A Decathlon store in Bengaluru refused to sell products to a customer who chose not to share his contact details. The sporting goods retailer stated this in a letter to the customer, who happened to be an IAS officer from Karnataka, after he took up the matter with the company. It later said the details were needed to communicate product recalls and help with the exchange policy.
The Chikkajala outlet declined to sell items to Captain P Manivannan, secretary, labour and information departments, who had declined to provide his contact numbers at the store recently. Manivannan took up the matter with Decathlon, the consumer affairs department and the local civic body BBMP.
Captain Manivannan said “Shops cannot refuse service to the customers just for not sharing our contact details. I have reached the BBMP, which grants the trade license to business about the matter. It’s not legal to deny service just because a customer refuses to share his/her contact details.”
Responding to Captain Manivannan in a letter, Decathlon gave reasons including the consumer court judgments that have gone against sellers on grounds of deficient service, to defend its request of mobile numbers/mail IDs from customers. “It is our company’s firm stance that we will not take the risk of selling to a customer who we cannot contact for any emergencies, or whose purchase history is not recorded in our database,” the company said in the letter.
“Therefore, under the Indian Contracts Act of 1872, we, unfortunately, will have to refuse sale to you purely for the reasons that we, as a company, don’t want to risk any liability on us,” it added
Putting up the letter on twitter, Manivannan tweeted “As far as I know, there is no such law. Decathlon has taken umbrage under The Indian contract Act 1872 and says that unless we ‘agree’ and ‘enter into a contract’ with them to give our number, the company will not deal with us! Why would BBMP allow this on its denizens?”
Meanwhile, replying to Manivannan, police commissioner Bhaskar Rao tweeted saying that the first step to stop cybercrime is not to share one’s mobile number with shops and mall outlets. “Just refuse. Your number is sold as data. By giving your number you have opened your cyber doors to all,” he said in a tweet.
In a statement sent to IndianExpress.com, Decathalon said customer safety and respecting their privacy is their utmost concern, while abiding by data privacy laws and data security. “We do not send promotional or marketing messages to our customers without their explicit consent nor do we share data with any third parties. It is essential for us to collect our customer’s mobile number OR email ID at the time of billing to ensure we can reach out to them, if needed to proactively communicate with them on any critical information relating to user safety or in the rare instance of a product recall. Additionally, we have a liberal exchange/ refund policy for up to 90 days following a purchase even if they do not have the original invoice,” the statement said, adding that all information collected at the time of billing is in adherence to the Information Technology Act, 2000.
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