, without consent or in breach of a lawful contract to any other person, is a punishable offence. 
By imposing a mandatory requirement for providing mobile numbers, consumers are often forced to share their personal information against their will, after which they are often flooded with marketing and promotional messages from retailers, which they did not even opt for when buying the product or service.
"Restricting consumers to buy products or to return, exchange and refund or resolving consumer grievances solely on the ground that the consumer has not shared his/her mobile number constitutes unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act. In the absence of breach of any other terms and conditions of sale, mere non-sharing of the phone number cannot be a ground to deprive consumers from exercising their rights under the Act," the ministry warned.
Here is the advisory issued by the Ministry…
1 year ago
some time back I had this experience with CROMA stores at the point of billing / delivery in addition to pulling rabbits out of hat i was asked to furnish Email they sent the receipt by email as they work paper less... after that i may have have receives thousands of infoclick on my E mail
1 year ago
Many resort to gifting you points which can be redeemed on your next purchase if you don't share your mobile number then you cannot avail the benefit.
1 year ago
We know now at least where we should reach if the shopkeeper insists on our mobile. There are devious ways: Pharmaceutical shops bite you with a discount if you give the mobile number. Some others entice the consumers with gifts/gift vouchers.
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