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AOL cans UK call centre

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AOL is pulling out of its call centre contract in Scotland, leaving it without UK-based customer support. Call centres will now be based offshore in the Republic of Ireland and India.

A spokesman for the ISP told The Register the decision was motivated by the rapidly disappearing dial-up business. AOL's broadband expertise is at its Waterford facility in Ireland, he said.

Sources at the call centre say the move was a cost decision. The 150 agents working on AOL accounts in Scotland cost "five times" what those in Banglore billed. AOL staff at Waterford have recently expressed annoyance at plans to cut customer retention bonuses.

AOL's broadband customer base was recently snapped up by Carphone Warhouse, though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the competition commission.

The decision to quit Scotland was taken some time before takeover talks. Carphone Warehouse retains most of its own call centres in the UK.

In December 2004, AOL ended its relationship with its Bristol call centre operator ClientLogic, prompting job fears.

The Airdrie call centre was run for AOL by outsourcers beCogent. In a statement, beCogent said AOL's withdrawl would not cause any job losses. The outsourcing firm declined to comment on reports received by The Register that staff were due to be kept in the dark until January 10.®

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