MANILA, Philippines - An Australian television network reported last week that a call center based in the Philippines is now under investigation after an agent allegedly offered to erase a customer’s bill in exchange for a small kickback.
The Today Tonight report quoted a certain Sam McNeil, who said his inquiry has turned out to become “quite serious.”
He supposedly talked to a certain “Daniella,” who is allegedly working for the Telstra Business customer service based here in the Philippines.
McNeil claimed he complained about his $557 credit card bill, but “Daniella” later messaged him via private mail for a trade-off.
“Daniella” supposedly said, “Sam you really sound pleasant to me... LOLs. Do you want me to rectify this bill straight away? Can do some reverse of charge and just put your account on $99 dollars so you won't have problem when you go inter-state work. If i can received a special presents...cheers!”
“Daniella” also supposedly said: “You can wire me $60. I’ll take care of your account no dramas at all. It’s up to you ... This conversation never happened.”
The news story was not clear as to how it discovered the nationality of “Daniella.” Today Tonight is an Australian news and current affairs program, produced by the Seven Network.
A report from “The Australian” newspaper in 2009, however, said Telstra already dropped its Philippine operations and that it only operated in the country for six months.
The Today Tonight report also quoted Telstra executive director Peter Jamieson as saying, “This is an isolated case of a particular individual who has made a bad choice. That particular individual is paying for that bad choice. They have been removed from phones, and we'll take appropriate action to ensure that this doesn't happen again.”
“Clearly it's not an acceptable situation. We don't condone it in any way, we're very disappointed, and we've taken immediate action to address it,” Jamieson told the television program.
Lack of governance
McNeill said he feels sorry for “Daniella," whom he alleged to have sent him photos.
“It is one thing to want to make more money as a company, and I can understand and appreciate that. But when that is meaning you are sacrificing customer service and employing people who are willing to extort customers, then they have a big issue and it is something they really need to reevaluate I guess,” he said.
He said culture, conditions, and a lack of governance overseas contribute to the risks of offshore call centers.
Some stakeholders in Australia have long battled the practice of companies of going offshore.