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Schumer pushes for foreign call center tax

How many times have you made your way through the telephone maze to a customer service help desk, only to figure out you're talking to somebody on the other side of the world? Now there's a lawmaker who thinks there ought to be a law to change that.

In an effort to slow the outsourcing of American jobs, New York Senator Charles Schumer is proposing a tax on companies that transfer calls with U.S. area codes to foreign call centers. His proposed legislation would tax companies 25 cents for each customer service phone call that is outsourced to a foreign call center. Schumer also wants to make companies inform customers when their calls are being transferred outside the U.S. and to which country.

"This bill will not only serve to maintain call center jobs currently in the United States, but also provide a reason for companies that have already outsourced jobs to bring them back," said Sen. Schumer in a statement.

Under Schumer's proposed bill, companies would also be required to report their total number of customer service calls and the amount rerouted to foreign call centers.

Many American companies place call centers overseas to save costs. India, Indonesia, Ireland, Canada, the Philippines and South Africa are among the countries that U.S. companies use to outsource call centers.

If it were to become law, would Schumer's plan make any difference to you?

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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