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United Shuts Down Customer Comment Hotline

Moves Some Call Centers Back To US. But Don't Call Them

Who says there's no good news in a recession? What if we told you we have a story about United Airlines that includes the phrases "insource' and "new hires?"

Before you get too giddy, the news is actually mixed. The Chicago Tribune reports United will insource 165 jobs currently performed in India and Mexico to giant call centers outside Chicago and Honolulu. Some of those people answering your calls on 1-800-UNITED-1 will be existing employees, but others will be new hires.

The bad news is, they'll no longer take complaint calls.

You can call United to make reservations, track lost bags or seek refunds, but if you want to complain -- or even compliment them on their service -- you'll have to do that by e-mail. The customer service reps will then decide whether to respond by e-mail, snail-mail or telephone.

United will still rely on offshore labor to take reservations... but maybe the news is good after all. United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said internal studies show customers who communicated with United by email or snail mail were "most satisfied" with the airline's response to their inquiries.

Besides, when was the last time you tried to send an e-mail, and were told to wait for the next available representative?

FMI: www.united.com

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