It is legal to record phone calls, but we advise that you do not, and we suggest that this article is a good starting point on why not.
A summary of Herring and Watts article is that in some states where collectors operate, it is illegal to record without the consent of all parties, and it is not strictly necessary- your testimony is admissible.
Virginia law is that any party to a conversation may record. VA Code §19.2-62.
Federal law is that any party to a conversation may record. 18 U.S.C. §2511.
There are 10 states that require that all parties to a conversation must consent, or the recording is criminal. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington each require the consent of all parties to record. The balance allow anyone who is a party to the conversation to record.
In ALL states and by Federal law, recording a conversation that you are not a party to (eg: recording your next door neighbor’s conversation) is criminal. There are exceptions in criminal justice, when the government obtains a warrant for a wiretap, but generally, it is illegal.
It is often very difficult to determine what state the collector is located. Further, even if you are located in a 1 party state, and they are located in a 2 party state, the question then becomes what law applies.
As a result, we agree with Herring and Watts, and say that even though it is legal, we advise that you should not record your conversations. In the event that you do record, we advise that you disclose that you are recording, and tell the collector that by staying on the phone that they are consenting to being recorded.
Your notes of a call are perfectly good records of what happened. Here is a link to a form for tracking calls, and making notes of what happened.
Also, you can have other people listen to your side of the conversation, or even participate in the conversation.
If you have been impacted by anything we mentioned here, you can make an appointment to see us.
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