Demystifying Call Recording Laws By State



State by State call recording laws are often misunderstood. And it’s no wonder why.

Federal call recording laws outline different regulations based on the type of call that’s being recorded and whether or not there’s video surveillance. Additionally, call recording laws by state are quite different, with some states requiring consent from one party, and others requiring two-party consent. Before recording any calls for training or coaching purposes, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations in your state.

Why establish phone call recording laws?

Federal and State call recording laws are intended to protect the privacy of individuals—both the employee making the call and the person answering.

When companies roll out a sales call recording program, it’s necessary that employees understand the scope and intention of the call recording. This involves getting every employee’s’ consent to being recorded!

Without employee consent, a company’s phone call recording program is illegal in every state. Federal law requires at least one-party consent to record or monitor phone or in-person conversations, while some states require two-party consent. The differences between one and two party consent is:

One party consent means you can record a phone call or conversation, so long as one party has given consent. In most cases, the law specifies that if you are a party to the conversation, you may record it without getting consent from the other parties.

Two party consent now more commonly referred to as all-party consent means that everyone participating in the phone call or conversation must give consent to its recording.

To summarize, if your headquartered in a one-party consent state, it’s considered legal for your employees to record their conversations without permission from the other person on the call — as long as they themselves consent to being recording.

The one caveat?

These call recordings cannot be shared with the general public, but can be used within the company for internal sales coaching, onboarding, or quality assurance.

If you are doing business in other countries, read this overview of international call recording laws.

Where Call Recording Gets Tricky

We enter a grey area when considering the distinctions between different call monitoring methods as well as the varying call recording laws by state. These two paint points are often the culprit of most of the ambiguity surrounding phone call recording.

According to federal law, it is illegal to:

Intentionally intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication. This means that ‘wiretapping’, surveillance, recording, and monitoring of any calls or conversations where the interceptor is not a party in the call are illegal without consent.

Listen in on a call without the caller’s permission to do so. If companies want to intercept their employees’ calls, they must first get their consent—usually in the form of a written contract.

Phone Call Recording Laws By State

Many states have expanded beyond federal one-party consent to require all parties in a conversation to give an explicit OK to being recorded. These two-party consent states, and their respective area codes, include :

Click to download an Excel version of the two-party consent states and area codes list.

Employees that call into one of these states must have expressed consent from all parties on the call in order to record. But what if you’re a manager who simply wants to listen in? — Again, any announced (or unannounced) person in the conversation must give and receive consent to record or monitor the call.

How to Ask for Permission to Record a Call

When asking for permission to record a sales call, it is important that you ask twice.

First, ask the prospect or customer if you can record the call. After you’ve pressed the record button, have that individual reaffirm their consent. Here’s how that conversation might go:

Employee: “Is it okay if I may record this call?”

Prospect/Customer: “Yes”

Employee: “Great, I just hit the record button. Just to confirm, you’re okay with this call being recorded?”

Prospect/Customer: “Yes”

There are other ways to ask for consent to record a phone call that communicates more than just a simple request for permission. For example, you might coach your employees to ask:

“Do you mind if I record this call so that I may focus on our conversation rather than note taking?”

The prospect or customer will likely appreciate your desire on focusing on actually listening and providing your due attention. You could also suggest asking:

“Can we record this call to share with other stakeholders that aren’t present right now?”

Phrasing the questions this way has bonus value. The prospect/customer won’t have to reiterate what was said to those that aren’t there and the sales cycle can be dramatically accelerated when demos or calls are recorded and shared amongst key stakeholders. A third option to get call recording permission is to say:

“As we cover your needs and goals, do you mind if I record? I’d like to reference them later to ensure I’m providing the best solution.”

This communicates that the rep is dedicated to providing the best service to the customer/prospect. Come renewal or quarterly business reviews, reps will be able to reference your customers’ goals - straight from the horse’s mouth.

Technology Can Take the Guesswork Out of Recording

More than ever before, technology is catching up with call recording law discrepancies. Tools like the InsideSales.com PowerDialer, and Call Recording Center (CRC) allow organizations to automatically record one-sided conversations or prevent recording all together in two-party consent states. This removes the responsibility of knowing call recording laws by state off of frontline reps and ensures the company is compliant, no matter what the conversation. Commonly used slide-sharing tools, such as GoToMeeting, WebEx, join.me, BlueJeans, UberConference, Zoom.us, and ClearSlide. allow you to manually click record. This empowers reps to use their discretion and ask for permission to record, regardless of the state they call into. Ensure your team is 100% aware of which states and area codes require two-party consent.

Using Conversation Intelligence to Leverage Your Call Recordings

Once you have a compliant call recording strategy it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of your recordings. Conversation Intelligence technology like ExecVision provides deep insights about what’s really being said on your sales calls. The software makes coaching your reps easy and efficient while improving the onboarding process and reducing ramp time. Learn how Conversation Intelligence can help you turn average reps into top performers - see it live!