Indian Debt Collectors See US' Dark Side

Outsourced call centers get ring-side seat for economic crash
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2008 9:49 AM CDT
Indian Debt Collectors See US' Dark Side
In this Feb. 6, 2007 file photo, an employee of Convergys Corp., a global leader in call-center outsourcing, speaks with a client, in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, FILE)

Most Indian call center employees develop a fairly utopian view of the US, which seems a land of brand-name splendor and plenty. Not so at Aegis BPO Services, a call center specializing in debt collection, where employees are getting an up-close and personal look at the credit crunch. “It’s like people are totally drowning,” said one caller. “There has just been years of overspending and now: the crash.”

The demand for Indian debt collection callers has boomed; it’s one of the few outsourcing sectors still hiring aggressively, the Washington Post reports. Most centers—staffed by recent college grads equipped with fake American accents and names—deal with credit card debt, with more complicated mortgage payments handled domestically. But even these small debts elicit sob stories, usually with actual tears. “The situation is so emotional, so fragile,” says employee. “We have to have so much empathy.” (More India stories.)

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