Calling outsourcing "one of the scourges of our
economy," Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would make companies that relocate
call centers to locations outside of the United States ineligible
for federal grant or guaranteed loan programs for five years.
Under the U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR
3596), any company that (1) employs either 50 or more
full-time call center employees, or 50 or more call center
employees who work at least 1,500 aggregate hours per week
(excluding overtime) and (2) closes a call center or ceases
the operations of at least 30 percent of a call center's call
volume and relocates those operations to a location outside of the
United States, must provide at least 120 days' notice to the
Secretary of Labor prior to any such relocation. Companies
that fail to comply with this notice provision face civil penalties
of up to $10,000 per day.
The Act would also require the Secretary of Labor to maintain a
publicly available list of these companies, with each company
remaining on the list for up to three years after each instance of
relocation. With certain limited exceptions, any company on
this list would be ineligible for any direct or indirect federal
grants or guaranteed loan programs for a period of five years from
when they were added to the list. The bill also contains a
provision requiring federal and state agencies to give preference
in civilian or defense contracting to U.S. companies not on the
The bill also separately requires that any call center agents
located outside of the United States to (1) disclose their physical
location at the beginning of all calls and (2) to transfer the call
back to a U.S.-based call center upon the customer's request.
This disclosure requirement does not apply to customers who
initiate the communication with the call center agent and who know,
or reasonably should know, that the call center agent is physically
located outside the U.S. Companies subject to these
disclosure and transfer requirements must certify their compliance
to the Federal Trade Commission annually. Any failure to
comply is treated as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission
regulations regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
The bill's co-sponsors include Reps. David McKinley
(R-W.V.), Gene Green (D-Texas) and Michael Michaud (D-Maine).
Measures with similar physical location disclosure provisions
have been previously introduced in Congress. In September,
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill that would require
customer service agents located outside of the United States
and working on behalf of entities conducting business in the United
States to reveal their physical location to U.S.-based customers at
the beginning of any electronic communication initiated or received
by them. Click
here to read our alert on Sen. Schumer's bill.
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