As a business, there are a number of reasons as to why you might want to record the phone calls you have with customers and clients. For example, you may wish to use recorded phone calls when training new employees.
If you believe your business will benefit from recording phone conversations, the good news is that you can do this. However, before you invest in phone recording devices and software, it’s important to understand the legal side of recording phone calls.
That way, you can go about matters in a way that’s legally compliant.
Can A Business Record Calls Without Consent?
No, a business cannot legally record calls without the consent of the other party.
When utilising a recording device for your phone calls, you will need to gain the permission of the other party.
Consent can either be express or implied.
Chances are you’ve called up somewhere to hear the message “this call may be recorded for training and quality control purposes”, or something similar.
If a customer chooses to go ahead with the call, they are giving implied consent which is still valid.
However, it’s good practice for businesses to have an option for customers that do not want their conversion recorded. Simply stating “Please let us know at the beginning of the call if you do want the conversation to be recorded” can be helpful in giving others a choice aside from hanging up.
Business Recording Laws Australia
Business recording laws vary by state. Australia does have a primary, federal legislation (we’ll look into this later). However, it’s important to check the individual laws for your respective state as well.
For example, if you’re in NSW, the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 will be relevant to you. According to the Act, deliberately installing a listening device and recording a conversation without consent from the participating parties is considered an offence.
All Australian states aside from Queensland require some form of consent when it comes to recording calls. However, even where consent isn’t required, there are still strict regulations surrounding what can be done with the recording and who it can be shown to. Therefore, it’s extremely important to be familiar with the laws governing your state prior to engaging in phone recording.
If you have any questions or are still unsure about the relevant regulations, then contact a legal professional for help. It’s considered a criminal offence to illegally record a conversation, so it’s safest to make sure you’re in the clear from the beginning.
What Is The Telecommunications Interception And Access Act 1979?
The Telecommunications Interception And Access Act 1979 (the TIA Act) is a federal piece of legislation that makes it unlawful to listen to a phone call or listen to a recording of a conversation without the consent of one or both of the parties to that conversation.
According to the TIA Act, all customers and clients will need to be aware that others will be listening to their recordings (and provide their consent for this). If there’s any one else on the line at the same time, it’s important the person on the other end is aware of this and okay with it.
Mike is training at a phone service provider as a customer services representative. Mike’s manager decides to give Mike a trial run at answering the phones while he’s listening in to the conversation.
Upon answering the phone, Mike lets the caller know there’s another person with him and gives them the option to decline their phone call being part of the training process.
Mike gave the caller a heads up which ensured they were not in breach of the TIA Act. However, if he hadn’t, then the legislation would have likely been violated.
Do I Need Disclaimers?
There’s no legal obligation to have a disclaimer, however, if you’re considering recording conversations then it’s worth looking into getting one.
Disclaimers are statements that you will not take legal responsibility for certain things or matters. In other words, they help you limit your business’ liability. Generally, they are legally binding. For instance, they will not be binding in cases where it is considered unfair to the other party.
Disclaimers come in many different forms and can be used in various scenarios, including call recording.
If you think a disclaimer might be right for your business, then it’s worth getting one drafted by a legal expert. This way, you can rest assured that your disclaimer is working in your business’ best interest. Our lawyers are completely online and happy to help!
What Other Data Privacy Laws Should I Be Aware Of?
Call recording laws aren’t the only privacy laws you will need to stay vigilant about as a business owner. Data privacy is a large part of owning a modern business as businesses now tend to have access to data on both their customers and employees.
As a result, businesses have an obligation to protect this information and gain consent where necessary in order to obtain it.
For example, if you are putting up cameras in the workplace, then it’s important your employees are aware of where the cameras are and when they will be switched on. Furthermore, cameras cannot be present in places where employees are entitled to privacy (such as the bathroom).
If you’re still unsure, reach out to our team and you can chat to one of our expert privacy lawyers for some guidance.
If you’re thinking of recording phone calls as a business, then it’s important to act in line with the relevant regulations. To summarise what we’ve discussed:
- As a business, you might choose to record phone conversations for a number of reasons i.e. quality assurance
- Before you record any calls, you will likely need to gain consent from the other party
- Phone recording laws vary by state so it’s important to check the ones that are relevant to you
- The TIA Act is applicable through all of Australia and it makes it illegal to listen to a live phone or the recording of a phone call without consent
- Disclaimers can help in limiting your liability when it comes to phone recordings
Need A Privacy Lawyer?
As we mentioned, privacy and data are big aspects of running a business. From legally recording phone conversations to having the right legal documents in place, it’s better having an expert in privacy law guide you through this process and help make sure your business is legally compliant.
At Sprintlaw, our expert privacy lawyers can be reached online at your convenience – get in touch with us today!
If you would like a consultation on your business’ privacy obligations, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or email@example.com for a free, no-obligations chat.
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