The ability to record your phone conversations can provide you with several advantages:
- The phone conversation could assist you in providing information for legal matters (Court, police, etc.). Please refer to the Blog: Phone Recording Legality.
- If the caller provides technical information (A doctor, lab tech., lawyer, etc.) that should be saved and will probably be referred to at a later date.
- The caller provides you information such as street directions, phone numbers, etc. that you might refer to in the future.
- Many recording devices provide you with not only the recorded information but with time, date, duration, etc. These devices usually make it very convenient when you need to find a conversation in the future.
- Many verbal agreements take place on the phone and therefore a recording can provide a binding contract.
- Many times parents must reluctantly utilize recorded phone conversation to protect their children. The legality of this is debatable but deemed necessary by parents sometimes.
- Backup and proof of phone order entry for a business.
- If you use your phone answering machine when you’re not available then your phone recorder will also capture the call which would provide you with a long term archive and the ability to listen to the messages in a more convenient manner.
- Phone recordings can be referred to in situations in which it is important for the parties at a later date to establish what was really said: “I borrowed from you ???”, “I borrowed your car and ???”, “I am responsible for ???”, “It was an accident but ???”, etc.
- The elderly and people with memory loss can utilize phone recordings to refresh their memory if needed.
- The recording of all calls provides a log that might need to be referred to such as when the phone bill arrives with calls that are to those 866 numbers or wanting to know who made that 2 hour call to Paris.
Everyone, prior to using a phone recording device, should be aware of the laws that govern it. I will first separate the discussion into Personal and Business.
Personal Phone Calls
All personal phone calls can be recorded if given the proper consent. Consent is defined to be either One-Party or All-Party depending on the state(s) the participants are calling from. A One-Party state allows any participant to record the phone conversation without consent of any other participants of the conversation. An All-Party state demands that all participants of the call give permission prior to recording. The states that comprise the All-Party consent are:
California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.
If more than one state is involved in the phone conversation and one of those states is an All-Party then all participants of the conversation must abide by that type of consent (All must consent to be able to record).
Business Phone Calls
If business phone recording is accomplished by complying with the laws for personal phone calls (Observing One and All-Party consent laws) you would be compliant with federal laws. It is acceptable for a business to simply announce at the beginning of the conversation that recording could take place and it is assumed that if the listener continues into the phone conversation that he/she gives consent.
Federal laws for recording phone conversations will not be violated if individuals follow the One and All-Party state consent laws outlined above.
Our views should be regarded as our best effort to research the basics of phone recording legality but before you put yourself in a position to be tested for compliance of these laws please take the time to study your state and federal recording laws in detail.