Consent Required to Record Phone Calls in All USA States and D.C.

It’s so easy with today’s technology to record phone calls and in-person oral conversations, but it’s not always legal to do so. If you need a business phone system that can text, call, and even record all your incoming and outgoing calls (with or without a recording consent message played at the beginning of all calls), check out our software.

To be clear, we are not attorneys or otherwise qualified to tell you what’s legal and what’s not legal in regards to recording phone calls, but we’re sharing our research and notes here for your own research and to assist in your due diligence for your own situation.

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This reference only considers the situation of a phone call (some laws differ from in-person recording) between two or more parties (e.g., you and a friend, you and your boss, you and your marketing agency sales rep) not having an existing agreement in place (e.g., your employer’s manual having a phone call recording policy that allows them to record everything, essentially you giving your consent by working there).

There are some gotchas besides this specific scenario to look out for in your own research:

  • You should assume that the stricter law applies when calling from one state to another.
  • Federal law requires single-party consent.
  • Although sometimes called “two-party consent,” it means “all parties must consent,” such as when there are 3+ people on the call.
  • Phone calls are not always treated the same as in-person oral conversations.
  • As a caller (i.e., a party to the call) your consent (one party) without the other person’s explicit consent (all parties) may be legal but not admissible as evidence (e.g., Wisconsin civil cases).
  • One-party consent may not be sufficient consent if recording is part of an otherwise illegal act.
  • We’re generally looking at the laws from a marketing point of view. If you’re in a dangerous situation, consider recording regardless of the laws and sort out the details later. Some states even have exemptions for dangerous situations.
  • The laws are ever-evolving, and the information presented here could be inaccurate or outdated.