Pinay call center agent probed for alleged fraud

by Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2012 07:56 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2012 04:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Allegations of fraud against a Filipina customer service representative (CSR) is raising concern among call center agents.

Many are worried that the scandal would hurt the reputation of Filipino CSRs and drive investors away.

Sam McNeill appeared on Australian newscast "Today Tonight," saying he contacted the customer service hotline of telecom company Telstra to inquire about his $557 bill.

McNeill allegedly received an e-mail from an agent, "Daniella," after he had a conversation with her.

The woman reportedly offered to reverse some of his charges until he is left with a $99 bill. All he had to do was pay her $60.

In a statement, Telstra spokesperson Craig Middleton assured that the incident is "not consistent with our Telstra values."

Middleton also said "Daniella" has been suspended while a full investigation is ongoing.

The company insisted that this is an isolated case and Telstra has thousands of other contact center agents who are doing "an outstanding job of assisting customers every day."

But McNeill believes the incident would have been avoided if services for Australians were not outsourced offshore.

Middleton said the allegation has not made them rethink outsourcing services, and that the location of the CSR has nothing to do with the reported extortion.

"All of our contact centers, regardless of location, are held to consistent and high standards of customer service, privacy and security of customer information," he said.

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is hoping this incident does not hurt the Philippines' standing as one of the leaders in the BPO industry.

BPAP spokesperson Martin Crisostomo believes that the good reputation of Filipino CSRs would not be tainted by the incident.