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Can I record a phone conversation?


WhiteTruckMan

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I'm having trouble with a neighboring council (Burnley Borough Council) using baliffs to pursue a council tax debt of somebody with a similar name to me. The other person has an address in burnley, but the council has somehow found my address, stuck the other persons name on it, then passed it on to debt recovery agents i.e. baliffs to pursue. I've contacted the baliffs by phone, and in a recorded conversation which they agreed to, have notified them that this person does not and never has lived here, and that any further letters will be returned with a bill for £25 handling. They informend me that my address was provided by BBC.

Now here's where it gets interesting. I've contacted BBC debt recovery department by phone, and the first thing that you hear is a recorded message that calls my be recorded for monitoring and training purposes. However when I get through to an operator and I inform them that I am recording the call as well, they refuse to discuss anything. So do I have to disclose the fact that I am recording a call, as anything said may be a basis for a formal complaint?

WTM

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oresome

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As a matter of courtesy and to save any potential embarrassment, I always informed a telephone caller if I wished to use the loudspeaker facility to enable others to listen in on the conversation, or if I had a passenger in the car.

I suppose one or more third parties listening in on a conversation would help substantiate it, if not to the extent an actual recording would.

I don't know what the legalities of listening in are.

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Flak999

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Another thing that strikes me with regard to this subject. Why, is it not admissible in court to present evidence from a secretly recorded telephone conversation?

Presumably, if I were to phone a supplier of goods and services with a complaint about the service I have received and as a result of our conversation, I was given a promise of recompense in the form of a refund or some other goodwill gesture.

If I had recorded the conversation without informing the other party, and they reneged on their promise, I could prove my case. If however I advised them before the conversation started that I was recording our conversation, they would either refuse point blank to talk to me, or be very guarded in their response.

I don't therefore understand why such recordings are inadmissible? If the supplier is being upfront and honest then there should be no problem with my recording the conversation, if however the supplier is being rather less than honest in his replies and is merely trying to fob me off, then my recording expedites my case!

What is the problem with that?

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Forum Editor

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Flak999

It's perfectly OK to record a telephone conversation between two private individuals. The problems begin when one of those individuals provides the recording to a third party for whatever reason, without the consent of the second party. You might do it if you could argue that it was in the public interest, and that's what has happened on several occasions when reporters have made secret recordings - court battles have ensued. The defence argument, and it's a good one, is that if a person knew that the conversation was being recorded the content of it would have been significantly different.

The court situation is never completely clear-cut. RIPA prohibits the use of unlawful telephone recordings as evidence in court, and many judges are known to take the view that someone who cheats (by making a secret recording) should not profit from it. The other problem is that once the other party is aware that a recording exists you must disclose it, and that can have other legal implications.

By and large, if you can convince a judge that the recording contains information that is highly relevant to your case, and helpful to the judge and/or jury you may be allowed to introduce it, but you mustn't make that assumption. It's a very tricky area of law.

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WhiteTruckMan

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Is the very existance of a recording confidential?

I'm wondering if you can say in open court 'I have a recording of X telling me abc and if X disputes this then let him give me permission to air this recording'

WTM

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namtas

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Is not all of this a confusing by product which is enshrined as part of the legal restriction brought in to prevent phone tapping where it is actually I believe illegal for anyone to record both parties in a telephone conversation.

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spuds

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Reading the comments being made, it would appear that a problem might occur, if the third party is actions of a legal proceeding.

I have known cases of a person recording 'nuisance' calls, and the recordings were supplied to a police officer, and action was duly taken on the evidence of the recordings.

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Flak999

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Forum Editor

"It's a very tricky area of law."

It certainly seems to be!

You say "The defence argument, and it's a good one, is that if a person knew that the conversation was being recorded the content of it would have been significantly different." That seems obvious, nobody knowingly is going to incriminate themselves, but by making a secret recording in which they do incriminate themselves they surely have condemned themselves from their own mouths. The proof is self evident!

I don't understand why that is considered "cheating" and the person who made the recording has not profited from it as such, they have merely exposed the truth of the situation. As with so many of these instances with the police and retired Generals who tried to peddle their influence, without these recordings it would be just here-say.

It seems to me to be very strange then, that this practice is frowned upon.

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Graham*

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I can record a call by pressing a button on my phone. I can then tell them they are being recorded, and that is the beep they can hear.

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WhiteTruckMan

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Graham

What kind of phone is that? Smartphone?

WTM

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morddwyd

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Later today I have to ring the ambulance service to book a trip to my local outpatients.

That call, like all mu calls, will be recorded.

I'm fairly confident it will be recorded by them as well.

If, as on many previous occasions, they fail to turn up, or turn up four hours or so late, that recording will form part of yet another complaint to the regulator.

If they want to take me to court I will be very happy to oblige them!

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