What states can you record cold call phone conversations in?

Within the past decade, the process of recording calls has become an easier process and has allowed businesses to more easily document important phone meetings, conference calls, and sales calls. Having these recordings can help a business study and improve upon their processes, but knowing the laws regulations that surround call recording is critical in order to stay within the boundaries. In this blog we will be going over the various laws in the US that involve the recording of telephone calls and what you should know before incorporating this strategy into your business.

Consent

From a legal standpoint, the most critical aspect that determines the legality of a phone call is the consent and knowledge that a phone call is being recorded. Later on we will be going over how this consent varies from state to state, but it’s important to understand that in all states in the US, at least one individual involved with the conversation is aware and consents to having their conversation being recorded. This consent applies to in person conversations (such as in a meeting or a public area where their voice is one of the primary parties engaged within the conversation), telephone calls involving two or more individuals, and video conference calls (such as through a video chat service like Skype or Zoom). 

 

The manner in which parties obtain this consent varies slightly depending on the state, but these laws regarding consent can be broken down into One-Party and All-Party consent states. The manner in which this consent is given can vary depending on the purpose, but a good rule of thumb to use when intending to record a conversation is to verbally let the other party know that this conversation will be recorded. An intent or purpose is not always required, but in the world of customer service and cold calling, this consent is usually given in the manner of a pre recorded warning such as

"This call may be recorded for quality assurance or training purposes."

This both lets the person on the receiving end know that their conversation will be documented as well as give the opposite party a chance to opt out before the recording/conversation begins if they do not want to precede knowing this information.

One-Party Consent States

In states that require one single party to give consent, you can record a conversation if this individual who provides consent is actively involved in the conversation, as in speaking and engaging with any other individual or individuals involved. If you are not a party to the conversation, this conversation and/or phone call can be recorded so as this one party who has consented gives full knowledge and notice that this conversation will be recorded. 

 

In One Party States, this is covered under Federal law, 18 U.S.C § 2511(2)(d) where recording requires only that one party give consent. An addition to note to this federal statute, is that a total of 39 states (in addition to the District of Columbia) have adopted this one party consent requirement. A list of all the states that fall under this statute are as follows.

  • 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

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming

One exception to this list is Nevada, where they follow a one-party consent law but Nevada’s Supreme Court has interpreted this under the all-party consent law. This effectively disregards their consideration if you are looking to record calls while following this law but need to be grouped into this category legally.

All-Party Consent States

In all-party consent states, you can only record a conversation when every party involved gives consent. This means that both the party who is performing the recording as well as the party or multiple parties on the receiving must also give some sort of acknowledgement that they are being recorded and give their permission to proceed. There are a total of 11 states that follow these laws and are as follows.

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Illinois

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Montana

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • Oregon

  • Pennsylvania

  • Vermont

  • Washington

Calls Across State Lines

In the United States, telephone calls are routinely made across multiple states. Normally there is not an issue with performing these calls, but when you have the intent of recording these types of conversations this can present some challenging legal scenarios depending on where the parties are currently residing. 


As an example, a call from Connecticut to a party in Ohio would involve laws that cover both one-party and all-party consent laws. So in situations like these, which state’s laws must be applied? The answer to this isn’t exactly clear, but due to past precedent set in various supreme court cases such as Michael Krauss v. Globe International, Inc., No. 18008-92 and Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 137 P.3d 914 (Cal. 2006) we can determine that it varies depending on the circumstances. To avoid any type of legal issues when performing calls across state lines, the best approach would be to comply with All-Party consent laws to verify that everyone involved is aware of the recording and have the option to opt out if they choose to do so.

Conclusion

The process of recording calls for the purpose of training and analysis can greatly benefit a business when trying to maximize their potential for success when making cold calls, as well as providing a great way to document important meetings and discussions taking place over the phone. Knowing the laws that surround the process of recording these calls is extremely important as staying with the limits of the law should be a top priority of any operating business. Using this information, you can rest assured that you have all the information needed to make the right decision about how to go about recording your calls.

Leadroot is not a lawyer, or a law firm and does not engage in the practice of law. Leadroot cannot and does not provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, materials, and services provided on our website or within our products are for informational purposes and self-help only and are not intended to be a substitute for a lawyer or professional legal advice.

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