When dealing with unscrupulous companies (especially insurance companies), I have learned that it is essential to record telephone conversations.

Many times, I have been provided with grossly incorrect information, but when I later try to confront them about the false information they have provided, the company simply denies it. Their unethical behavior relies on the fact that I have no proof of what was previously communicated.

I have repeatedly been told that it is legal for them to record me, but that it is illegal for me to record them.

To my understanding, this is an incorrect understanding of the law. As long as both parties are notified that the recording is taking place, my understanding is that both parties may lawfully record the call.

I am seeking the minimum required statement that will allow me to lawfully record calls.

I find that if I ask permission to record a call, the person on the other end often gets highly defensive and tells me that recording calls is illegal (which is ironic given that they have often just informed me that they are recording the call).

Instead of asking permission, is it sufficient to simply state that the call is being recorded? By continuing the call, has the other party provided consent without explicitly being asked?

In order to not violate any laws, what is the verbiage you recommend in order to maximize their willingness to continue with the call being recorded, without scaring them off?

Here are a several ideas to use:

  1. I am required to notify you that this call may be recorded.
  2. I am required to notify you that this call is be recorded.
  3. All calls on this line may be recorded.
  4. All calls on this line are recorded.

Do all these meet the legal requirements for recording a telephone call?

Which of the above do you recommend, or do you recommend anything better?

Note: The calls currently originate in California (USA), and the companies called are often located in California, but not always. Some of the calls are with Medicare or CMS (government agencies).

  • Hello! Welcome to Law.SE. Please read our tour page. You can see the link at the bottom of the page.
    – isakbob
    Oct 25, 2019 at 3:52

2 Answers 2


If they are recording you, you can record them

Assuming that recording requires two-party consent (not all places do), when they informed you that the call may be recorded, they gave consent to it being recorded (obviously) and you gave consent by not hanging up. The consent requirement has been met so anyone and everyone can record it.

  • Re "...and everyone can record it.": just to clarify, "everyone" here signifies either of the two parties, but only them, correct? As opposed to say, a 3rd party accidentally picking up on a landline extension unbeknownst to the other two parties, or, (supposing the customer is on speakerphone) a white van in the street with a bullseye microphone.
    – agc
    May 17, 2021 at 18:19
  • @agc everyone who is a party and who has consented. By the way recording in the air (speakerphone, white van) is NOT recording a telephone call and different rules apply.
    – Dale M
    May 17, 2021 at 21:45
  • @DaleM not only those who consented but all of those who are parties to the communications, and no longer have an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy: If an announcement of the possibility of recording or overhearing is made heard to each party, no party will any longer have an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy and even express objection will be disregarded: Continuing communication implies consent, too. But expectation of privacy and consent may require distinct analyses. A lawyer-client conversation might remain privileged even if consented to be recorded.
    – kisspuska
    Nov 12, 2021 at 7:16

The California wiretapping law applies to "confidential communications", where a party has reasonable expectation of privacy. Organizations often have an announcement that you hear when you are on hold announcing that the conversation may be recorded. If you announce that a conversation is being recorded, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. They can hang up if they don't want to be recorded, just as you can be when they record you.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .