Recording phone calls from collectors

Many times a collector will call you and break the law. I wanted to share with you my methods of recording phone calls.

The first issue to consider is that there are state laws for recording phone calls. These are your states wire-tapping laws. Check the chart at the end of this post to check the specific law in your state. The most important column in the chart is the “party consent”. If the part of consent is “1” you are free to record your conversations. I also wanted to note that wire-tapping laws are not something you want to violate….

For my home landline, I have a recorder made by Sangean. You can get the same model on Amazon for about $100. It is nice in that it records all phone calls. It records the conversations to an SD card like you might have in a digital camera. You can take this SD card and copy the conversations to you computer for safe keeping. Overall the recorder is super easy to set up and maintain. I would rate this product a 5 out of 5.

Cell phones are a bit more tricky. Some smart phones have an app you can download to record calls. I have had no success with these programs after trying 6 different ones. I would rate them all a 0 out of 5!

I currently record necessary cell phone calls using a microphone that fits in your ear. This microphone is plugged into a separate little recorder. This works OK, but is not always easy to get started when you need to. You will find yourself fumbling around with this setup when you answer a call. Overall, this is a 3.5 out of 5.

You will have a solid recording to prove what was said. Now what?

These recording are excellent to send to lawyers when you are pushing for settlement. The Lawyer wont be able to say that her client didn’t make the statements or the phone calls.

Also, this recording will be excellent for evidence in court, kind of… I don’t know of a way to enter the recording directly into court. You can put in an affidavit stating what the recording says. Or better yet, have a person transcribe it for you and have them put in a affidavit verifying the conversation.

There is a quirk to putting in affidavits. You can not say Fred said, “blah blah blah”. Instead you have to say, Fred was heard to say, “blah blah blah”. Catch the subtle difference? Also, someone can deny what they said, but cannot deny what you hear. Quirky, but important.

I hope this was helpful to those of you getting collection calls. If you know of better equipment or methods, please let us all know.

Fight the good fight, Boiler

Here is the list of states and their wire-tapping laws: State Phone Recording Laws

  1. Hi, I am an American citizen that currently lives in London. I have my Vonage phone account forwarded to my London land line while I am here. Can I record collection calls? Best wishes from London, Michelle

    • Michelle,
      Wow, what a question. I don’t have a solid answer for you but I will share with you my opinion.
      My opinion is that you need to look at your local (London) wire tap laws. If it is illegal to record a conversation at your location (London) , don’t do it. You don’t want to be an international wire tap criminal.
      Just to be safe, I wouldn’t record. You don’t want to take the risk of breaking a wire tapping law.
      What you should do is write notes on the conversation that can later be put in an affidavit.
      Another strategy would be to tell them that you have changed your address and moved to London. Tell them your new address. I doubt they will hire a firm to chase you out of country.
      A last consideration is that the FDCPA likely doesn’t apply to you if you are not in US jurisdiction; although I have no case law to back this up that relates to your unusual situation.
      Just my thoughts. Let us know how it turns out for you.
      Fight the good fight, Boiler

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