[LINK] Mumbai Jumbo

Howard Lowndes lannet@lannet.com.au
Tue, 18 Feb 2003 01:42:41 +1100 (EST)

Russell, I suggest that you refer this to OFPC, but under their terms you 
will have to take it up with Amex first.

On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Russell Ashdown wrote:

> I had reason to telephone Amex today.  I called the 1800 number, 
> and after navigating the auto-attendant, I ended up in an area I had 
> not meant to go to.  My call was answered by a chap with an accent 
> I identified as Indian (Southern Asian, not North American).  I 
> thought nothing of it, and asked to be put through to the area I had 
> meant to get to.  
> The call was answered by a female with an accent very similar to 
> the first individual.  She was not able to help with my enquiry, and 
> put me on hold while she summoned her supervisor.  Lo, and 
> behold, the supervisor also spoke with the same accent.  My 
> curiosity was aroused.  I asked her where she was, and she replied 
> "In Sydney."  I said: "Where in Sydney?" and she said "Level 16, 
> 388 George Street, 2000, Sydney."  "Hmmm..." I thought, "2000, 
> Sydney, eh?"  I had a sneaking suspicion there was "something 
> crook in Tallarook!"  
> I asked her what the weather was like in Sydney, and she replied it 
> was fine.  That wasn't going to flush her out...  "It must be terrible to 
> be stuck in an office all day,  It's beautiful here in Brisbane, I just 
> went for a short drive in the Dandenong Ranges and came back 
> along the Swan River.  It was very relaxing."  "Yes," she replied.  "I 
> have been meaning to go to Brisbane." Snap!
> "Now, just where exactly are you specifically?"  I said. "Our main call 
> centre is in Sydney." she said. "That may be so I replied, but just 
> where, exactly are you right now?"  "I'm in the call centre." she said.  
> I told her I didn't believe that she was in Sydney, much less even in 
> Australia.  I told her I thought she was in India.  She denied it.
> Well, as it turned out, I didn't have all the paperwork I needed to 
> complete the transaction, so she gave me her name and extension 
> number to call her back.  This I did about ten minutes later. 
> This time, someone else answered and I opened with: "Hello, I'm 
> calling from Australia to speak with ......... Can you put me through 
> please?  Oh, by the way, how's the weather where you are in 
> India?"  "Oh, it's a lovely day and about 30 degrees. How is the 
> weather where you are in Australia?"
> Well, I was put through to the person I wanted to speak to and 
> provided the information.  I then asked her why she had lied about 
> her location.  She protested she was in Sydney, but I told her that 
> "the jig was up".  "I know you are in Mumbai," I said "Why did you lie 
> about it?"
> She explained that it was company policy to not disclose the 
> whereabouts of the call centre, and when I pressed her as to who 
> framed this policy, she said it was from Sydney, and she named an 
> individual who she said is based in Sydney and who conducted 
> training courses in Mumbai.
> Now, I am not naive, I understand this sort of jiggery pokery goes 
> on, but I was shocked at the blatant fashion of the denial.  
> What I would like to ask Linkers is this:  Is it acceptable to have the 
> private credit card accounts of Australian residents available online 
> in a foreign country to be scrutinised by nationals of that country and 
> outside of the laws of this country?  
> Further, what of the ethics of companies such as Amex if they are 
> instructing their foreign employees to lie to their Australian 
> customers about their whereabouts?  
> And finally, what protections that would normally be available to 
> Australian citizens with regard to privacy, credit and other legal 
> considerations would be circumvented where the database is wholly 
> or partially located offshore?
> Russell Ashdown
> (Now tell me that this post is off topic!)
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