In response to a reader's question whether the call center employees should be required to disclose their physical location at the start of each phone call, Don Boudreaux points out the absurdity of forcing firms to reveal information:
When Joe from Atlanta calls the Dell help center, he might then be treated to the following greeting: "Hello. Thanks for calling Dell. I’m Anokhi. I’m answering your call in Bangalore, India. I’m an atheist lesbian who always votes for the socialist party. I see nothing wrong with abortion, although I’ve never had one myself. I also believe in euthanasia, although I oppose the death penalty. I also feel strongly that the U.S.-led war in Iraq is immoral. How can I help you today?"
This greeting sounds silly. This greeting is silly. But each piece of information offered is plausibly important to some small handful of Americans. Therefore, I see no reason to single out for enforced disclosure information on companies’ extent of off-shoring. Declaring truthfully that some customers might find this information useful is insufficient to justify such enforced declarations.
Those in the favor of such a disclosure argue that it is not coercive to the consumers.
The argument in favor of such a requirement is that it’s not coercive (at least not to consumers). It merely requires companies with off-shore operations to disclose this fact clearly to consumers. Consumers are then free to patronize or not the firms that have some of their operations in foreign lands. Many consumers, after all, do indeed care about whether or not the company they’re patronizing has off-shore operations.
However, it is indeed coercive to the consumers! First, some consumers may have to spend time listening to information that is useless for them. Also, companies will have to spend resources on training and monitoring the employees to make sure that they give their location in each call. That will drive up the prices and prevent some consumers from enjoying the full-benefits of outsourcing.
If some customers really care about the location then they can ask that
question on each call. If they are refused the answer or the answer is
not what they wanted they can always shop somewhere else.
Link: Cafe Hayek.