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Indian Call Center Agents Routinely Face Racial Abuse: Study

A new study has revealed that Indian call center agents often become victims of racial abuse from US clients, with some callers labeling them ‘job thieves’.

The report, prepared by Sweta Ranjan-Rankin from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, has cited the trauma of an unnamed female call center agent who goes to the bathroom to dry her eyes every time she hangs up the phone.

“It is a post-recession reality. Western clients are extremely cagey. If they think you are an Indian, their biggest fear is you are stealing their job and that everything is being outsourced,” says Rajan-Rankin, according to Indian newswire Press Trust of India (PTI).

She claims to have prepared the report on the basis of interviews conducted between 2010 and 2012 with agents at two global outsourcing firms operating call centers in India. Most of the employees she interviewed told at least a few tales of verbal abuse they suffered while on calls.

“With Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in America, recession, and the pulling back of services, you might see much more customer abuse, much more racial abuse,” she warned.

The western companies are also partly responsible for what is happening, the report says, because they hide the fact that their customer care service is outsourced to India.

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Even call center agents are told not to reveal that they are working out of India. “As a result, they get enormous amounts of abuse, which is often racial in nature,” she added.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.


  • Well it’s true. And it’s not the fault of the individuals working the jobs, it’s the faults of the Indian and American companies who work together to put Indians in these jobs. But no, I’m not going to be nice to you people. And I’m never going to trust you people with my personal information. Whenever I call a customer service line and get an Indian, I demand to speak to someone in the US. How many of you people also work for the IRS/CRA scams? or the Windows tech support scam? I’m definitely not going to trust you. You people are the reason one of my family members was laid off of their job and the company hired 5 Indians in their place, and I was forced to keep my family member financially above water. You people think us Americans are all rich but you’re wrong. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck and sometimes less than that. We barely get by paying our bills and have no money left over to go out or to save. How dare you think we are rich. Most Americans are not rich. We suffer at the hands of our government who makes the cost of living extremely high and our wages don’t rise with it. So no, I’m not going to be nice to you people. You are job thieves, and you are scammers, and I will make your job totally useless by demanding to speak to someone else.

  • That’s awful. Why don’t you try being nice to people who are working and doing their best to support their families? They are people who have feelings. There’s nothing wrong with living in India or being Indian. People who think it’s okay to be racist and horrid to people who can’t defend themselves and who still have to help you even if you’re mean are the worst. It’s made even more awful by the fact that you can do it in private and get away with it.