California Recording Laws: Can I Legally Record Sales Calls?



Spoiler alert: According to California recording laws, yes, you can legally record sales calls placed into or out of the Golden State. Read on to learn more about how your sales team can remain compliant when recording phone calls in California.

Please remember, we are not lawyers, this post should not be taken as legal advice. Be sure to consult legal counsel before beginning a call recording program.

California is known for putting the interests of its residents first, which is why we have tags on products that read “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer”.

These laws extend far beyond consumer products creating a gray zone for B2B and B2C interactions. Unfortunately, regulations surrounding recording conversations in California have not progressed as fast as technology, resulting in outdated or largely irrelevant laws.

The California call recording law that matters most to sales, support, and success departments, is California Penal Code 632. This bill outlines the laws surrounding eavesdropping, which includes recording both phone calls and in-person conversations.

When it comes to phone call recording laws, and recording in general, California is an all-party consent state. Also referred to as dual-party consent, all-party consent states require all parties in a conversation to give explicit consent before the conversation in recorded.

In section 632.7 of the Penal code, California recording law states that recording conversations where either party is on a cell phone or cordless phone without a warning is illegal. This is unique in that the call recording laws in most other states do not make clear designations regarding cordless phones and mobile devices.

outline of US states on a blue background

Unlike other two-party consent states, there are a variety of options for compliant call recording in California.

In 2006, the case of Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. was brought to the state’s Supreme Court. This case set the precedent that so long as you inform all parties the call is being recorded at the beginning of the call, you do not have to get explicit consent from the other parties. This means that “This call may recorded for quality and training purposes” is sufficient enough in the eyes of the law to legally record the conversation that follows.

California recording laws also permit the use of a faint tone or beep during the duration of the call to indicate the call is being recorded. This beep or tone must be audible to all parties of the conversation.

Like other all-party consent states, when recording conversations in California, you may also consent to record the call verbally by using statements like “This is [name] on a recorded line…” or questions like “May I record this call so I can take notes later?”

Because of this, almost all organizations who have reps based out of California record their calls. This is an extremely valuable practice for any sales organization, because it allows reps, managers and senior leaders get real insights into how their team is performing, where to coach intentionally and measure improvements over time.

Learn how to get the most out of your recordings with conversation intelligence technology.