America Can Do Better

by on April 12, 2006 · 4 comments

Joe at TechDirt flags a unnecessary and mean-spirited bill to require call-center workers to identify the nation in which they’re located. Joe nails it:

It’s not clear why this is necessary or what such a rule would accomplish. Outsourcing call centers isn’t illegal, and it shouldn’t be the position of the government to try to shame companies that do it. Most likely, the bill’s supporters will claim that consumers have a “right to know”, though no such right exists. While some have complained about language problems with the foreign staff, this problem will take care of itself, as companies won’t keep using call centers that mess up transactions. In fact, some companies have already stopped outsourcing. One company offers customers a choice, allowing callers to speak to a US call center in exchange for slower service. This kind of bill should be identified what for it is, a transparent protectionist scheme. Perhaps, though, it will appeal to people who verbally abuse call center workers, since nationality can’t always be determined from accent alone.

Joe doesn’t mention that the bill is sponsored by “liberals” John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, Pat Leahy, and Russ Feingold. It’s not clear to me what’s progressive about stigmatizing overseas workers who are just trying to feed their families.

  • Disputo

    This is probably in response to all the corps that tried to fool US consumers into thinking that a rep in Bangalore was actually in Austin.

    I don’t see what is wrong with enforcing honest product labeling.

  • Disputo

    This is probably in response to all the corps that tried to fool US consumers into thinking that a rep in Bangalore was actually in Austin.

    I don’t see what is wrong with enforcing honest product labeling.

  • theo

    If my bank were routinely lying to me about the contents of my bank account, I’d have a problem with that.

    The dominant call center policy seems to be “lie about ethnic origin and location as much as possible.” Outsourcing corporations encourage, or are at the very least indifferent to, this threadbare deception.

    There’s no evidence that the market is taking care of the problem. Some intervention seems justifiable, and this is a pretty minimal regulation. I don’t see why anyone who isn’t a paid-for corporate Republican or a techno-glibertarian would find it offensive.

  • theo

    If my bank were routinely lying to me about the contents of my bank account, I’d have a problem with that.

    The dominant call center policy seems to be “lie about ethnic origin and location as much as possible.” Outsourcing corporations encourage, or are at the very least indifferent to, this threadbare deception.

    There’s no evidence that the market is taking care of the problem. Some intervention seems justifiable, and this is a pretty minimal regulation. I don’t see why anyone who isn’t a paid-for corporate Republican or a techno-glibertarian would find it offensive.

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