U.S. Debt Collecting Being Outsourced To India

The New York Times looks at the blossoming foreign market for debt collection services, and describes a call center in India where the employees are reminded to bring up the 2008 stimulus checks when they call U.S. households, and where everyone claps three times when the first “deal” of the day is made (“”Rajesh, for $35 a month for three months,” the supervisor yells across the center.)

So far the market is still small—maybe 5% of collections—but the Times says more contracts are in the pipeline, and that companies are also looking to Mexico, Romania, and the Phillipines. Delinquent mortgage loans will probably continue to be handled in the U.S. because they involve complex state and federal laws, but “credit card, auto and other debt are prime candidates for collection overseas.”

“Debt Collection Done From India Appeals to U.S. Agencies “ [New York Times] (Thanks to SSH!)
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. jdmba says:

    Pretty soon “Debbie” or “Bob” will be calling, saying “I understand your problem” and putting you on hold for 10 minutes to look in the script for your keywords. Yay!

  2. Mayor McRib says:

    It won’t mean as much now when they threaten to show up on your doorstep, or better yet at your work.

  3. cortana says:

    Oh god. I can just imagine Romanian debt collectors on the phone. I’m going to make so much money under the FDCPA.

  4. EWGF says:

    @jdmba:

    Several countries are under the same educational system as the US (the Philippines being the most prominent). The accent I’ll give you, but a script will surely be unnecessary.

    I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one who actually likes this news?

  5. Oh gosh, Customer Support outsourcing wasn’t bad enough?

  6. @cortana: Didn’t even think of that…

  7. Angryrider says:

    Yes! Dirty underhanded tactics ahoy!!!
    “Hello? If you don’t pay off this debt, the great Shiva will come to your house and bring the pain!”

  8. corporateamericabites says:

    This is yet another reason not to get into debt you guys :(

  9. zentec says:

    I’m looking forward to when executive management is outsourced to India.

  10. milk says:

    i’m glad this didn’t happen years ago when i was in college and didn’t pay my credit card for a while. i enjoyed my conversations with good ol’ american matt from capital one.

  11. Pro-Pain says:

    I’m sorry I don’t understand what you’re saying…

  12. Snowblind says:

    I am thinking we can afford to buy off the agent…
    (one paypal payment later…)

    Debt? What debt?

  13. hi says:

    But will they say “you are not a scam”.

    [consumerist.com]

  14. Shannon says:

    Ha, I LOVE the picture that goes with this story! Awesome.

  15. Erskine says:

    “Thank you and come again!”

  16. Metropolis says:

    I love indian women. Moar Indian Womenz plz

  17. Roycester says:

    We deal with these Indian collectors every day – they call with heavy accents – “This is ‘Steve’ I am calling from ‘Kansas’.

    We’re working with lawmakers to see that your personal financial information doesn’t leave these shores. It’s bad enough it’s in the hands of felons in some agencies…

    http://www.budhibbs.com

  18. Juggernaut says:

    “Hi, this is Kesyer Sose if you do not pay me the money I will be forced to kill my own family to show you that I mean business and then kill everyone you know.”

  19. pmathews says:

    @me and the sysop:

    I’m with you on that one. Sometimes the wells fargo women would even flirt back…

  20. CarltonBanks says:

    “Please to be paying your bill do the needful ok”

  21. BigElectricCat says:

    If I were ever called by one of these clowns, I think I’d just laugh and hang up the phone.

  22. RandomHookup says:

    Just please do the needful and you won’t have to hear from Niteen and Raja.

  23. dantsea says:

    So the same people who read back scripts at places like Orbitz, Dell and Citibank are going into debt collection?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

  24. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    “Hello, my name is Bob. This phone call may be recorded. May I speak to…Meesus…Smmmith?”

    “I’m sorry. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

    “Meesus Smith, you owe $250 to Beast Buy for teleVISION.”

    “What? I what?”

    “You have $600 steeemulus check from government?

    “You want to stimulate my WHAT?! I’m calling the police!”

  25. Erwos says:

    @RandomHookup: That impression was spot-on. I’m not sure where the “please do the needful” thing comes from, but I know my Indian colleagues say it all the time.

  26. Tush says:

    @BigElectricCat: Clowns? They’re people too, jackass

  27. Buran says:

    @RandomHookup: And what if you’re getting harassed because they can’t comprehend “wrong number”?

  28. Maurs says:

    So, uh, I guess threatening legal action under the FDCPA is going to be a little less intimidating, huh?

  29. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    My first question when reading this is will the FDCPA still protect us?

  30. unklegwar says:

    Oh Good! Send sensitive financial and identifying info overseas too. No chance of ID theft AT ALL. Nope.

    Again, glad I pay my bills on time.

  31. dwneylonsr says:

    Amusing thing is that “Medium” had an episode where they were being called by an Indian debt collector a few weeks ago.

  32. SacraBos says:

    Reminds me of the joke: What do you get when you cross the Mafia with an Indian Call Center? You get an offer you can’t understand.

  33. dantsea says:

    @Maurs: I wouldn’t expect it to change much. The call center might be shifted to India, but corporate HQ will remain in the states. If anything, I’d expect this to make the agencies even more accountable because the contractor will behave exactly as they’re told to by the client — “forgetting” to train on FDCPA will be even more inexcusable now.

  34. SacraBos says:

    @unklegwar: Too late. Bank of America out-sourced their call center to India already. So all your banking information and other sensitive data is already over there.

  35. Snarkysnake says:

    Okay, all of you immature clowns.SOME of us God fearing ,real he-man ,All American types don’t find this article (and your responses) funny.

    We find it fucking hysterical.

    Okay MBA students, here is the answer to a case study you may be working on.When you argue with the instructor about the dumbest idea in American business history,this must be mentioned prominently.Among short sighted,half baked ideas,this one deserves a special place.

    I will free a free beer (must be over 21,offer void where prohibited)for the best recorded call that involves one of these collectors from India. Post it somewhere,it should be a scream.

  36. dragonvpm says:

    Clearly some companies still think that we _like_ dealing with Indian call centers.

    It’s one thing when you’re the one doing the calling (presumably for something you want/need), but I can’t imagine that many folks who are starting to get calls from collections agencies are going to actually slog through the various accent, and idiomatic issues that pop up just to have someone try to get money out of them.

    Somehow I don’t see this ending well.

  37. RandomHookup says:

    @Erwos: I used to get the phrase in job cover letters all the time.

    You can now get it on a thong or trucker hat: [www.cafepress.com]

  38. BigElectricCat says:

    @Tush:

    “Clowns? They’re people too, jackass.”

    And of course you noticed that I made no claim to the contrary.

    Whenever you need clarification from me, you need only ask for it politely, preferably without the valueless invective attached.

    Jackass, indeed.

  39. Trai_Dep says:

    Seven years ago, I would have chuckled and told the person I’d pay, but only in rupees. Now that the GOP has turned the $US to toilet paper, it’d be ruinously expensive to do this.
    I guess that’s progress?

  40. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Roycester: We’re working with lawmakers to see that your personal financial information doesn’t leave these shores.

    This possibility scares the holy living shit out of me.

    @Tush: Clowns? They’re people too, jackass

    Perhaps they are, but no one is forcing them to take the job. What if I ran a service in which you could pay people to take a dump on others’ porches?

    On the plus side, this joke continues to write itself!

  41. Manok says:

    Philippines. It’s not that difficult to spell.

  42. kbarrett says:

    Clowns and mimes are not really human.

  43. Erskine says:

    @Tush:

    No, they’re not.

  44. theblackdog says:

    @Snarkysnake: This is assuming that there are consumerist readers who are behind on their bills. It seems the “Debt Collector calls the wrong person” stories are far and few between.

  45. dragonfire81 says:

    I predict that outsourcing is going to escalate big time over the next several years as companies attempt to keep profits healthy in this rough economy, thus adding to the problem and further driving the U.S. into recession.

  46. MightyCow says:

    I had trouble in the past with a debt collector calling on a debt that wasn’t mine. It was difficult enough to deal with when they were in America, and my state attorney general could get on their case. I don’t know what would have happened, had it been in India.

  47. Pro-Pain says:

    @dragonfire81 – I try hard to avoid doing business with any company that outsources. Although almost impossible nowadays, I still TRY. I only want Apu to sell me beer and cigs, that is all…

  48. sean77 says:

    @Cogito Ergo Bibo: hahah, racism is so damned funny.

  49. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @sean77:

    See…that’s how I feel too, yet no one can explain to my why it’s so taboo to say black people like fried chicken, yet saying that Indians like curry is perfectly acceptable…

  50. riverstyxxx says:

    I can haz receshun?

  51. ageshin says:

    The way I see it if they outsourse the jobs, then they can pay the debt because I don’t have the do re mi any more!

  52. SabrinaFaire says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one annoyed by being told to do the needful.

  53. cortana says:

    @SabrinaFaire: KINDLY DO THE NEEDFUL

  54. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    @BigElectricCat: It’s not nice to call them clowns for simply trying to do their job. A job which entails calling people who haven’t paid their bills; perhaps the clown is on the other end of line?

    Just a thought.