Hoarding recordings

The House Recording Studio control room overseeing footage of the House Chamber. Image courtesy of the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives.

Today’s quickie questions of the day:

Have you ever called in for customer service and been subjected to the automated system and not been told “please listen carefully – our menu has recently changed?” Due to overuse that phrase has absolutely no meaning.

More importantly, have you ever been told that your call may be “monitored or recorded” for the biggest bullshit reason of all time, “quality assurance?”

Here’s what I really want to know. Have you ever thought to say, “I prefer not to be recorded?”

Have you ever attempted this? And if so, how did it go?

First of all, “quality assurance?” What a line of bull. They are not going to invest in a recording system and everything that entails because they care about the quality of “service” they are providing to you. The reason is simple: To cover their ass and provide documentation that could be used against you further down the road if any sort of dispute should ever come up.

I have an idea. How about I record everything on my end, too. “Hey, Julio. That’s for taking the time to talk to me today about my account. Just an FYI, bro. This call may be monitored and/or recorded for quality assurance. Since you’re already doing that to me I’m sure your company will have no problem with that, right?”

So, have you ever tried to opt-out of being recorded? I have. The poor sap on the other end of the phone could not have been more confused or befuddled. His scripts obviously didn’t cover that sort of unforseen scenario. A customer not wanting to be recorded? Horrors!

If you’ve ever attempted to not be recorded, please reply and let me know how it went. I’d really, really like to know. This could be interesting. Thanks!

10 responses

  1. unabridgedgirl | Reply

    When I worked at a company that will remain nameless, I had people ask me all the time not to be recorded, which was fine, unless it was a call reguarding their contract. I don’t ever remember using quality assurance when I told them that I was recording? I do remember explaining that we had to record the contract because they obviously weren’t there to sign it, and it was to save (obviously) our behinds as well as theirs, should anything go awry. The recording of contracts -did- come in handy. Not only was it useful when a client had a question about their personal contract, because we could go back and listen and make sure we were both on the same page – – but if an agreement was breeched, well…there you go.

    Personally, I think recording phone conversations for customer service is a good idea. Having been a manager FOR customer service, it was nice to know that I could make sure the people I worked with weren’t being idiots or rude to the people that called for help. So, yeah – – in a way it really is quality assurance.


    1. Excellent. I was hoping for feedback from the “other side,” too. 🙂 I also handle some customer service calls but we never record. We’re not that savvy.

      And I have been on calls where I’m ordering something and someone comes on the phone and says, “We’re now going to start recording to discuss the contract and your answers to a few questions.” I have no problem with that. What I object to is the blanket assumption that the company I call reserves the right to record anything I say every single time I call. That is essentially what statements like “this call may be monitored and/or recorded for quality assurance” accomplish.

      I also believe that companies that say this should also have a policy regarding how to handle opt-out requests from their customers. I have no doubt that in some situations the company will put you on hold, do nothing, then come back on and say, “Ok, recording has been turned off.” Yeah, right!

      I’ve also been told, “We can’t do that.” That puts me the customer in a very difficult position. Either give up my rights to continue the call or take everything to US Mail for the awesome privilege of being their customer. I don’t call either of those options “service” at all!

      As always, this is all just my ever-so-humble opinion. 🙂


      1. unabridgedgirl

        I do know that if a customer didn’t want us to record them, we had the right not to continue with the contract for legal reason. I also know that if we recorded them without their knowledge or consent (so, if they said they didn’t want to be recorded? No recording!), we could be sued.


      2. unabridgedgirl

        OH, and when we started to record the contract, they HAD to agree to it. I think the exact wording I used was, “Do you understand and consent that the following conversation will be recorded…(insert a lot of legal terms here).”


  2. Here is an excellent read on this kind of thing:

    Well, Glass and Snyder called MCI in yet another attempt to resolve the phone dispute – and they started to record the call for broadcast. Intriguingly, MCI denied permission to have customer calls recorded by the customer, even though MCI (as do most major companies) routinely records customer calls without permission “for quality assurance.” Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

    This Call May Be Recorded for Quality Assurance

    However, I would take a minor quibble with the “without permission” assertion in the paragraph above. If the company tells you it “may” record you and you continue the call without objection, I think it could be argued that the recording was done with your consent.


  3. Thanks, Kenzie! I’ve only done the contract by phone thing a couple of times, and I certainly don’t begrudge recording in that situation. In fact, I remember having no problem with it either time it happened since it was getting me to some goods and/or services I wanted. They told me when recording started – they were very clear about it – and when recording had stopped. I think that was a great way to handle it.


  4. I’ve never thought to tell them that i didn’t want to be recorded, I mean it never even crossed my mind. Although now that you’ve brought it up I may have to give it a shot next time!


    1. Oh, it always crosses my mind. If you try it let us know how it goes. 🙂


  5. Hmm, I wonder what evilness these companies could do with all those sound bytes. I have left some doozers comments (mainly in Bangladesh and India) , when I’ve had problems with my Internet and phone!!!


  6. Wow — great idea, I think I’ll try it! You know what’s so wierd? I’m so used to hearing all that stuff that I didn’t even question it! Thanks for the heads up! I really do have to get out of “automatic” mode!


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