How To Never Ever Get In Trouble For Recording Calls With Customer Service

Now you can record your phone call without peeing your pants about whether it’s legal to do so in your state, or worrying that the rep will end the call right after you inform them you’re recording. Ron Burley starts every customer service interaction with getting the rep’s name, employee number, direct line, and call center location. Then he follows up with this

Me: Boy, I sound just like you guys. [Chuckle. Then state clearly:] This call may be recorded for training purposes. [Little laugh.] Maybe you could put in a good word for me?
Representative: [Laughs] Sure.
Me: [Laugh] Thanks. Anyway, here’s what’s going on with me today…

…He’s been informed, and therefore I am within my rights to record the conversation. It’s not my problem that the customer service representative might not have taken my statement seriously.”

It’s easy to get started recording customer service calls using your computer and free or low-cost software, learn how here.

Comments

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  1. 2Legit2Quit says:

    im in the NJ so im fully within my rights to record my phone

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Recent case law doesn’t support your statement. the most restrictive state law applies, so if the call center you are talking to is in Florida, California, etc you could have a problem. You would think the law of your state would apply to you and federal law for the interstate calls, but a major brokerage lost their case in California as a result. It did hinge on them knowing where the other caller was via caller id, and since you are dialing an 800 number it could be argued that the other states laws don’t apply, but precedent setting cases will never be cheap.

  2. Beerad says:

    “It’s not my problem that the customer service representative might not have taken my statement seriously.”

    Uh, I’m not so sure about that. If I lived in a jurisdiction that frowned on recording calls without two-party consent (which I don’t) I wouldn’t like to have to explain to the judge why my actions weren’t intended to trick or deceive the other party into giving consent (which, in most places, means the consent isn’t valid).

    • JoshReflek says:

      @Beerad: When the company you call has declared their intent to record, they have also given consent to have the call recorded by either party.

      It’s never a one way statment.

  3. enm4r says:

    1) Only necessary in states that require the consent of both parties.

    2) Why not just say you’re recording the call? Are you really recording this for training? Why make it up, just say you’re recording it and move on.

    I am also curious, is there any way that a company could restrict whether or not these lowly client facing employees are authorized to give consent to call recording?

  4. Ohm2k says:

    Are you not covered when their recording plays telling you that the call may be monitored or recorded? I would assume that street runs both ways? When their recording plays both parties are notified (the call center rep is informed of this upon being hired)and you can start your recording.

  5. thepounder says:

    Seems to me that technique would work at least most of the time. You have to get it out there right away, before the CSR gets their bearing.

    Besides on-the-cheap software to do such things, I recently bought a nice & very tiny digital recorder from Amazon (Olympus WS-300M 256 MB Digital Voice Recorder), as well as one of those in-ear mics that’s used for recording phone conversations. I mostly bought mine for use in recording song ideas and lyrics that come to me while I’m driving or whatever, but it’d be super handy for use on CSR’s when needed.

  6. bambino says:

    This is fucking ridiculous. Lying to a CSR & then possibly having to explain yourself later in court? Talk about low.

  7. jak312 says:

    I’ve always state “this call may be recorded” as soon as something– ANYTHING– answers the phone on their side. If they can have a computer legally state this to me, without any knowledge or understanding that there is a human being on the other side actually listening, I figure I can put it right back at them.

    As for their assumption that if I placed the call I must be listening, all I have to say is “call center auto-dialers.”

  8. nctrnlboy says:

    @enm4r:

    “why not say that you are recoding the call?”

    ….Because they wont let you continue the call if they know they are being recorded. Its often company policy not NOT consent to being recorded by a customer calling in. Its just another way to keep the customer at a disadvantage by a company.

  9. jak312 says:

    @enm4r: 2) Why not just say you’re recording the call? … just say you’re recording it and move on.

    Because nearly all CSRs have very strict instructions to immediately terminate the call if the caller indicates their are recording. It is one more way to make sure the business holds all the cards.

  10. Nick says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the call center tells the customer that the call may be recorded, doesn’t that also give the customer the right to record the call? The CSR is aware that the call is being recorded, and the customer is aware, so does it really matter who is doing the recording?

  11. Cowboys_fan says:

    I’ve always wondered why one can’t argue that the recording saying “this call may be recorded…” is in itself granting permission to record. I’m baffled by how they can record but I cannot.
    I’m not sure on the post b/c if you say it may be recorded for training, then could you not only legally use it for training? A better idea could be to record their message, then play it back as soon as they pick up, and the csr may think there is a system issue and not pay any attention at all.

  12. eternaluxe says:

    Most customer service calls begin with “This call may be recorded for traning etc…”
    I’ve always taken this to mean that _I_ may record the call as well.

  13. Wormfather says:

    @schwnj: Damn, that’s nice. I’m pretty sure that argument would hold up in court as well.

    I mean, I’m not a lawyer or anything, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  14. enm4r says:

    @jak312: @nctrnlboy: I’ve only done it a few times, and by no means feel I have the method down, but the few times I’ve just interrupted their intro paragraph with an audible “this call is being record” and then immediately start with “Hi __________” and continue with my problem there has never been a second guess.

    I just suspect that something like this wouldn’t hold up if you’re just using it as a ploy. If yuo want to trick them or say it fast before they really are mentally prepared then do so, but lying to them seems a sure way to invalidate the recording.

  15. enm4r says:

    Also, thinking about state laws, how does this work with call centers that use a toll free number?

    We can’t really be sure of location, or even if the location is US based. Always safest to have both parties consent, but in reality, how would that play out with interstate regulations guiding the matter?

  16. Crazytree says:

    I’m not sure this would pass muster in the unlikely event that you are held accountable for making the recording.

    Most wiretapping statutes have language to the effect that both parties “must be aware of the recording and consent”.

    With this technique, I am not sure that the other party either: 1. actually knows you’re recording; and 2. consents to the recording.

    To the person who asked “Why don’t you just tell them you’re recording?”, the answer is simple, with this technique they really DON’T know you’re recording, they think you’re telling a joke.

  17. timmus says:

    I’m sure the FBi and the police have better things to do than throw consumers in prison for recording a phone call. Good grief. Just record the damn call.

  18. Buran says:

    @Cowboys_fan: I’d do the same. If any attorney tried to argue, I’d just say “Your system said that the call may be recorded, so you told me that it was okay. I would have deleted the recording if I hadn’t gotten that permission.”

    “Can I do this?”

    “Yes, you may.”

  19. @schwnj: I want to say there is a Consumerist post stating that what you say is true but I’m too lazy to look for it.

  20. Pancakes?? FRENCH TOAST!! says:

    @enm4r: Some states (eg Nevada) only require consent on the part of ONE party on the phone. So it doesn’t matter where the other side is if you are in Nevada (or whichever other states have this law).

    So just call the centers while on your Vegas vacation.

  21. enm4r says:

    @Crazytree: Obviously they don’t know, which is why I doubt it’d be accepted as consent. Seems to me this is a worthless practice and you’re no closer to consent than if you just recorded the call and said nothing. Hence if you want consent, you’re goign to have to inform them. Sure it might be stacked against you, but I’m sure there are easier ways to trick them to consent without blatantly lying.

  22. keeblerelf says:

    If they are calling you, go ahead and tell them it’s being recorded and record it.

    But if you really want something done and you want a record of it, write a letter. You can say so much more in a letter. Also, if you are truly paranoid (and want some serious attention paid to your concerns) send it certified, return receipt requested.

    For all the people who think they are fine because their state’s law allows recording of calls with single-party consent, that flies out the window as soon as your call crosses state lines. In fact, the telephone is an “instrument of interstate commerce,” so it might not even matter whether your call crosses state lines. Federal law is supreme where interstate commerce is concerned, and I am pretty sure that federal law requires consent of both parties (but I might be wrong).

  23. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Just make sure your phone service is with AT&T/SBC. They’ll record your calls anyway.

  24. ThyGuy says:

    I always let my customers record sales rep conversations or advertising development conversations. We’ve weeded out a few bad apples in our company and it’s thanks to the customers. My company doesn’t offer refunds, so we kiss customer ass, big time. If a customer asked that I barked like a dog, I’d say, “Which breed would would you like?”

  25. joemono says:

    State-by-state summaries of wiretapping and eavesdropping laws: [www.rcfp.org]

  26. Lyrai says:

    While I don’t exactly do customer service, I do work at a call center (I do 411 info for one of the major telecoms) We are told – and frankly, I fully agree – that if someone says they’re recording the call, even as a joke, we refuse to continue the call and hang up. We don’t record calls at all, namely due to the fact that we take over 8000 calls a day. So this wouldn’t fly at all with us.

  27. olegna says:

    I record them without telling them. I don’t care what the laws say: they’re CSR and I’ve been told BS from CSR people in the past. The last thing I’m gonna do after being on hold for 10 minutes to get to a human being is risk being hung-up on the second I say I’m recording the conversation. They record mine, and the disclaimer doesn’t mean shit: if you refuse to be recorded all you can do is hang up, which is essentially saying “we’re recording this conversation, or you can f**k off.” That’s hardly a choice.

  28. dognose says:

    In my state, PA, it says that all parties must consent. Is informing them enough to pass consent? I guess that works in reverse too, I don’t normally consent to the recording of calls.

  29. JRuiz47 says:

    For Texans, as long as one party being recorded is aware of the recording (you), it’s legal to record any conversation.

    BTW, if you use a Treo, might I recommend CallRec.

  30. royco says:

    Couldn’t you also just say ‘This call is being recorded?’ in a questioning tone rather than a statement-esque tone?

    Not sure if that would do it, but it seems like it would…

  31. royco says:

    Speaking of which, I sure wish I’d had the forethought to record my previous experience with Lenovo when trying to return a thinkpad. Lenovo lied to me, and I would LOVE to have had that on tape.

    ([www.ripoffreport.com])

  32. Indecision says:

    The courts generally don’t take kindly to such trickery. The Consumerist really shouldn’t be giving legal advice to people, especially bad legal advice. If I take your advice and get in trouble, The Consumerist and Gawker Media could end up in legal heat of their own, when I sue them for giving bad advice.

    It’s great to fight back against bad corporations, but don’t stoop to their level (or below).

  33. thepounder says:

    @JRuiz47: That’s one of the things I like about Texas. That, and I can shoot my shotguns in my back yard if I feel like it… but that’s a whole different conversation. ;)

  34. kuntaldaftary says:

    i, as well, have agonized over this issue and here are some thoughts that i have had in the past regarding this. would love to hear what the fellow readers at consumerist think about them:

    1. if the call is recorded for training purposes, can it be used for any other purposes such as against the consumer in a judicial proceeding ?

    2. if yes, conversely cannot the consumer use the same recording that the company made to their advantage in a judicial proceeding – by subpoena-ing that call recording from the company ?

    3. those state/federal regulations that “dont allow unconsented recordings” – what are the extent of limits of use of such recordings ? Are they simply disallowed in a court of law or are they illegal for ANY use, period ? I mean, if disallowed in court of law, there is still the court of public, where they can be used – such as blogs, internet, consumerist.com – with potentially more devastating effects for the corporation. we have seen other recordings in the past such as “verizon math” appear on the internet which were probably unconsented.

    4. how about journalistic protections to such unconsented recordings ? we do see consumer oriented tv shows and tv programs where the journalist uses footage of video recording or audio phone call recording in the program – which also seems highly unlikely to have been consented.

    5. finally, i am not confident that the method shown here also is going to work. a judge, after hearing the recording, is likely to rule that the consumer’s statement is indeed jestful, hence the recording was obtained in bad faith, and hence illegal/unallowable.

  35. esqdork says:

    Let me pig pile on this with everyone else who thinks this is a bad idea. Being coy with something like recording of conversations is not a good idea. Aside from the trouble that you may, or may not get into, any competent lawyer can get a tape procured under these circumstances excluded from the evidence. Also, if I were representing one of these call centers, I would drop a dime on the taper with the relevant state attorney general and district attorney’s office.

  36. chrishad95 says:

    For all the folks that keep saying, “I am in state _______, that says only one party has to know, so I am good.” I am pretty sure that you have to consider the laws/states of both parties. I seem to remember that if you’re calling a 2-party state then it doesn’t matter where you’re calling from, although I guess they can only prosecute you in the other state.

  37. Smoking Pope says:

    Has anyone tried opting out of a recording? For instance, you get the old “This call may be recorded for quality control purposes” and follow it up with…

    You: “Excuse me, what state are you calling from?”

    Rep: “Illinois”

    You: “Ok, in that case, I am not giving consent for you to tape this call, which you need to proceed any further. Please turn off the recording device, and when you’re done you can tell me what you want.”

    I mean, if they’re calling you, you’d think that they’d be forced to stop taping. I’d be curious to know what happens.

  38. Nekoincardine says:

    All I know is that if “one party consents” in Alaska, the call may be recorded; as in, if I know I’m being recorded by them, I’m pretty sure I can, myself, record in response.

    In a ‘court-of-law’ case, you can probably just subpoena their recording; I would not consider using my recording for such purposes, but rather for raising press hell, something most corporations fear far more.

  39. Ickypoopy says:

    @Ohm2k:
    I was wondering that myself. It usually says something along the lines of “this call may be recorded for quality assurance or training pruposes.” So as long as I am recording it to assure that I receive quality customer service, havent I received their OK to do so?

  40. Smoking Pope says:

    Also…

    ” The federal law makes it unlawful to record telephone conversations except in one party consent cases which permit one party consent recording by state law.”

    I take that to mean that if I tape a call (from Arizona, a 1 party consent state) between me and some company in Illinois (a 2 party consent state), then Federal law takes precedent, and I am in the clear.

  41. MeOhMy says:

    The common policy that an employee hang up if you notify them that you are recording is absurd. It’s a tacit admission of guilt. They are basically saying “We know that our CSRs may be full of crap and we want don’t want you to be able to prove it.”

    Seems to me that letting people record these calls would help keep people honest on both ends. No more CSR saying “I’ll do this for you” and then denying it later. No more customer saying “The person I talked to before said they would do this for me.”

    Trying to scam permission like this is not likely to get you too far. It’s also a little bit counter-Consumerist – Consumerist takes businesses to task for trying to sneak things past people. The standards should be the same wherever possible.

    I have read elsewhere that for people in 2-party consent states, if you record the “This call may be monitored…” message, you may be in the clear since the message indicates their consent and your staying on the line indicates your own.

  42. gibsonic says:

    here is a good resource for the legality, state-by-state, for recording.

    [www.rcfp.org]

  43. @Lyrai: I’d be surprised if anyone wanted to record 411 info though.

  44. baldingnerd says:

    okay – so we’ve established recording the call and using it is probably not a good legal idea -

    but what if you record the call (not informing anyone) then make a typewritten transcription of that call – would be legal.. ? since you are really transcribing an actual event. If there is any dispute in the transcript you could subpoena the company’s “training tapes”

  45. MaxWells says:

    Just found sound recording software that can be used for phone call recording and monitoring, radio broadcasts logging, spying, employee monitoring and so on. It’s Sound Snooper.

  46. DirectAnon says:

    @ NCTRNLBOY

    ….Because they wont let you continue the call if they know they are being recorded. Its often company policy not NOT consent to being recorded by a customer calling in. Its just another way to keep the customer at a disadvantage by a company

    That’s not always true, I worked for DirecTV and it’s company policy to continue the conversation when they ask us if they can record the call. “We have nothing to hide in our procedures, just continue normally”.

  47. Radio_Radio says:

    Geez, how many CSR calls end up in the legal system? This sure sounds like much ado about nothing.

  48. brokejumper says:

    Instead of talking in general terms about this why don’t we look at a specific case from say… my state!

    Here is the relevant WA state code:

    Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030: All parties generally must consent to the interception or recording of any private communication, whether conducted by telephone, telegraph, radio or face-to-face, to comply with state law. The all-party consent requirement can be satisfied if “one party has announced to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted.” In addition, if the conversation is to be recorded, the requisite announcement must be recorded as well.

    Now, if I am reading this right (cue lawyers stage left) it means that since the automated CSR will have “announced to all other parties” that the call is recorded.

    Am I missing something here?

    It is probably worthwhile to check your own state laws but if other laws are similar than maybe this is not such an issue for everyone.

  49. Mocheeze says:

    [www.rcfp.org] – State by state laws.

    [www.callcorder.com] – More info. Federal stuff too.

  50. Onouris says:

    One of the many, many reasons to have one law for one country.

    Why oh why would anyone do any different.

  51. Alcadema says:

    Man, it almost sounds like some of you WANT customers and CSRs to be mortal enemies…

    I’m a CSR for a high-end furniture company, and I have been recorded by customers in the past. I’m not thrilled about that fact, but I also have nothing to hide; I’ll stand behind every word I’ve ever said to a customer. With that said, if you record me and I find out, you can bet I’ll note it for the next CSR who talks to you, as well as my supervisors.

    And while I can’t speak for any other companies, the one I work for records EVERY call in every department. It keeps us honest, and it helps keep our customers honest (I see several fraudulent orders a day). But personally, I don’t care, record me if you like.

  52. StevieD says:

    For training and security purposes all telephone calls may be monitored or recorded.

    That is what my answering machine at home says. Doesn’t stop telewhores from leaving messages.

  53. guardianfox says:

    When the machine tells you the call may be recorded, you are being given a choice of staying on the line and consenting to being recorded or hanging up and going away silently.

    In Canada, as far as I have been told, you do have to obtain consent from the other party in order to record. Trickery or assuming the machine gave you permission probably won’t hold up in court as permission. Some of the government lines actually require a verbal “yes” to be recorded (how do they get permission to record the yes/no answer?).

    I’d personally like to see a law that says they can’t refuse to do business if you don’t want to be recorded… but that’s another story.

    If you are attempting to record evidence to be used in court, or if you suspect that they’re attempting to do the same… then my suggestion is to consult with a police officer or a lawyer.

    Anecdote: Let’s just say I was sitting in a courtroom once and saw a very solid piece of evidence dismissed on the grounds that the collector of said evidence didn’t have permission from the defendant or a warrant. The case was still won, but it cost someone hefty fines and the trial was extended CONSIDERABLY by the setback.

  54. zolielo says:

    @Troy F.:

    The common policy that an employee hang up if you notify them that you are recording is absurd. It’s a tacit admission of guilt. They are basically saying “We know that our CSRs may be full of crap and we want don’t want you to be able to prove it.”

    I am not a CSR and on the rare occurrence that someone does call and either wants the call to be recorded or on the record, I ask them to please state their concerns in written form. Legally that is often the best move…

    All calls, emails, and mail are logged and archived however it is to keep me honest… I am not a traitor but still do not love that is the case…

  55. DanGarion says:

    Sounds to me like if you were to trick someone in this manner, you might be guilt of wire fraud, since your demeanor is that you are joking about recording the call.

    It takes a real class act to be an ass that would stoop this low… IMO.

  56. just_a_bum says:

    1. If companies are giving us a choice of consenting to a recording then receiving assistance then they should also give us the choice of refusing and still receive their assistance. That’s the foremost reason that we call them anyway – to get their assistance. It shouldn’t be a choice between consent or hang-up.
    2. Question – if i consent to their recording, can i request a copy of that record? Shouldn’t we be entitled to that recording being that we contributed to it?

  57. Lyrai says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    You’d be suprised at the people who call in demanding to be sent a recording of their call.

    I’m serious.

  58. Trojan69 says:

    I will usually respond, “So, you are telling me that it is OK that WE are being recorded?” The response is always, “Yes.”

    Permission thus granted.

  59. mattbrown says:

    Laws differ by state. Most states allow recordings to be used in court as long as “one-party” (you) know you’re being recorded:

    [www.rcfp.org]

  60. alk509 says:

    Man, that is some seriously bad advice for several reasons:

    - First of all, just randomly saying the words “this call may be recorded for training purposes” is not enough to establish consent. Saying the phrase incomprehensibly fast, or in an extremely low whisper doesn’t count either: the recording needs to show that the CSR is in a position to understand what s/he is consenting to.

    - Second, even if tricking the CSR was acceptable, you’re going to have a hell of a lot of trouble explaining to the judge what training purposes you were talking about…

    - Third, you can’t record ANY PART OF THE CONVERSATION until consent has been given, so the whole first part of the call, where you set up the scam by asking a bunch of questions to the CSR is off limits and can’t be recorded.

    I’ve been recording customer service calls for a few months now, always expicitly saying “I am recording this call, is that OK with you?” as soon as they pick up the phone, and I have yet to find a company that wouldn’t consent. Granted, I’m not calling hundreds of call centers, and I’m sure there are a few out there who will hang up on you, but honesty seems to be the best policy. If they do hang up on you your best bet is probably to call back a few times until you get a CS who will let you record him/her.

  61. alk509 says:

    @mattbrown: The problem arises when any of the two parties isn’t in a one-party consent state. For example, let’s say I’m in MA and you’re in NJ. If you give me a call and record it without telling me, you’re OK in NJ, but you still committed a crime in MA under our two-party-consent laws.

    From the website you posted: “For example, a reporter located in the District of Columbia who records a telephone conversation without the consent of a party located in Maryland would not violate District of Columbia law, but could be liable under Maryland law. A court located in the District of Columbia may apply Maryland law, depending on its “conflict of laws” rules. Therefore, an aggrieved party may choose to file suit in either jurisdiction, depending on which law is more favorable to the party s claim.”

  62. MeOhMy says:

    @zolielo:

    I am not a CSR and on the rare occurrence that someone does call and either wants the call to be recorded or on the record, I ask them to please state their concerns in written form. Legally that is often the best move…

    Sure, but in a customer-service situation you can’t pre-emptively send a letter expressing your concern that in a future conversation with a customer service rep, you may be abused, lied to, cheated, yelled at or otherwise screwed with…

  63. olegna says:

    EPIPHANY MOMENT:

    Since the CSR begins the call by iforming you the conversation may be recorded that means both parties know the phone conversation may be recorded, which fulfills all the requirements of the law, which therefore legally allows you to ALSO record the conversation.

    Just because you decide to record the conversation AS WELL doesn’t mean jack in the eyes of the law: both parties know the conversation is being recorded, PERIOD.
    as much power as they want you to think they do.

    So if some sleazebag corporate lawyer ever tried to crap on me with this hollow threats about not getting consent to record a CSR conversation, I would send them the recording of the disclaimer from the CSR-side informing both parties that the conversation might be recorded.

    Nothing in the law says that once both parties know a phone conversation is being recorded, only ONE side is actually allowed to record it.

    When the CSR inform you the phone conversation my be recorded, the only way you can not give consent to this is to hang up and not be given service. That’s not asking for consent. That’s giving you a choice to have your conversation recorded or hang up. But legally speaking this also gives you consent to record the conversation.

    Don’t listen to these creepy lawyer types hear trying to scare you:

    When you consent to this CSR disclaimer, this legally allows you to ALSO record the conversation, P.E.R.I.O.D.

  64. MikeWas says:

    “Now you can record your phone call without peeing your pants about whether it’s legal to do so in your state…”

    Not using this advice. Now, I’m not your lawyer, and I’m not giving you legal advice, but I (along with your common sense) can tell you that any consent obtained through tricks or fraud is invalid.

    Fortunately, most people live in states where one-party consent is sufficient. It is important to know whether your state is a one-party state or not (mine, Florida, is a two-party state) because people do get prosecuted for this kind of thing every once in a while. It’s usually a misdemeanor charge resulting in a small fine, but who needs that on their record?

    Also, an illegally recorded conversation may, in some states, be inadmissible as evidence in a courtroom, so if that’s your purpose, you’re SOL.

    Finally, if the call opens with a notice that the call “may be recorded for [training, quality control, intimidation, blackmail, or any other] purposes” then that party has consented to the call being recorded, period. Just make sure to get it in the recording if possible. (If not, write down the exact wording the best you can – maybe make a second call to get it exactly right.)

    Good luck, prospective phone call recorders. By the way, it’s usually easier to make a record in letter form. Judges love paper.

  65. SteveD1of1 says:

    It’s really a matter of semantics. Think about it.

    The announcement “This call may be recorded…” doesn’t always emphasize the word “may” in a manner that implies that the company/call center is the only party that has the right to record the call.

    So, it’s absolutely possible that a caller could interpret the “may” as the company/call center giving permission for the consumer to record the call as well.

    Say it with me with that thought in mind: “This call may be recorded …”

    It’s unassailable logic! The company can’t deny that those particular words are used in its recording. As far as the interpretation/meaning of the words goes, well, it’s all in the ears of the beholder.

    Because this has been a very recent revelation, I’ve only tried this out twice, albeit unsuccessfully.

    However, I escalated both calls up the food chain, and have been able to get each person to agree that my interpretation of implied permission is possible.

    An attorney friend of mine says that armed with sufficient documentation of those calls, I might have a good case in court, should the need arise.

    And, at the very least, I’m sending this documentation to the exceutive mucky-mucks, and as many government and media outlets as I can.

    While I still may not be able to record calls with CSRs, I might be able to get them to spend time and money to change their systems. To me, it’s worth the effort.

  66. SteveD1of1 says:

    Oops – in the last paragraph, I should have said “I might be able to get the companies to spend the time and money …”. Guess I should practice what I preach, eh what?

  67. olegna says:

    In other words: technically speaking the only way to decline consent is to hang up and not call customer service reps.

    Imagine if every time somebody called my house, and automated voice said the conversation might be recorded. How would to give consent if the recording is recording you denying consent and asking me to turn off the recording device?

    By the I’ve already broken the law, right?

    So the companies that have this disclaimer are, technically speaking, breaking the law in states that require consent to record phone conversations, because the only way to express your desire directly to a human being not to be recorded is to be recorded asking that person not to record the conversation, right? (Whereupon, of course, the CSR person will say “sorry, sir, I have no control over that. If you don’t want to be recorded, please hang up.” To which my reply would be: “You’re recording my conversation right now as I speak, as I am specifically requesting not to be recorded you are recording my conversation.”)

    So if were going to dwell on the intent of the law, it’s not US breaking the law; it’s THEM. This website is called Consumerist, not Corporatist.

  68. LibidinousSlut says:

    @CHRISHAD95- the laws of the state where the call is being recorded (i.e. in this case the customer) take precedence over the laws in the state (or country) in which the person is being recorded (i.e. the call center).

    If that wasn’t the case, then credit card interest rates would be a lot more varied (and reasonable). Credit card co’s can get away with charging what are in effect usury rates in most states because they’re incorporated out of Delaware, Nevada, and South Dakota, and the financial laws of those states take precedence over the laws in the state where the credit card owner lives.

  69. stopNgoBeau says:

    For one party consent states, as long as the actually recording is being done in the one party consent state, it is TOTALLY LEGAL. The state backs you up, as does federal statute.

  70. dregina says:

    a) This method is pretty low. Just say you’re recording the call if you’re recording it, no need for shenanigans.

    b) Not all call center employees have “employee numbers,” so if you try this and someone tells you they don’t have an employee number, accept it – don’t harrass them. Same thing if they won’t give you their last name – most call centers won’t allow their employees to give out last names for privacy reasons.

    c) Direct line! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Ron Burkle is LYING if he says he’s getting direct line phone numbers from call center staff.

    d) Call center location you should be able to get, with no hassle.

  71. girly says:

    I don’t like the ‘trickiness’ of laughing so they think you are joking and won’t actually record.

    Isn’t the whole reason you’d want to record a call because you are sick of people trying to trick or cheat you?

    I agree with the “tell them you are recording and move on” idea.

  72. whatwasithinking says:

    After reading all of these responses all I can say is thank God I live in Texas where we keep it simple…we can carry concealed weapons with a permit and record telephone conversations to protect ourselves.

  73. bonzombiekitty says:

    I would like to echo the others who say this route is decidedly NOT a good idea. The legality of this is questionable at best and shame on the Consumerist for posting something like this that can get its readers into serious trouble.

    Consult a lawyer before ever trying anything like this.

  74. Ratty says:

    Speaking as someone who works for one of the major cell phone companies as a CSR… if anyone did try and sneak on by that they were recording calls, your account would be flagged 5 ways from Sunday with notes reflecting this. And forevermore you’d be outright asked by us every call if you were recording–if so, we wouldn’t proceed with the call, and we’d ask you to stop recording or hang up.

    When it says a call is recorded for training purposes, they’re serious–you hear examples of good calls when you get trained, and bad calls. We don’t keep the hundreds of thousands of calls daily to every call centre saved. There’s just no way. We don’t keep them to later use against you, either–but if the call was recorded (not all of them are) and you were threatening harm against the person you spoke to, then we may review that and take some kind of action. but we don’t just keep a cache of all of your calls somewhere.

  75. I like 321calllog.com for many reasons, but one is that there’s a computer that cuts in right at the beginning of the call (and periodically throughout) and informs the CSR (or whoever) that the call is being recorded. Because it’s not me saying it, and CSRs are used to the computers being on their side of the operation, I’ve never had anyone break off a call because of it, and I don’t have to worry about whether or not to notify. Once a particularly belligerent lady said, “Was that just a computer?” and I answered, “I didn’t hear anything” (which is true; you don’t hear the computer on your end” — and that was that.

  76. AD8BC says:

    @kuntaldaftary: If a call is recorded “for training purposes” then the recording exists and is publicly known to exist, ergo, it becomes “discoverable”. At which point, if it is deleted before being subpoenaed then it is OK to have deleted it, but when one becomes aware of a case that might involve this recording and then deletes it, it would be considered spoilage…. (way off topic)

    I.E. if you create a legal contract document, and have a statement at the bottom that states that “This document may be used for training purposes only” it still may be used against you in court….

  77. wearelegion says:

    This call “may” be recorded. People think of the word “may” in this situation to mean “might” when actually since the word “may” is also an affirmation permission statement, you absolutely can record the call. As far as I know, even they judged that it means, might, if they are recording you, you have inferred permission to do the same.

  78. Unremarkable says:

    Service Rep: Hi, my name is …. How can I help you today?
    You: Hi. I’d just like to confirm that this call is being recorded?
    Service Rep: Yes it is.
    You: Alright.

    There you go. He acknowledged that the call is being recorded, implying his consent to have the conversation recorded (similar to how you consent to having the conversation recorded by being informed that the conversation is being recorded.)

  79. osofast says:

    Well just incase anyone from canada is reading this…you can probably sue if sony does not co-operate in such a situation citing the sale of goods act section 17-20.

  80. bobbobbobbobbob says:

    @Ratty:

    “We don’t keep the hundreds of thousands of calls daily to every call centre saved. There’s just no way. We don’t keep them to later use against you, either–”

    Tell that to the Bush Administration.

  81. batsy says:

    If a company won’t take my call because I say I’m recording it, how is a customer who doesn’t want to be recorded supposed to contact the company?

  82. psianide says:

    I’ve always wondered if the phrase “This call may be recorded for training purposes” was a statement that admits both sides can record the conversation.

    Have there been any cases where someone used that as a defense in any trial associated with taped call conversations.

    I live in Illinois, and the law seems ambiguous, it is a two party consent law but but case law says it’s a one party consent for private citizens, but in reading further it seems to pertain only to special circumstances, such as “enhanced note taking” and that doesn’t seem to apply to electronic recording devices.

    So two party consent is needed, but does that mean both parties have to state they are recording the call? or just one? Such as the business/customer service you are calling.
    Oh and it’s also illegal in Illinois to “monitor a cordless phone…..Wonder if that applies to Cell Phones, and maybe even Governor Blagojavich…Maybe his laywers will find a loophole even though a federal judge allowed the warranted wiretap. ope he signed off on Cordless phones.

    The nice thing is that knowing the law and the practices of call service centers because of sites like Consumerist, customers have a way of legal resource through lawful means.