Collector - July 2018 - 54
This Call May be Monitored or Recorded
How to navigate state call recording laws.
reating permanent records of
telephone calls seems to be a
straight-forward way to avoid
games of "he said, she said" when
dealing with consumers. But as is the
case with most issues in the accounts
receivable management world, it's not
always so simple.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
does not discuss the permissibility of call
recording. Thus, whether or not a phone
call can be recorded largely depends on
requirements set forth under state laws.
As recording phone calls could violate
both employees' and consumers' rights,
understanding the laws surrounding this
issue is imperative to recording calls in a
State restrictions usually tend to focus
on the parties who must consent to the
recording-which may be one party or
multiple parties. For example, some states
such as Iowa only require one party to
consent to the recording in order for the
conversation to be recorded legally. In such
one-party consent states, the consent of the
debt collector alone would be sufficient to
record the call. The consent of the consumer
or called party is not necessary or required
under state law in order for a collector to
record the call.
In contrast, other states such as
Maryland require either court approval or
consent of all parties on the call to make
an electronic recording of a conversation.
In these all-party consent states, collectors
must have a way to obtain the consumer's
(or other called party's) consent prior to
recording the conversation or they will
risk violating state law.
Other restrictions may cover
the technology through which the
information is transmitted, including
wire or electronic communication of any
kind, depending on the laws of the state.
However, conversations that are physically
overheard by a third-party can sometimes
be grouped into this category as well.
If the debt collector is located in a different
state than the consumer, the collector should
review the call recording laws of both states.
Erring on the side of caution, the collector
may want to comply with the stricter of the
two state requirements.
Collectors will want to look to
their document retention policies and
procedures to determine how long to store
telephone recordings. Although most
state laws do not specifically address call
recordings, New York City regulations
do specify that call recordings must be
maintained for one year.
For more information on the
permissibility of recording phone
calls, ACA members can review ACA's
SearchPoint™ document #2027, Recording
Conversations, which provides collectors
with information about laws concerning
state call recording requirements in a
convenient and searchable format.
Have you checked out the member-only ACA
SearchPoint™ library? This valuable resource
is filled with documents that put important
compliance information related to the
FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, state laws and many
other topics at your fingertips. To access it,
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