I'm in a sketchy business establishment, having a dispute with the owner/representative.
I'm at the front desk of a cheap motel, complaining about a lack of hot water in my room. The front desk clerk tells me too bad, so sad--it is what it is.
I'm in the lobby of a towing/impound company trying to pay the fee to recover my car. The clerk tells me I can't see my car until after signing a waiver acknowledging that there is no damage to the car.
I'm at a swap meet, paid for a product, and then discovered that the product I paid for is out of stock. The owner refuses me a refund, pointing to a "NO REFUNDS" sign behind the counter.
In all these types of situations, I would like to be able to record the conversation for the ensuing credit card chargeback / small claims court case. But I cannot, because I'm in a two-party consent state and of course the business would refuse consent if I asked They have everything to hide and nothing to gain by allowing me to record.
But now imagine that behind the counter is one of those signs: "SMILE!--YOU ARE ON CAMERA". Of course the business posted the sign for their benefit, not mine. But since they have claimed to be recording (whether or not they actually are), am I now allowed to record also? I mean clandestinely--I start a voice recorder on my phone without their awareness while attempting to negotiate a solution with each business owner/represantative.
If there is a general answer for all two-party consent states, then great. If not, then maybe individual answers for various two-party consent states would be helpful. I am in California.