NJ Bill Would Make Call Reps Give Location

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A bill passed yesterday by a state legislative committee in New Jersey would require customer service representatives at call centers to say their name, employer and location when answering inbound calls from consumers in the state.

Representatives would have to give the information within 30 seconds of taking a call under the bill, A3529, sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, one of the driving forces behind the state's recently passed no-call law. The bill also would require call centers outside the United States to route the call to a U.S. facility upon request by a caller.

The Democratic-backed bill passed from the New Jersey Assembly state government committee June 5 and should enjoy support in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but it might face opposition in the evenly divided state Senate.

The bill also applies to customer service reps responding to e-mail. In this case, reps must give their name, employer and location in the reply e-mail.

Violators would be charged $10,000 on the first offense and $20,000 on second and subsequent offenses.

New Jersey lawmakers have proven sensitive to the issue of call center jobs moving offshore in the past. In May, EFunds Corp., which has a contract to provide processing services for the state's food-stamp program, transferred a customer service operation from a call center in Bombay, India, to one in Camden, NJ, following lawmaker complaints.

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