Shopkeepers can no longer ask for your mobile numbers: Govt issues advisory for ‘data privacy’

Ministry of Consumer Affairs's move aimed at customer security while generating bills and to avoid data leaks.

Are you tired of giving your phone number to shopkeepers after waiting in a long queue, only to be bombarded with unsolicited marketing messages or unwanted sales calls?

Well, the government has now spoken against it, and shopkeepers will no longer pester you to provide your mobile number. With online scams on the rise, revealing your mobile number can expose it to scammers who often carry out these scams through mobile phone and WhatsApp messages.


In a move aimed at safeguarding customer privacy and reducing the risk of online scams, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued an advisory to retailers. The advisory emphasizes that shopkeepers should not compel customers to provide their personal contact details, particularly mobile numbers, when generating bills. While it is not mandatory for customers in India to share their mobile numbers with retailers for billing purposes, many customers have expressed annoyance at being repeatedly asked for this information.

Disclosing personal mobile numbers can potentially expose individuals to scammers who exploit such information. By taking this step, the government aims to protect consumer privacy and enhance security for customers.

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh explained that sellers often say they can’t give customers a bill unless they provide their personal contact details. However, this is considered unfair and goes against the Consumer Protection Act. There is no good reason for retailers to collect this information, and it restricts customers unfairly. The Secretary spoke to reporters and emphasized that this is not right.

“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,” the Secretary said.


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