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Does your business record phone calls?
Many business owners assume that they do not record phone calls or do not even collect phone numbers, but that is usually not the case. Businesses will frequently collect phone numbers through the following features:
- Contact forms on websites;
- eCommerce and order placement forms;
- Calendar booking features;
- Support portals where customers can send you a message;
- Emails (most signature lines contain a phone number); and
- When customers call your business.
In addition, many businesses record phone calls as well through the following:
- Calling customers through a customer relationship management system (e.g. Hubspot or Salesforce) that allows for the recording of phone calls;
- Calling customers through a support portal (e.g. FreshDesk or ZenDesk) that allows you to record phone calls;
- Allowing customers to leave a voicemail;
- Hitting “record” on a call (whether through an online service such as Zoom or Google Meets or through your phone).
The truth is that collecting phone numbers and recording phone calls is pretty common, you just need to follow some rules to make sure that you are doing so properly to avoid fines.
What is the California Invasion of Privacy Act?
CIPA is a privacy law that went into effect in 1994 with the aim of protecting residents of California from privacy violations that occur when communications are recorded without knowledge or consent. CIPA applies to any communications with a resident of California, whether through telegraph, telephone, line, cable or instrument, including calls placed through the Internet, as well as more traditional phone calls. CIPA also applies if one party to the communication is a resident of California, meaning that your business does not need to be located in the State for the law to apply to you.
To comply with this law, you will need to obtain the consent of the individual to record the phone call and can do so through the following processes:
- Playing a message at the start of the call stating that the call will be recorded;
- Asking an individual whether they consent to the call being recorded at the beginning of the call;
- What information do you collect? Answer this question by selecting “voice recordings”;
- Purpose for using this information. Answer this question by selecting “recording phone calls”;
- What third parties do you share this information with? Answer this question by selecting “voice recording vendors.” Please make this selection only if you use a third party vendor to record the phone calls or if you share the recordings with anyone outside of your company.
What are the penalties for violating CIPA?