Businesses use call recording for many reasons, such as to improve business practices and customer service, protect themselves from complaints and litigation and gather evidence of transactions and correspondence. If your business is considering using call recording devices and technology, staying on the right side of the law is very important. You need to understand your responsibilities under the law and ensure that both your business and your customers are protected. This all starts with the vital question - do you need to tell callers that you are recording their call?

Here are the vital points to consider:

  • Will you be releasing or sharing the recording with a third party? If so, then you do need to let callers know that you are recording and give an explanation for the need to do so. For example, if you are conducting market research or monitoring the recordings for training purposes. Crucially, as well as informing callers, you must also get their consent.
  • Times when you don't, need to inform callers that you are recording. Suppose you are recording calls for any of the following reasons. In that case, you are not obligated to inform callers to ensure that your business complies with regulatory procedures, provide evidence of a business transaction or ensure that quality targets or standards are being met in the interests of national security. Other exceptions include preventing or detecting crimes committed through the unauthorised use of a telecom system and securing the effective operation of the telecom system.
  • There are different ways to keep callers informed. In most cases, businesses use a pre-recorded message to inform anyone calling in that calls may be recorded this is a very simple way to do it. However, there are other ways too. For example, suppose there is a specific number you are advertising and inviting people to call in (such as a helpline). In that case, you can inform customers that calls may be recorded through the advert. You can also include a line in your terms and conditions, on your website and in other literature.
  • How long do you need to keep recordings? The rules are unclear and, in many cases, industry dependent. For example, in the financial services industry, you must keep recorded calls between 6 months and 3 years in case you need to deliver recordings in a legal case or for auditing purposes. If you fail to deliver, you could face litigation and damages costs.
  • Ethical issues. Why you will do so is very important if you consider recording calls. No ethical issues are involved if you are trying to improve customer service or business practices. However, suppose you plan to use call recording to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors or sell data from recorded calls to a third party (this is illegal and unethical). In that case, ethical and moral ramifications will always be considered.