In a ruling that might well have an impact on call centers throughout the U.S., a judge in Ireland has told financial institutions they will have to provide real people, and not just faceless voices at the end of a call-center phone, to deal with clients’ financial problems and concerns.
According to a report in The Irish Times, Judge Jacqueline Linnane has put off until March a decision on whether to award some 30,000 Euros to financial institution Vhp Ireland Ltd.
The story is as follows: Taxi owner Declan Greaves had taken a loan out for the funds to buy a cab, through the bank of Scotland. The bank in turn sold his loan to Vhp back in 2012. Greaves then tried to contact the loan’s new owner to make a new, 300 Euro a month payment plan, but every time he called, he kept getting through to call center operators who either couldn’t help him, or didn’t have the authority to make the requested change.
Vhp Ireland Ltd eventually sought a 30,000 Euro judgment against the Dublin-based Greaves, but the judge disagreed.
In her ruling, “Judge Linnane told Vhp’s legal representatives they would have to provide Mr. Greaves with the identity of a real person within the finance company with whom Mr. Greaves could contact by phone and arrange a face-to-face meeting,” The Irish Times said.
When given the address by Vhp where Greaves could take his issue, the judge retorted that the address provided another dead-end for the defendant, noting “such addresses were of little use to clients since they were invariably accountants’ offices.”
The jurist added that Greaves should not be directed to call centers whether within Ireland or in the U.K. or elsewhere. “He was entitled to meet a real person face to face and she adjourned all issues to March to allow such a meeting to take place and see if Mr. Greaves in the meantime maintained the payments he had agreed to,” the Times said.
The case highlights challenges that some others contacting call centers have faced, wherein they get through, but not to anyone who can actually help them. It will be interesting to see how this case eventually plays out.
Edited by Maurice Nagle