Consumer Privacy Protection: Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

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Consumer Privacy Protection: Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Consumer Privacy Protection: Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

The central government has taken a significant step to protect consumer rights and privacy by instructing major industry bodies to advise retailers against collecting mobile numbers without consumers’ consent during the sale of goods or services. This move comes in response to the increasing flood of unsolicited marketing and promotional messages that consumers receive from retailers on their phones.

Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Increase in Consumer Complaints

The National Consumer Helpline (NCH) has witnessed a rise in grievances regarding retail stores compelling consumers to submit their mobile numbers before making a purchase. Denying to provide the mobile number often results in retailers refusing to sell the product or service, and in some cases, rejecting refund or exchange requests.

Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Consumers’ Rights and Privacy Protection

The government’s directive is a welcome step towards protecting consumer rights. Under the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, it is considered an unfair trade practice to collect personal information from consumers without their consent. Consumers have the right to privacy and should not be forced to share their personal information with retailers unless they willingly choose to do so. The government’s advisory aims to ensure that consumers’ rights are safeguarded.

Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Government’s Request to Retailers

Consumer affairs secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh, has written to major industry bodies including CII, FICCI, Assocham, PHDCCI, RAI, and CAIT, urging them to advise retailers on the issue. Singh emphasized that retailers should not collect consumers’ mobile numbers without their express consent at the time of sale, and it should not be made a mandatory precondition for purchase.

Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Retailers’ Perspective

Retailers may argue that collecting mobile numbers from consumers is necessary to provide better service. For instance, they may use mobile numbers to send appointment reminders or notifications about new products or services. However, retailers can find alternative ways to deliver quality service without collecting mobile numbers. They can utilize email or social media to communicate with consumers, respecting their privacy.

Government Takes Action on Unauthorized Mobile Number Collection

Respecting Consumer Privacy

The government’s advisory serves as a reminder to retailers about the importance of respecting consumer privacy. Retailers should refrain from collecting personal information from consumers unless it is absolutely necessary. Respecting consumer privacy builds trust and strengthens the relationship between retailers and consumers.

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Conclusion

The government’s implementation of the ‘Mobile Number Request’ for retailers is a significant move towards protecting consumer rights and privacy. By working in collaboration with industry bodies and emphasizing the need for consent, the government aims to ensure that consumers have control over their personal information and are not subjected to unsolicited communications. This advisory not only benefits consumers but also promotes a transparent and trustworthy retail environment. Retailers must recognize the importance of respecting consumer privacy and explore alternative methods to provide excellent service without unnecessary data collection.


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