DISCLAIMER: We are as far from being lawyers as possible. The information provided on sales call recording laws is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult your legal counsel if you need specific guidance.
One-Party vs. Two-Party Consent
Uncle Ben told Peter Parker in Spider-Man: "With deep call recording insight, comes great responsibility."
...or something along those lines.
We are in the heyday of data collection, and recording sales calls provides some of the most impactful customer data around: the voice of your customer.
However, with access to such valuable data, it’s important to understand the extent of your responsibility.
You want to avoid compliance issues, which can lead to the greater of two evils: lawsuits.
Business Call Recording Laws in the United States (By State):
Call recording (or wiretapping) laws in the United States are dictated on the state level; so there is some variation.
In the United States, when it comes to sales and business call recording laws and regulations, it's all about consent.
One-Party Consent States
One-party means that you can record calls as long as one party has given permission.
In practice, this usually means that if you’re part of a call, you can record without letting the other person know.
Note: Not part of a call? (Think sales manager recording a reps calls with clients). You must gain consent from at least one side of the conversation.
Most states are one-party states. Here’s the list:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Two-Party Consent States
Two-party consent is often referred to as “all-party consent".
Which means that everyone involved in a phone call must give consent if someone wishes to record them.
14 states require two-party consent:
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.
Nevada actually has a one-party consent law, but Nevada’s Supreme Court has interpreted it as an all-party consent law. Classic lawyers.
For easy reference, we’ve provided a map that highlights the states which require two-party consent:
International Call Recording Laws
International business call recording laws and regulations vary widely.
Some countries don't have regulations, others might have specific regulations/laws around obtaining consent, and some countries do not allow recording conversations at all. If you have questions, consult a lawyer.
European call recording compliance used to be incredibly complicated, but with the advent of GDPR regulations, it’s actually pretty straightforward.
It also became much more strict to follow.
GDPR effectively replaced country-specific privacy laws in Europe. Under the new laws, consent must be freely given - specific, informed, and unambiguous - by every party involved in the call.
No exception. Get with the program.
A previously consenting party can also invoke their “right to be forgotten."
You will be held responsible to permanently delete the audio file of the recording.
Failure to be GDPR-compliant can result in fines up to 4% of your global revenue.
There are several laws in play here. Your safest best is to adhere to the two-party regulations.
Read more information in this article.
The laws for individuals in Canada are different from those for organizations, to the benefit of individuals and to the dismay of organizations.
Canada observes an "all-party consent" program.
For sales conversations to meet compliance in Canada, all parties must be informed that they are being recorded at the beginning of the call.
This can be in the form of an automated message, and implied consent is typically considered adequate.
Perhaps more important to note in Canada is that the purpose of the call must be clearly and accurately stated - emphasis on the “accurately.”
Example: If the call is for sales insight purposes, you're not allowed to say the conversation is recorded for training or quality assurance.
For more details on Canada’s approach, check out this article on Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines for Recording Customer Calls.
There are different interpretations of the laws in China about call recording.
Some believe that recording calls is not a criminal offense. Others argue that failing to obtain consent before recording is a violation of China’s privacy act.
How you operate in China is between the organization and the government.
There might be less litigation in India than there is in China regarding telephone conversation recording.
The accepted notion is that one party‘s consent is all that’s necessary to maintain compliance as an organization when recording calls in India.
Read more in this article.
In South Africa, you may record a conversation without consent if:
- You're a party in the conversation (which is technically one-party)
- You have the prior written consent of at least one party in the conversation.
- The conversation relates to the “carrying on“ of your business.
Not too shabby.
In Australia, it is against the law to record calls without consent from all parties involved.
For multi-state calls, the party recording the conversation is subject to the laws of the state they were in during the call.
This is different from many countries, who tend to have super confusing laws about multi-state recording.
For more details on Australia’s call monitoring, check this article on surveillance and monitoring guidelines from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
You're legally entitled to record the people you are speaking to on the phone without telling them.
What you can’t do is record conversations that you're not a part of.
This can be tricky in organizations, as sometimes managers are the ones recording calls from the sidelines.
Make sure the person on the call is the one doing the recording.
You must also have a good reason to record your calls.
What constitutes a good reason? That’s up to the courts to decide.
Just don’t do anything sketchy and you should be fine - sales calls, as an example, are definitely okay here.
An organization must obtain consent to record a person if they will be soliciting information that could uniquely identify them.
For example, their full name, phone number, or address.
This consent must be expressly given.
Otherwise, if the information provided is generally available to the public, there are no requirements to gain consent before recording.
Infringement of privacy is not enforceable in Singapore courts, but breaches of confidence and confidential information are tough to overcome.
Although certain countries have been listed above, it, by no means, is a complete list.
Before placing a recorded call to a new country, we recommend you & your organization's legal team have an understanding of the regulations in place there.
What Counts as Consent?
In most states, you’ve received consent from a party if they are notified that a conversation will be recorded and engage with the call in any way.
In these cases, their consent is implied.
We’ve all heard the phrase: “This call may be recorded for quality assurance or training purposes.”
Statements like these might seem trite and unnecessary for organizations, but their importance cannot be understated.
In 2016, Wells Fargo was forced to pay $8.5 million in a class-action lawsuit for failing to tell consumers they were being recorded. Woof.
When It Gets Tricky
In certain situations, such as questions of legality for multi-state calling/international calling, the correct answer isn’t always simple.
In cases like these, the best policy is better to be safe than sorry.
It’s easy to ask. An example would be:
“Is it okay if we record this call?” or "Hey Taylor here, calling on a recorded line, how are you?"
The worst they could say is “no”.
How Pickle Helps You Stay Compliant
Pickle has built a powerful native Zoom integration.
Zoom records the calls, we pull in the recordings into the platform to transcribe and provide insights.
Currently, you must be the host of the call to pull the recording into Pickle.
Enable Zoom Recording Notification:
To ensure a two-party compliance policy, you can enable Zoom to inform everyone prior joining the call that it will be recorded.
To do this:
1. Go to Zoom's website and login to your account.
2. Navigate to "Settings" and then over to "Recording".
3. Scroll down to the "Recording disclaimer" section and enable the consent notification option.
4. Any participants joining your call will see the following notification and opt-in to being recorded.
Redact Sensitive Information
Your calls may contain sensitive/personal information (think: credit card or social security numbers).
Pickle's solution can automatically redact any mention of sensitive information from the recording and transcript.
Here at Pickle, we know how valuable the voice of your customer is to your business.
The best way to capture these insights is through call recordings; which can be messy if regulations and notifications aren't in place.
We provide easy-to-use features to help you sleep at night knowing compliance is met and imprisonment is avoided.
To learn more information, hit us up!