Can someone tape a phone call with me without my permission and use it against me in court?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

A company thats represents my company and sells training is haviing other people call my office and pretend they are looking for our services hoping to catch us in a lie. I have been told they taped the phone calls and that they will use my answers that they taped in a lawsuit against me and my company. Can they tape and calls with my permission? and they threatened me that they had affidavits from people they put up to call and they taped the discussions. Can I sue them?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, the tape of the phone conversation would not be admissible in a civil court. Yes, you can sue them.

    Sections 632(a) and 637.2 of the California Penal Code, prohibits tape recording confidential communications unless all parties to a conversation consent. A conversation is "confidential" for purposes of this prohibition if a party has an objectively reasonable expectation that the conversation is not being recorded regardless of whether a reasonable person would expect the contents of the conversation to be divulged to others.

    California Penal Code section 637.2 provides that any person who has been injured by a violation of California's Privacy Act may bring a civil action against each person who committed the violation and may recover damages for each violation in an amount equal to the greater of $5,000 or three times the amount of the actual damages sustained by the injured person. See:

    http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/637.2.html

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
  2. Kevin Lewis King

    Contributor Level 14

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An issue to keep in mind is what constitutes "consent" to being recorded.

    Obviously, is they ask and you say "No," then they should not record. But what is the outcome if they do not ask, but only state that the conversation will be recorded? Even if you tell them "No" but you stay on the phone with them, they can make the argument that you consented through your conduct of staying on the phone after being informed they were recording.

    Did they make any statement like this or just record the call in stealth?

    If they didn't tell you, how do you know the calls were recorded?

    Kevin King, Attorney at ESSENTIAL LAW SERVICES. The information presented... more
  3. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Chen is correct. Just to supplement, Penal Code section 632 expressly forbids the admissibility of the recording.

    There are some exceptions to the prohibition, mainly related to law enforcement.

    Good luck to you.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more

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