ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Internal taxation of imports
Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat of New York) had announced on June 2, 2010 that he was introducing a bill in the U.S. Senate that would require the disclosure to customers when service calls are transferred abroad, and would impose a per-call excise tax on companies that transfer domestic customer service calls to foreign call centers. Congress did not act on the matter before adjourning on September 29, 2010. It could nonetheless be brought up again in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).
The legislation is described in a press release on Senator Schumer's website. It states in part that,
'i'f a caller dials an 800 number and is then transferred to a call center in India, the call center would be required under the Schumer legislation to inform the caller of the country where the call was rerouted to. The disclosure requirement also forces companies to annually certify to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they are complying with this requirement. Companies that fail to certify they are fully disclosing call transfers would be subject to civil penalties that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would prescribe.
Additionally, Schumer's bill would impose a $0.25 excise tax on any customer service call that originates domestically and is then transferred to an agent in a foreign location. The fee would be assessed on the company that transferred the call and no US company would be assessed a fee for a domestic call center. US companies would be required to disclose quarterly, and in their annual reports, how many customer service calls they received, and how many are sent overseas.
The press release notes that ''t'most popular countries for outsourcing of American call centers are India, Indonesia, Ireland, Canada, the Philippines, and South Africa - all countries with an ample supply of English-speaking workers that are willing to work for low wages.' It alleges that 'workers in these countries are paid at substantial lower hourly rates that their US counterparts and willing to work longer hours for less pay which makes them enticing to US companies looking to cut costs.'
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