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call center recording law

Recording Calls at a Call Center: UK, US and Canadian Law Guide

December 17th, 2015

Recording calls is a common practice with call centers. Call recording is a useful way to track cases and evaluate calls for quality assurance purposes. However, recording calls must be done with care in order to remain in compliance with local laws. The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada all have different laws that must be followed if you opt to do business with customers in these countries. Here is a brief overview of these recording phone calls laws so that you can make sure that your business stays in compliance.

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How Does Call Recording Work?

Call recording involves the use of a device to record the content of a phone call. The recorded call that is transmitted using call center software is then made into a file. These files are stored on servers within the call center or via a third-party database. Call recording may include only a portion of the call or last for the entire duration of the call.

In most cases, call centers record calls so that they can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of call center agents at resolving customer concerns or even for training purposes. Calls may also be recorded in order to create a database of business transactions. However, to record calls legally, call centers must remain in compliance with local laws and obtain consent as required by the law. In some areas, consent may be provided via an automated message during the call.

Call Recording Laws in the United States

If your company does business in the United States, your business will be governed by both federal and state laws. Federal law requires that at least one part that takes part in the recording of the call be notified per 18 U.S.C. §2511(2)(d).

You will also find that the laws can vary depending on the state in which your business is located. In the United States, 38 out of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia permit one-party consent recording, which is the recording of telephone conversations without requiring that the other party be informed of the recording on the call. The other 12 states require two-party consent, which is that the other party provide consent in order to permit the business to record the call. These states are:

California
Connecticut
Florida
Hawaii (only if the recording device is in a secret location)
Illinois
Maryland
Massachusetts
Montana (requires notification only)
Nevada
New Hampshire
Pennsylvania
Washington

The Digital Media Law Project provides an in-depth guide to recording laws for each state in the US. However, it is important that your legal team review the content of the specific legal statutes that may apply to your business to ensure that your business is in compliance with state laws.

Call Recording Laws in the United Kingdom

There are several telephone recording laws in the UK that businesses in the United Kingdom must comply with in order to record calls from customers. These items include:

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000)
Data Protection Act 1998
The Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999
Human Rights Act 1998

Generally, businesses are permitted to record calls without notifying the other party as long as the recording is for the business's own use. However, in cases where the phone conversation is made available to a third-party, recording is not permitted without notification. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, unlawful recording or monitoring communications can be subject to civil action.

For businesses in the financial industry, the recording of phone transactions is mandatory per the March 2009 Financial Services Authority policy statement Financial Services Authority Telephone Recording: recording of voice conversations and electronic communications. Regulated firms financial firms must maintain records in regard to client orders and transactions for the bond, equity, and derivative markets.

Call Recording Laws in Canada

As with these other countries, Canada also has its own set of call recording law regulations known as Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (S.C. 2000, c. 5). This Act requires that businesses inform the customer that the conversation is being recorded at the start of the call. The customer must also be advised of the purpose for the recording and the reason given must be the actual reason for the recording. If the customer decides that he or she does not want to be recorded, the business must provide an alternative, such as not taping the call or offering another method for conducting the transaction that does not involve a recorded phone conversation.

Call Recording Law Compliance for Business

Compliance is extremely important if you want to avoid the risk of having action by regulatory agencies taken against your call center. Lawsuits from consumers can also cause significant damage to your business. If your call center records calls, you need to do everything possible to make sure that your business stays in compliance with business call recording laws.

Staying in compliance with call recording laws isn’t a one time task. In fact, these rules are very complex and are continuously changing. The best solution for making sure that your call center is in compliance with these laws is to seek out experienced legal advice on these issues and regularly consult your legal team regarding updates to these regulations.

Disclaimer

While CallTools.com has taken every reasonable measure to ensure that the provided information above is accurate and up-to-date, CallTools.com does not guarantee that this blog post contains the latest or complete information on this topic. CallTools.com does not accept responsibility for any damage, loss or legal action that results in the event that your organization opts to abide by the information provided via this blog post.