‘This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance…’

We’ve all heard recorded announcements that a phone call to a business may be monitored or recorded. But even if you have such an announcement on your phone system, it’s still a good idea to make sure that your employees don’t make mistakes.

Under federal law, a business phone call can be monitored or recorded if one party to the call agrees to it. The problem is that a number of states go further, and require that a call can’t be monitored or recorded unless all parties agree to it.

And since you never know when you’ll get a call from someone in one of those states, you need to be careful.

Recently, the California Court of Appeals allowed a class-action lawsuit against a loan company to proceed. Under California law, the potential damages in the case are $5,000 per call that was improperly monitored.

The company did have an automated recording on its phone system that advised callers that their conversations could be monitored. But it still got into trouble, because (1) depending on the prompts selected by the caller, it was possible to get through to a person without hearing the message, and (2) the company didn’t always include the warning when its employees made outbound calls to current customers to talk about their loans.

Of course, companies that monitor their customer service calls don’t do it because they’re nefarious eavesdroppers; they do it to improve service and better help the customer. But the law is the law, and a company can still get in trouble if it doesn’t provide warnings.

And even if your company doesn’t have a policy of regularly monitoring customer service or sales calls, it’s good to remind supervisors that even occasionally listening in on a few calls to provide remedial training can still be enough to land a company in hot water.