The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act continues to gain support in the House of Representatives. If passed, could bring change to the way representatives start their calls with consumers. H.R. 1300 was introduced in March 2017 by Rep. David McKinley (R-WVa), and now has 60 co-sponsors, including 10 Republicans and 50 Democrats. The Bill was originally introduced in 2015, then re-introduced in 2016. H.R. 1300 represents the third try.

The Act would establish a list of companies that move call center work out of the country, requiring that businesses with at least 50 call center employees notify the Department of Labor at least 120 days before relocating outside of the United States. Those in violation would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day.

Employers remain on the list for up to three years after each relocation, and are not eligible for federal grants or federal guaranteed loans for five years after being added to the list. Government contracts would favor companies not on the list.

Customer service agents would have to disclose their physical location at the beginning of each communication unless all involved employees or agents involved with the communication are located in the United States.

The bill exempts any communication: (1) initiated by a consumer if the consumer knows or reasonably should know that the employee or agent is located outside the United States, or (2) related to the provision of emergency services. Upon request, businesses must transfer a customer to a customer service agent who is physically located in the United States.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would have enforcement authority over the Act.

insideARM Perspective

We last highlighted this legislation in March 2018, when there were 32 co-sponsors. While this bill is a long way from becoming law (it remains in committee), we’re covering it now because it has consistently gained co-sponsors, and therefore should be on the radar of any creditor or ARM firm that offshores – or is considering offshoring -- first or third party customer care or collection work.

The opening of a third party collection call is already awkward, requiring authentication and disclosures. The requirement to disclose the representative’s location would further complicate this process.

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