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Call Kurtis: If Companies Record Your Phone Call, Can You Record Them Too?

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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LINCOLN (CBS13) — A Lincoln woman says her cell phone company told her she could get out of her contract because of poor cell reception.

But she later got charged more than $1,600 in early termination fees.

How many times have you been told one thing by customer service, only to have no proof of what they told you?

If the company records your call, can you record them too?

Verizon rep: “In all honesty, I agree with the situation we told you incorrect information.”

After getting hit with a $1,676.92 early termination fee on her Verizon bill, Shannon Boisvert wanted proof, she was told by three different reps, she could cancel without any penalty over poor reception.

When the Verizon rep said they were recording her call?

“I said okay, I’m going to record you too. He said, that’s fine, he didn’t even care. So boom, we hit the record button,” said Shannon.

During the call, the Verizon rep is heard repeatedly admitting the company made a mistake.

Verizon rep: “… Actually remarked on the account that said you could be waived for the early termination fee.  I’m not going to dispute that in any way, shape or form.”

Shannon: “then why are we disputing it?”

But Shannon says the company wouldn’t drop the entire $1600 plus bill.

Verizon rep: “I do feel for your situation.  Yes I agree, we did wrong you. That’s why I’m going to take care of literally 80% pretty much.”

“I’m frustrated, I’m angry because it has gotten this far,” said Shannon.

But you shouldn’t just start recording phone calls, it can be considered wire tapping, which is a federal offense.

UOP McGeorge School of Law professor, John Sims, says in California, both parties must consent to being recorded.  But he says they don’t necessarily need to say they agree to the recording.

“Once you go ahead with the conversation, after you’ve been told it’s recording, you are consenting,” said Sims.

But just because they’re recording you, can you record them?

“I think the safe thing to do would be to say you’re recording? Well, I’m recording too. Now, let’s talk about the issue,” said Sims.

We reached out to Verizon. They didn’t comment on the recorded call, but in an email, they apologized saying:

“In Ms. Boisvert’s case, we didn’t live up to our standards and have since resolved the issue.”

– Heidi Flato, spokesperson

Verizon waived the entire $1600 plus bill.

“I feel vindicated right now, I feel like I stood up for myself,” said Shannon.

Illegally recording calls could send you to federal prison.

It’s also illegal in California and you could serve jail time here, too.

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