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South Africa call centre ??

failmagnet
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 04-05-2009

South Africa call centre ??

Whenever I used to call technical support (some time ago), I liked the idea that I was speaking to someone in the UK. It felt more secure. But today the call went through to South Africa. Is this just because its a Bank Holiday in UK? I don't like the idea of my personal data being dealt with outside of the UK, where there are different data protection laws in place. When was I consulted about this change to the service?  Angry
And I only picked up the phone because the "help assistant" would not let me raise a question! (does it not work on Safari?). And why can't I send an email?
26 REPLIES
Not applicable

Re: South Africa call centre ??

This was discussed last years in this 13-page thread:
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,68368.0.html
Many of us, like you, were not happy with this but we were led to believe that calls would only be transferred during busy periods and as it is bank holiday I would have thought that it would not be too hectic - in fact I telephoned this morning and the call was picked up immediately by CS in Sheffield.
scootie
Grafter
Posts: 4,799
Registered: 03-11-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

CSC Sheffield on 0114-296-5198
i am like your self i dont want to disscus stuff with some one in a diffrent country esp bank account details ect.
i hate having to ring bt up.
iam sure the india call centre staff are trained to a decent standard but they just dont live in the uk and understand are phone network and at times its very hard to understand them which is no good as mainly the reason you ring call centres up is to get something fixed so having some one that you cant understand is crazy at a time like this.
plus why not create more jobs in the uk at time like these.
As i live just south of sheffield i would rather get in my car and drive to PN towers than have to use a south africa call centre
rant over
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: South Africa call centre ??

I'm with  you 100% - I don't want to discuss personal details with someone not bound by UK law. No matter what assuirances the company may give.
No matter how well trained - staff in India, South Africa, etc etc have absolutely no idea what UK society is like, the problems, details of life etc.
No amount of persuasion by Plusnet / Bt or whoever will ever persuade me otherwise. All they are doing is trying to save money - absolutely no other reason whatsoever.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,330
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

There's a blog about our offshore support centre here.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: South Africa call centre ??

Thanks Bob - but no amount of assurance will convince me that people half way around the world understand how we do things in this country, they don't understand our culture and way of doing things anymore than we understand theirs.
The only reason companies use overseas calls centres is  to cheapen the cost and it shows a lot of the time.
Why are some companies bringing their calls centres back to the UK after trying overseas ones ?.
I live in an area of Scotland where we have several major call centres for a major utility company,  a major insurance company and more = so know a few people working in the business.

scootie
Grafter
Posts: 4,799
Registered: 03-11-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

did you see last nights watchdog.
sky kept them waiting to speak to human for over 2 hours Crazy
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,913
Thanks: 256
Fixes: 10
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

AFAIK Plusnet's major competitor (not BT) appears to have an all UK Customer support (and no 18 month contracts either).
Before I moved to PN, my first question was "Is PN support wholly UK based"
Obviously my second question should have been "Do you plan to change this?"
In these times of economic hardship, it seems foolish to fund the workforce of distant countries,
when we've got plenty of workers on the dole.
I would have thought that a Sheffield based company wouldn't need to have this spelled out to them....

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,486
Registered: 02-10-2008

Re: South Africa call centre ??

Don't forget to lobby your parliamentary candidates for the European elections on this very topic. Elections next month.
And my MEP's  are very aware of this issue of jobs being exported outside of EU and some at least seem to want to do something to keep jobs in the EU. Guess which ones !!.
And of course - I'm not against PN staff here - I'm actually trying to help the Sheffield staff - but of course don't expect any to comment here !!!.
failmagnet
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 04-05-2009

Re: South Africa call centre ??

OK, so I've read the blog about the durban CSC. While any morally-vacant business-head can see the commercial advantages of off-shoring the human cost and effort of customer service, I would like to know this: What personal data protection laws/regs to PN believe they are bound by wrt this off-shoring scheme? What type of personal/Security data is exchanged with them (SA)? I mean - do they know our passwords? Can they access our emails? Do they have our Names, Addresses, Phone numbers and bank account details? Are they able to track and analyse our online behaviour? Do they have any arrangements with any third party marketing/advertising companies who might be interested in our data? I'm sounding paranoid - but my point is that you Plusnet have kept us completely in the dark over this, and the natural suspicion is that you have failed to do due diligence / corporate governance. Please confirm.
Did Plusnet or any other reliable authority do an information risk assessment on the Durban CSC to understand whether in-fact they can be trusted with our data? What safeguards and regular compliance checks are in place to assure us as the customer that the Durban service partner will comply with the data protection measures required? Go on -  somebody impress me with a half decent answer...  I had this battle with Lloyds Bank (Banga-bloody-lore branch), and I'm thoroughly p*ssed off with it.  The only way to get a company to take it seriously is for everybody to care about their data and threaten to change supplier. Then suppliers will realise that UK customer support is "reassuringly expensive, but a must-have feature of doing UK business".  Angry

Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 17,663
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

Whilst the Durban call centre do have access to information for diagnostic purposes, no data is stored outside the UK. It's all still stored on the same platform in the same data centres as it was prior to using SA. We have logging on who accesses which areas of accounts and certain areas of customers accounts (bank details and card numbers) are not accessible by anyone as they are encrypted.
It's also worth keeping in mind that the call centre in Durban was previously used by Madasafish (BV) beforehand.
There was quite a lengthy thread about this when we first announced it here: http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,68368.0.html
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Staff
itsme
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

PN is still legally bound by the DPA
Quote
The Act works in two ways. Firstly, it states that anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles, which make sure that personal information is:
•Fairly and lawfully processed
•Processed for limited purposes
•Adequate, relevant and not excessive
•Accurate and up to date
•Not kept for longer than is necessary
•Processed in line with your rights
•Secure
•Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection


Quote from: failmagnet
Do they have our Names, Addresses, Phone numbers and bank account details?

Also most of the examples that you have given I would suggest that you have freely given this information to third parties without ensuring that data protection is in place. For example how mant times have you written  your address and telephone number on a piece of paper to give to someone? As for the bank details everytime you write a cheque your are circulating your account and sort numbers to who knows.
failmagnet
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 04-05-2009

Re: South Africa call centre ??

Quote from: itsme
Also most of the examples that you have given I would suggest that you have freely given this information to third parties without ensuring that data protection is in place. For example how mant times have you written  your address and telephone number on a piece of paper to give to someone? As for the bank details everytime you write a cheque your are circulating your account and sort numbers to who knows.

Well sometimes you have limited control and have to make a judgement, especially on the internet where most of our requests go through untrusted services. But in general, no I don't freely give out personal information, unless there's demonstrable need, and I have some level of trust. I don't put "my address and telephone number on a piece of paper" and give it freely to any person who asks. When I write a cheque to someone I'm not circulating my account details to "who knows" - I'm giving it to someone I trust who simply wants my money, not the information and will pay it into their bank in whom they trust. You are not offering a suitable analogy here - you forget the data aggregation factor. The person I give a cheque to does not operate a database where they can analyse the data and potential behaviour of hundreds of thousands of people, categorising and classifying those people by perceived behaviours and attributes whether accurate or not and selling that analysis to a marketing/advertising company who may target those individuals accurately or not. But an ISP and their international service partners can. It may be part of their extended business model - about which we are told nothing. Now I'm NOT suggesting this is what Plusnet/Durban actually do, but I have concerns about the protection of our data and require clarification.
I thank Plusnet for their response to my questions, but it is vague: I still do not know what information about a Plusnet subscriber can be accessed by Durban and for what reason. I am starting to wonder whether in fact they simply don't know. Logging data access (aka accounting) is good. And I would *hope* that the logs actually get checked (audited) and any misuse detected and acted upon.
I really don't want to drag this debate out with unfounded concerns and FUD, so again, please tell us WHAT data, WHERE/WHO does it go to and WHY so we can rest easy. Undecided
VileReynard
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

If Durban can handle any accounts questions, they can copy all personal details onto a piece of paper to sell on to someone in the pub the same day.
That's a good reason to only contact PN via the 0114 number - it's apparently a Sheffield only number plus it's cheaper for me in daylight hours. Smiley
Of course, this implies that the Sheffield based staff are incorruptible - but then they are (currently) quite a bit further from the poverty line than a third world country.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: South Africa call centre ??

Quote from: itsme
Also most of the examples that you have given I would suggest that you have freely given this information to third parties without ensuring that data protection is in place. For example how mant times have you written  your address and telephone number on a piece of paper to give to someone? As for the bank details everytime you write a cheque your are circulating your account and sort numbers to who knows.

I also do not give my address and phone number to anyone that asks, in fact unless they have a justifiable reason in my eyes for either, they'll get told to ..... If I have to give a phone number, it'll be my mobile, because it's more expensive to ring me, so I don't get pestered unnecessarily.
For a number of years, I haven't and won't write cheques for people I don't know or who aren't a recognised company. In fact in the last 3 years the only cheques I've written are for the same person who I've known for 40 years.
I also note my latest Debit card no longer has the sort & account number as part of the card number and all transactions including hole in the wall, quote the last 4 digits of the card number instead of the account number.