Companies often begin calls with a warning that “calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.” That’s an acceptable notice that the call may be recorded, and staying on the line after receiving it is generally considered to be consent.
But an increasing number of companies are recording calls without providing any notice at all. In response, an increasing number of class actions are being filed to protest this activity. HSBC, a large financial institution has just agreed to settle one such case for $13 million.
Companies record calls for many reasons, such as quality assurance and training, customer protection, and risk management. However, California takes the right to privacy very seriously. The California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) points to the development of new devices and techniques and says that the invasion of privacy resulting from their use “has created a serious threat to the free exercise of personal liberties and cannot be tolerated in a free and civilized society.”
CIPA forbids wiretapping into, eavesdropping on, or recording any confidential communication without the consent of all parties.
What is a “confidential communication”? CIPA says it’s one “in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto”. Which circumstances are these? Consumers and their attorneys are now helping define them more precisely by protesting these recordings in court.
Penalties for violating the law include up to $5,000 per violation or triple any actual damages.
If you live in California, called a toll-free number, and did not receive a warning about call recording, and if you feel you have reason to believe the call was recorded, let us know by filling out the form on this page.
We’re particularly interested if your call involved one of the following companies:
- TGI Friday’s
- Baja Fresh
- Casino Royale (Las Vegas)
- AMF Bowling
- 99 Cents Only Stores