"This call may be recorded for quality insurance purposes" - Can I record too?

“This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” – you often hear that phrase at the beginning of customer/tech support type calls. Obviously this is to meet the requirements of two-party-notification recording states. If the business issues this disclaimer, does that give me the right to record the call too without further notification?

Check your local laws. It may be they offer the disclaimer so they can record the call, but you may be required to announce your own disclaimer if you wish to record the same call.

Friendly Amendment Question - What if you called a place and they said, “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes …,” and you then replied to the live human, "“i invoke my right this call not be recorded.”

Then what happens?

They either turn off the recording (I’m assuming most tech support drones don’t have this capability) or say “I’m sorry, sir/ma’am, but I can’t do that,” and let the caller either agree or hang up.

In Colorado at least, only one party has to be aware the call is being recorded. Which is to say, you aren’t allowed to eavesdrop and record, but anything else is fine and admissible in court.

This isn’t a Constitutional issue unless maybe you’re talking to a government agency. But if you asked them not to record it, there’s an option other than turning it off or saying they can’t turn it off: they could tell you they’re not recording the call and go ahead and record it anyway, since it’s not like you’re ever going to hear it.

I guess the question is - if it says “this call will be recorded” not “we will be recording this call” then is that sufficient notice? Or do you have to specifically warn the other party, the human who shows up 30 minutes later? Obviously the other side does not hoave to warn their people… Presumably they’ve already warned the employees the call is recorded when they are hired on. Is that sufficient?

If that’s the exact phrase they’re using (“This call may be recorded”) then yes; they have explicitly given you permission.

Most of 'em don’t use the word “may” for that reason. It can be reasonably construed as permission.

They don’t? On all the ones I can remember, I’ve heard the phrasing the OP used: “this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.”

Same in Wisconsin, only one party has to be aware, however, I don’t know what happens if the call crosses state lines.

But I think what Fang is asking is, does the call center’s disclaimer give either party the right to record the call?
IOW, let’s say I’m in a state where both people must be aware that the call is being recorded. If my friend calls me and says “Hey, I’m recording this call” can I also record it, or do I need to make the same disclaimer?

No. It does not give you any right to record the call.

The specifics depend on your your state. In some states you can freely record your own calls without notifying the other person. In others you must first notify the other person. The fact that the rep said he was recording is irrelevant to your ability to record. If you are in an ask-first state, you would need to ask the rep if it was okay to record the call.

This site lists the various state and federal laws. It appears 12 states require both parties consent and 38 states say only one party must

It lists references to back up it’s claims, but I haven’t had a chance to look up the reference links

You have to follow the laws of the state you’re in; you don’t have to concern yourself with the laws regarding recording telephone calls in the state the person on the other end of the line is in.

What filmore said.

When my telephone company rings up to try sell me on a more expensive plan, I tell them first thing that I don’t want the call to be recorded. They never continue the call after that. I don’t know what would happen if I rang them for some reason, and didn’t want to be recorded.

What if, while a taped “This call may be recorded…” announcement is playing, I* simultaneously announce that I may also be recording the call. Only after their taped notification finishes (and after mine), someone comes on the line. I’ve notified them I’m recording the call, it’s not my fault they weren’t listening.

As a possible follow-up, if that’s not sufficient for me to be able to record the call, how come the business doing the recording doesn’t have to somehow verify that I heard their announcement?

  • In Michigan, a two-party notification state.

Well, in your scenario, you have no reason to believe that anyone heard your announcement. It is, however, reasonable to believe that you heard theirs.

IANAL…nor do I believe every legal tip I see on the web…but a few that may be of interest here.
According go this site that claims to be a law archive:

This site
claims that businesses have a different rule:

I can’t vouch for either page…but it seemed on topic for discussion, at leat. :wink:


I work in a call center. If you invoke your right not to be recorded we can still talk to you. But we have to go to a special phone to do it, and it is not something that has ever happened to me in the 2+ years I’ve been working at this place. I got trained briefly on the procedure but I don’t really remember it.

So you can definitely have your call be non-recorded. But you’re going to have to sit there for 10-15 minutes while a supervisor sets it all up. And you’ll need a callback number because we can’t transfer you to it, we have to call YOU. (I think)

So the fact that they always use clumsy wording that could be interpreted a different way is irrelevant?

First, that site does not claim to be a law archive. It appears to be a forum, much like this one, for “free advice”. It used to have a Family Law subforum, but it is no longer accepting questions, and the old questions are saved in the “Family Law Archive”. That particular answer doesn’t seem to be based upon anything–there is a reference to a Noddy guide, but that’s just like saying “Law For Dummies” I think

A better source would be The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press webpage. Their Reading Roomhas a link to an article Can We Tape, that is a basic overview. It also has a link to another article, Interstate phone calls, that addresses that issue. It says that Federal law (One party permission) applies when the parties are in different states, but it is unsettled whether it pre-empts a more restrictive state law. They urge to err on the side of caution, but give enough examples that it is clear that nothing is clear.

You’d think it’d be enough to follow your own state law when making a call, but of course California does not agree. :slight_smile:

The other states requiring all parties consent are Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Pretty much the same here. Our statement is that ‘the call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance’. If someone is doing live monitoring (our supervisors do now and then, and we can’t tell at our end if they are or not), they are supposed to get off the line if the party objects to that; if the party also objects to recording, then we arrange for them to be called back on a non-recorded line. They won’t be called back the same day unless there is something very urgent going on. We’re an outbound call center with a dialer, so the non-record calls go into a special campaign that someone using a non-recorded line cube logs into once or twice a day and works.

Only rarely have I had someone object to recording. The people we call are people we call regularly for health management purposes, they know we’ll be calling, they request or agree to our calls in advance, and most people expect it. Our recordings are only kept six weeks and aren’t used for anything but monthly performance review. We may have no more than ten or so non-recorded calls to make a day - versus thousands that are.