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Record Your Calls!

Recently, a customer service call by an AOL product manager went viral. That reminded me of how many times I’ve made my life so much easier because I record all calls when I’m doing business. It’s an easy thing to do once it’s set up. I’ll address how to do that in a future post.

First, though, I must tell you that there are laws about recording phone calls you must know if you want to stay out of trouble. If you’re in the United States, the primary information you need to know is which states are one party and two party consent states. If you call someone in a one party state, only one person needs to know the conversation is being recorded. Because you know, you do not have to inform the other person. If the person you are calling is in a two party consent state, you must inform them you are recording. I keep an updated list on my bulletin board and always ask representatives where they are located. I almost always reveal I’m recording, no matter the laws of the state they are in. Often, that’s enough to cause them to do the right thing. But, from time to time I’ll have a representative behave badly from the get go, so I’ll ask their location and if it’s in a one party state, I’ll just record and let them hang themselves. As of now, there are only twelve two party consent states. I won’t list them because they could change. You should keep an up-to-date list.

The vast majority of the times, I find customer service reps do good work. I record mainly to have a record of what we agreed to. From time to time, in a later interaction, I’ll quote the previous representative and say, “I’ve got a recording. Do you want to hear it?” So far, I’ve only had to play one back. Every other time, just the offer of the playback is enough to resolve the problem in my favor.

I did have a problem recording when I was dealing with ATT once and I’ll share that with you. Two representatives refused to talk to me if I recorded. I want to say now that eventually an ATT regional vice-president apologized and said he was sending information out informing their customer service representatives to allow recordings. But, that took some doing.

I had upgraded a phone on our plan and called to tell them to remove the $36 upgrade fee. Why should I pay for being a loyal customer of ATT and signing a new contract? That fee has always been waived when I’ve asked. This time, I had a problem before I had a chance to ask. As I said, I record those conversations so I have proof that the fee was to be waived. Here is the conversation with the first representative [Note: the recording is edited to remove personal information like social security number, as well as pauses and irrelevant comments]:

The lady never came back. After being on hold for several minutes, the phone was disconnected. So, I called again and talked to a different representative. I explained what I wanted regarding the fee, and what had happened when I spoke to the previous representative. Here’s how that went:

He did waive the fee, but I was not happy about the recording issue. The next day, I received a letter in the mail from a regional vice-president of ATT thanking me for being a loyal customer. There was an email address beneath his signature, so I sent him audio files of these two conversations. It took a while, but eventually he did apologize.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what I use to record.

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