NEW DELHI: The consumer affairs ministry will issue an advisory to end the practice of retailers seeking mobile numbers of customers. While it’s not mandatory in India for customers to give their mobile numbers to complete a purchase, most of the time they are not given an option to opt out.
Officials said this is also a privacy concern and the customer should have the discretion to share the contact number or not. They added that there are complaints of salespersons informing the customers that they can’t generate a bill without a contact number as this is inbuilt in the system. “We will specify the procedure the retailers need to follow to obtain the contact numbers of customers. If after being told about the benefits such as loyalty points for purchasing a customer doesn’t want to give his number, the salespersons must not insist on this,” said an official.
Many retailers cajole customers into sharing their mobile numbers. There is no guarantee that the number will not be shared, sold or misused in any other way. Customers cannot be pressured into sharing their number. An advisory on the subject is welcome, but not enough. There should be a helpline where customers can register complaints if retailers insist.
The advisory will be sent out to the retail industry and entities such as
, FICCI and ASSOCHAM to address this issue.
In another move, the ministry has also sent its views on the introduction of universal charging port for smart phones, laptops and tablets to the electronics and IT ministry suggesting that rollout of these chargers can be done from June 2025, six months after the timeline set by the European Union.