If your business records incoming calls for any reason, federal and state laws require you to notify the incoming caller.
When your business does not follow these laws, it could be subject to large fines. In many states, fines are imposed per call in which the incoming caller is not notified that they’re being recorded.
There may be a lot of reasons why your business records its phone calls. Some may do it just to assure that their protocols are being followed. Other businesses like to have a permanent record. Either way, notifying incoming callers that they are being recorded is the law, writes Brian Gabriel, Chief Operations Officer for Sound Telecom. The company provides call center, answering and other services for business clients:
“If you record calls and do not have a compliance notification program in place, you are at huge risk of direct legal action. Failure to comply with current Federal and State regulations is taken seriously and it is enforced at many levels.”
In a recent report on the official Sound Telecom blog, Gabriel highlights a recent incident in which a business was hit with massive fines after a would-be customer called in and asked whether they were being recorded. When the person at that business answered that the call was, indeed being recorded, the caller simply said, “Thank you,” and hung up the phone.
A few weeks after that call, the business received notice that it was being sued to the tune of $2,500 per call in which the business didn’t notify a caller they were being recorded.
These laws extend to call center operations, too. Your small business may rely on a third-party call center to handle a lot of phone traffic. If so, it’s important to ensure that that service is also compliant with the law.
Depending in which state your business operates, the law and severity of punishment for breaking the law could vary greatly. Gabriel notes that California has the strictest laws on the books regarding call recording. A recent wave of lawsuits have flooded state courts there.
Even if your business operates exclusively in a state that doesn’t require two-party notification of a phone call being recorded, be aware. These laws are always changing, Gabriel reports. So vigilance is important.
“In simplest terms, business owners ought to make it standard procedure to notify all callers at all times whenever they record calls no matter what. This is the strictest interpretation of the law.”
Customer Service Photo via Shutterstock