Congress seeking to discourage offshore outsourcing

Party Rooster

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Offshoring comes under bipartisan attack in Congress

Law would penalize companies that move call centers overseas

By Patrick Thibodeau
December 9, 2011 04:09 PM ET6 Comments
Computerworld - WASHINGTON -- Four U.S. lawmakers -- three Democrats and one Republican -- have teamed up to attack call center outsourcing by introducing a bill that would penalize any company that moves a call center overseas.

The bill would make any company that moves a call center offshore ineligible for any federal grants or loans. It would require the U.S. Labor Department to maintain a list of employers who relocate a call center overseas and force companies to provide at least 120 days' notice before doing so.

It would also require a call center worker to disclose his or hers location at the beginning of the call, if the caller request it.

The U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3596), was introduced by U.S. Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) and announced at news conference that included representatives of the Communication Workers of America. The measure's co-sponsors include David McKinley (R-W.V.), Gene Green (D-Texas), and Michael Michaud (D-Maine).

"Outsourcing, in my view, is one of the scourges of our economy, and one of the reasons we are struggling so to knock down the unemployment rate," said Bishop. He said there are 4.7 million call center employees today, while in 2006 there were 5.3 million.

In August, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that broadband deployments are boosting call center industry employment. He claimed that an average of 4,000 call center jobs are being created each month.

Alpine Access, a Denver-based call center provider with a work-from-home business model, has 5,000 agents working in 41 states and said it has added 1,000 since August. It also has agents in Canada, who serve that market.

Christopher Carrington, president and CEO of Alpine, said that 70% of his company's growth over the past three years is the result of companies moving call center work back to the U.S. "There is definitely a trend of jobs returning [from] offshore back to onshore," said Carrington. "In reality, without legislation the momentum of the market is already leaning that way."

Carrington said the move of call center jobs back to the U.S. is largely being driven by consumers.

"The American consumer has become increasingly frustrated with their confidential information being handled outside the United States, and with the difficulty of some phone calls that are handled internationally," said Carrington, who believes consumers are taking their business to companies that are able to serve them domestically. "You can legislate things, but at end of the day the consumer is the real decision maker as to how companies I think will create their own policies."

Carrington expects his company to be near $110 million in revenue this year and anticipates 50% growth next year.

Bills to discourage call center outsourcing have been tried before with little success. For instance, last year U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), pitched the idea of charging a 25-cent excise tax on any customer call that originates domestically but is transferred to an agent in a foreign location.

Frederik Cote, the president of Kunnect, a company that uses Amazon Web services to provide a cloud-based hosted call center, supports Bishop's legislation. Cote said that about 90% of his clients are in the U.S.

"A lot of people wrote off the call center industry many years ago," said Cote, adding, "I'm happy to see the call center business is a thriving business, it is still truly an American business.

"I'm happy to see that we're contemplating laws to protect that," said Cote.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222561/Offshoring_comes_under_bipartisan_attack_in_Congress
 

Motor Head

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Good. I'm fucking tired of getting some heavily accented beige savage trying to answer my PC problems, or going over my credit card bill.
 

Lord Zero

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The bill would make any company that moves a call center offshore ineligible for any federal grants or loans.
Why is the federal government in the business of loaning money to private companies to begin with?
 

whiskeyguy

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#6
Just scanned it, but don't really have a problem with denying them federal loans or grants (don't like those anyway), just as long as they don't start penalizing them in some form (higher taxes, fees, etc) because that will just push the entire company out of the country in addition to the call centers.
 

lajikal

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Good. I'm fucking tired of getting some heavily accented beige savage trying to answer my PC problems, or going over my credit card bill.
Those Indian fuckers are surprisingly a lot smarter than their us counterparts. Had to deal with them recently on credit reports.
 

George Costanza

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#8
Good. I'm fucking tired of getting some heavily accented beige savage trying to answer my PC problems, or going over my credit card bill.
I completely agree. It's not a problem until your internet goes out or a vendor overcharges your credit card. The majority of the people I talk to when I have a need for consumer support speak with an West Indy accent. So you are constantly having to ask them to repeat themselves. When my sansa clip broke I didn't get my return mail label invoice because I couldn't understand the Indian persons recanting of my email address. So it added 2 weeks to replacing my mp3 player. Whenever I call att it takes forever cause I hang up if a black woman or indian answers, depending on the department it can take up to 40 minutes to get a white man or woman on the phone. Black Males are also helpful on the phone in my experience when dealing with att.

I bought a Coleman airbed in 2007 for guests and whatnot. It developed a leak 8 months later and I contacted Coleman. The customer service was outstanding. I could understand the native speaker and they shipped me a new airbed for free. You would think the loyalty inspired by good customer service would be at ends with outsourcing. All Americans are lazy is the excuse these companies use hire foreigners with a thick accent to work a job based on your command of the English language.
I've been buying new balance for years because my Nikes kept falling apart so fast. Now most of their shoes aren't even made here anymore. Last pair I bought said something to the effect of some labor or parts originated in China. Shoes made with slave labor are not as well built surpisingly.

It doesn't matter how smart and driven they are when I can't understand them.
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
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I remember when I worked at Vonage, they had offshore tech call center people, and they sent a bunch of them to us so they could train with us. Got a girl partnered up with me, cute for one of those people. Their biggest problem in my opinion is they have their flow chart/script thing, and if the question isn't covered by the script, they're completely fucked.
 

Party Rooster

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#10
I remember when I worked at Vonage, they had offshore tech call center people, and they sent a bunch of them to us so they could train with us. Got a girl partnered up with me, cute for one of those people. Their biggest problem in my opinion is they have their flow chart/script thing, and if the question isn't covered by the script, they're completely fucked.
I just had to deal with them about a week ago. My Vonage bill just about doubled because I came off one of their promo deals after a year. First CS rep I got was some dibble-dabble. When I threatened to cancel they must have transferred me back to the States because I got a real pleasant lady that ended up giving me unlimited $9.99 a month for life and credited me the price difference. I think a lot of places make sure the "retention" department is staffed by non-savages.
 

Norm Stansfield

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#11
Good. I'm fucking tired of getting some heavily accented beige savage trying to answer my PC problems, or going over my credit card bill.
I don't think this little project says anything about shutting down or downsizing your call center, just as long as you don't move it to India.

So best of luck getting your helpful congressman to answer the phone in a crisp American accent the next time you're having PC problems and can't be bothered to use google. Cause American labor is whaaay too expensive for what is essentially a perk. You can sell computers just fine, without providing every asshole who buys one with a 24/7 call center helping him use it.
 

Norm Stansfield

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Btw., this is a protectionist measure and a barrier to free trade. Every protectionist measure is answered in kind, by foreign governments, with even more barriers to free trade, this time the kind that destroy jobs in the United States.

Remember the law that says certain woods used in guitars must be processed in India before being exported to the US? Expect more of that.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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#14
Depends what business they happen to be in.
It shouldn't. That was his point.

And like Norm said, they'll either start charging for calls or just stop offering the service whatsoever. This shit won't create a single job.
 

Norm Stansfield

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Why is the federal government in the business of loaning money to private companies to begin with?
Because that's what people want. Favors. Someone to fix anything and everything they don't like about the world. And they want it done at somebody else's expense.
 
Aug 11, 2005
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#16
Welfare for corporations?!?!?! When the hell did this happen??
It's called a Subsidiary it's like fuck you you're going to pay for this football stadium because you live here

it's for your own good so deal with it kind of thing
 

Sunsetspawn

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Dec 5, 2005
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#17
It shouldn't. That was his point.

And like Norm said, they'll either start charging for calls or just stop offering the service whatsoever. This shit won't create a single job.
Not immediately, but it could when the companies that still offer the service for free start seeing higher profits. Of course, it'll take years for that to happen. And in the end, with whatever discouraging methods they use, it may still be cheaper to pay Koondar a bag of mud a week then some uppity gibsmedat $14 an hour.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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#18
I would just be happy with a rule saying that corporations must identify which countries your call is going to. I think the free market will take over from there. We already have labeling laws that require manufacturers identify the country of origin of their products, I hope no one here considers those a "protectionist measure".

Or turn it into an opportunity. If I'm Dell, offer a savage call number for free and a US based call number for $1.00. See how much consumers like talking to savages then.
 

Norm Stansfield

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#19
a rule saying that corporations must identify ... free market
So it's a free market, except for the part where you get to force a set of conditions on your business partner. You really don't understand how retarded it is to call that a free market?

In a free market, you would get to ask for that information, before you do business with someone. And if you don't get it, you would be free to walk out the door. You wouldn't get to force them to tell you anything.
We already have labeling laws that require manufacturers identify the country of origin of their products, I hope no one here considers those a "protectionist measure".
It's not up to a vote what the word free means, stupid. In a free market, there is no rule telling people that they must label their products a certain way. In a free market, consumers would have to be savvy enough to only buy things that have that information on there, but they would have the option to buy stuff that doesn't.

Wanna know why? Because that's what free means. No rules against any voluntary interactions whatsoever. None. Calling a regulated market free is fraudulent.
 

Norm Stansfield

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Mar 17, 2009
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#20
Or turn it into an opportunity. If I'm Dell, offer a savage call number for free and a US based call number for $1.00. See how much consumers like talking to savages then.
Right. Because that's how much it would cost to rent, operate and insure a workplace, hire, manage and insure a full staff to answer calls, obtain permits, deal with unions and lawsuits etc. in the United States. One dollar per call. Brilliant. You really are in touch with the world around you.
 

Ihateinternmatt

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Nov 7, 2011
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#21
Exactly if would be nice to have a true free market were the stupid ass government wasnt handpicking winners and losers. If the dipshits in DC didnt have there hands on everything then us as consumers would weed out the shitty business but no we cant, the government needs to decide what companies are good ones for us. Less government please, quit voting on what a company can and cant do and quit giving them money.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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#22
Right. Because that's how much it would cost to rent, operate and insure a workplace, hire, manage and insure a full staff to answer calls, obtain permits, deal with unions and lawsuits etc. in the United States. One dollar per call. Brilliant. You really are in touch with the world around you.
That's the delta in cost between maintaining an Indian call center and an American call center on a per-call basis. If you're going to offer a hotline as a part of your customer service plan, that hotline is going to cost something, whether it's answered by a Bangladesh leper or one of the Housewives of Beverly Hills. If there's not much demand, maybe you only need to hire one Housewife. And maybe the cost is a little more than a dollar, Larry Literal. But the point is that the power to decide is now in the hands of the consumer, not the bean counters.