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Hoax - Right To Be Connected to an Australian Phone Rep

Outline
Message claims that Australians have the right to be transferred to an Australian based representative if they have been connected to an overseas help centre when calling a company or service.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are untrue. There is no legally binding "right" that forces companies to transfer callers to an Australian representative on request. While some companies in Australian may choose to offer such a service to customers, they are in no way legally required to do so. The message is an Australia variant of previous false and misleading messages that have circulated in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: 24th February 2012
First published: 24th February 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: give the aussies a go

--ONE FOR THE AUSSIES


Did you know that you have the right to speak to an Australian person when you call a company for a service or whatever. I've done this when I simply couldn't understand the person talking to me.

But I never realised that this is a proactive way of bringing jobs back to Australia.
Do the following when you phone any customer service operation that is based in a foreign country. I have done this twice and it works!

Any time you call a company about a problem with a credit card, bank account, computer, product, etc and you are answered by a person in a call centre abroad, eg.. in India, try this:

As soon as you realise that the customer service person is not in Australia (you can always ask if you are not sure about the accent), please very politely (very politely - this is not about trashing other cultures) say,
"I'd like to speak to a customer service person in Australia."

The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, "Thank you, but I'd like to speak to a customer service person in Australia .."

YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY CONNECTED to a rep in Australia.. It only takes a few seconds to have your call re-directed to Australia

Tonight when I got redirected to an Australian rep, I asked again to make sure - and yes, she was in Perth

Imagine if tomorrow, every Australian citizen requests an Australian rep, how that would impact the number of extra Australian jobs needed. Imagine what would happen if every Australian citizen insisted on talking to only Australian phone reps from this day on.

Remember - the goal is to restore jobs back here at home - not to be abrupt or rude to a foreigner.

If you agree, please send on to your family and friends for them then also to send on and to tell others so that at the end we all know !




Detailed Analysis
This message, which is circulating via email and social networking posts, suggests a strategy by which Australian residents can help protect and restore Australian jobs. According to the message, if you are calling a company and find that you are talking to an overseas customer service representative, you can ask to be transferred to a representative located back in Australia. The message suggests that customers have a legal right to be transferred to an Australian customer service person if they request such a transfer. The message maintains that, if many callers started to exercise this supposed right to be transferred to Australian operators, more Australian jobs would be created thereby helping to curtail unemployment.

At first take, the claims in the message may sound reasonable. In theory, implementing the strategy outlined in the message might actually help alleviate unemployment a little. However, the theory is quickly dealt a killer blow by the fact that the central claim in the message is simply untrue. Australian companies are under no legal obligation whatsoever to redirect callers to Australian based representatives. Australian callers have no "right" in the legal sense to expect companies they call to honour a request to transfer them to an Australian representative.

In fact, the message is nothing more than an Australian version of another hoax that has circulated in the United States since at least 2009. And there are also UK and Canadian versions of the hoax. As the following US example reveals, the two are clearly cut from the same cloth. Obviously, the perpetrator of the message has simply used an earlier version of the hoax as a template and altered it to fit an Australian audience.
Any time you call an 800 number (for a credit card, banking, charter communications, health insurance, insurance, you name it) and you are transferred to a representative (like in India), please consider doing the following:

After you connect and you realize that the customer service representative is not from the USA (you can always ask if you are not sure about the accent), please very politely (very politely - this is not about trashing other cultures) say, "I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States of America ." The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, "Thank you, but I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the USA ." YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY CONNECTED to a rep in the USA . It only takes less than one minute to have your call re- directed to the USA . Tonight when I got redirected to a USA rep, I asked again to make sure - and yes, she was from Fort Lauderdale .

Imagine if tomorrow, every US citizen who has to make such a call and then requests a US rep, imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of US jobs that would need to be created ASAP. Imagine what would happen if every US citizen insisted on talking to only US phone reps from this day on. If I tell 10 people to consider this and you tell 10 people to consider doing this - see what I mean...it becomes an exercise in viral marketing 101.

Remember - the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home - not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep. If you agree, please tell 10 people you know and tell them to tell 10 people they know.....etc...etc...
The claims in the US, UK and Canadian versions are also untrue. Furthermore, given Australia's multicultural nature, encountering a service representative who speaks English with an accent is not necessarily an indication that the call has reached an overseas call centre.

Those who feel strongly about the issue would be better off registering their discontent about the use of overseas call centres directly to the companies involved. They could also discuss the issue with their political leaders.

Of course, consumers are certainly free to ask to be transferred to a call centre in their own country. And, if such a facility exists and if the company is willing to comply with such requests, the caller may indeed be transferred. However, the bottom line is that companies are under no obligation to transfer you to an Australian representative and in many cases will be unwilling or unable to do so. Thus, as a call to arms, this message is pretty much pointless and sending it on to others will do nothing other than spread misinformation.

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Are UK Companies Required by Law To Transfer 0800 Callers to UK Based Reps If Requested?
Keep some jobs at home - redirect phone support to Canada??

Last updated: 24th February 2012
First published: 24th February 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer