Monday, March 27

The ‘call centers’ attack the next customer service law: “It’s a step backwards”

The preliminary draft of the Customer Service Law was one of the most anticipated regulations of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs due to the urgency of advancing in a poorly regulated area, but its content has received a barrage of criticism from call center companies and consumer associations. In the text, prepared by the ministry led by Alberto Garzón, it is contemplated to grant the companies a period of one month to respond to claims made by customers. It also wants to force users to have to be attended by a human person and not by an answering machine or robot, among other measures.

with Client (Aeerc) they charge against several of the aspects of the regulation. In addition to putting in value the “essential work” of companies in the sector during the months of stricter confinement, Aeerc opposes the establishment of limits to the automation of services due to the difficulty of its implementation and because it would further complicate telephone procedures. Nor are they satisfied with defining certain attention times and they consider it as an ineffective and ineffective measure facing customers.

The president of the Aeerc, José Francisco Rodríguez, regrets that Garzón is planning “that automations cannot be used to serve the customer and that limits are set.” “What must be done is to regulate well the use of automated devices. Nowadays, the number of consumer interactions with companies is very high and if people always have to give way, management will be complicated and costs will go up ”, argues Rodríguez. Along these lines, the president of Aeerc argues that what is urgent is to develop “a more modern law focused on improving digitization.” “The draft presented by Consumption is a step back from the rest of the world, which is moving towards the opposite side,” he says.

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The employers of the customer service centers also oppose certain companies having to answer 24 hours a day every day of the year, considering that “it will undoubtedly generate considerable inefficiency in the allocation of personnel and means to guarantee such coverage. ».

Among other allegations, Rodríguez also puts on the table that the ministry has not met with the ‘call centers’ before drafting the regulations. “We suggested that they listen to all the parties involved, including consumer associations, but they did not get to contact us,” he says.

No penalties

On the bank consumer side, the president of Asufin, Patricia Suárez, also makes a negative qualification of the only norm with the force of law that could come from Consumer Affairs: “It seems to us that it is far from solving the underlying issue.” Specifically, from Asufin they put the accent in the lack of an article to establish a system of sanctions that avoid bad practices and the inclusion of abusive clauses because they are not very transparent in bank contracts

“If the constitution of a truly independent banking authority with high sanctioning capacity were regulated once and for all, many of the problems would be solved. Meanwhile, we consider that there is a lot of patch in this regard, “adds Suárez. In this regard, the president of Asufin emphasizes that the only possible way today to resolve the problems with the banks is to go to court, with the added cost that it entails “not only for the affected person himself but also for the state coffers.” “We think it is positive that consumer response mechanisms are being strengthened, professionalizing customer service departments, forcing them to be trained and independent agents from the rest of the company, “he adds.

In addition, a few weeks ago, from Facua they showed their anger with Consumo by pointing out that the regulation “sells as a novelty something that was implemented several legislatures ago” and they recalled that the obligation to be attended by a human being already exists in the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users since 2014. The aforementioned regulation aims to regulate customer service services of large companies and will only apply to companies with more than 250 workers, with an annual business of more than 50 million euros or with a business balance that exceeds 43 million euros. On the other hand, the law will be mandatory for all companies that provide basic services of general interest, such as water, energy, transportation or financial services.

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