Recording your phone calls is a useful thing, but is it legal? Yes. Can you record your calls without the consent of the other person(s) on the call? Sometimes.
Let’s take a look at what’s legally required in different situations.
Recording phone calls with clients and others
Can you record calls with your clients? Yes. Can you record calls if you’re calling to verify information in a find person, or skip tracing, search? Yes. But, state laws apply in both cases.
When recording calls with people other than fellow employees the state laws that govern wiretapping and call recording consent apply.
The Digital Media Law Project provides a useful resource with an overview of the state and federal laws that cover the recording of phone calls, conversations and meetings.
Federal and state consent laws
Federal call recording law says that at least one party on the call must consent to the recording. (18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(2)(d)). Some states require that for an in-state phone call only one party, and this could be the caller, needs to give consent. This is call one party consent.
Other states require that all parties involved in a phone call or conversation be made aware of the intent to record before you can actually start recording the call. This is called all party consent.
Which law applies to my calls?
While the federal government requires one party consent, it does not have specific legislation covering call recording. Even the Federal Communications Commission defers to state laws.
Wiretapping, recording a call you are NOT involved in, is illegal throughout the U.S. We recommend you understand the laws in each state and follow the guidelines of the stricter state.
States with One Party Consent Laws
Only the party recording the call needs to consent.
|Alabama||Indiana||New Jersey||South Dakota|
|Dst. Columbia||Minnesota||Oklahoma||West Virginia|
|For informational purposes only and not legal advise.|
States with All Party Consent Laws
All parties must consent to the recording.
Recording calls for compliance
If your business is subject to Consumer Finance Protection Bureau regulations or other compliance obligations, call recording is a valuable practice for you to adopt.
You can use recordings to both verify compliance and monitor calls for potential violations. In BellesLink we allow clients to externally audit call recordings, adding a valuable layer of transparency to your operations.
Recording calls with co-workers
For some time, recording calls in the workplace was an anomaly, something done in secret and only when absolutely necessary. Many companies maintained rules against recording workplace conversations.
As smart phones entered office life, so did easy ways to record audio or video of anything and everything. We found it useful and workplace rules began to evolve. In December 2015 the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision that concluded a company could not ban employees from recording workplace conversations.
So, can I record workplace calls?
The short answer is, yes. Certainly you can imagine situations where the need for privacy outweighs the value of a recorded conversation, such as protecting trade secrets or client information.
The NRLB decision does allow for qualified recording bans to cover these situations. But, beyond these exceptions, and your local state laws, you can make audio or video recordings of anything and anybody you want.
Recording calls for productivity
In the flow of a conversation it’s difficult to catch every detail when your attention is split between listening and taking notes. Recording your calls is a faster, better way to capture important details.
Like Tivo’ing your favorite TV show for later, time-shift your note taking. When your call is done, listen to the recording and make your notes then. When you can pause and rewind the conversation you don’t miss important details.
At BellesLink we always record our co-worker calls using the call recording feature built into Belleslink. Calls are recorded automatically. When we want to go back and make notes, or remember a great idea, it’s always a click away.
Recording calls in your business
Whether you’re recording client calls for compliance or co-worker calls for productivity, here’s what to look for in a call recording tool:
- A web-based tool that stores recordings in the cloud
- Recordings linked to your call records, so they are easy to find
- Simple sharing so clients and co-workers can listen
- Easy controls so you can record all your calls, or just one
Push record in your business
Your business can legally record calls in many situations. Know your local laws and those of states you’re calling into to avoid potential problems. When in doubt, ask for consent to record.
BellesLink has built-in tools to make recording phone calls easy. If you’re looking for a better call recording solution, take a look at BellesLink.