LIVE HUMANS MUST ANSWER BUSINESS PHONE BILL PROPOSED

By Bob Katzen

This bill requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide on their website, in their chat services and in all their correspondence with customers a toll-free phone number and TTY phone number that connects customers live with company representatives for customer service related to billing and payments, products and services.

The option would be required to be within the first menu of customer services. The measure also requires each company to employ at least one customer service representative to answer customer calls for every 500 customers to which the company has sold products and/or services.

“Customers deserve to be able to speak with a representative to resolve questions and concerns regarding a product or service,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Andover). “Some customers may prefer to submit requests via email or online chats, but others want to be able to pick up the phone and receive assistance directly from another person. When companies transition to exclusively online customer service, it creates barriers for customers and leaves behind folks with limited internet access and literacy. It’s a better common-sense business practice to at least provide consumers the option to speak with a representative via telephone.”

“The legislature should first consider their customer service before imposing rules on businesses,” said Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance Executive Director Paul Craney. “It’s nearly impossible to locate how a lawmaker votes on a bill and trying to make the Statehouse more transparent should be the senator’s first focus.”

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