How Do I Legally Record a Creditor Phone Call Under Illinois Law?
Mark Jones: Recording a Creditor Phone Call
As part of his consumer defense strategy, Mark has been advised to record phone calls from his creditors. Mark is preparing to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and his attorney has already notified his creditors that they are to cease calling Mark. One of Mark's creditors has continued to call Mark at least three times a day. Mark always records the date and time of the calls on his phone call log. When Mark has time to answer the calls, he waits to get a live person on the phone, turns on his microcassette recorder, and says, "I am recording this phone call. If you continue to speak to me, you consent to being recorded." Sometimes the caller hangs up. Other times the caller continues to speak to Mark.
On one such occasion, the caller replied, "Do whatever the f**k you want, deadbeat. We're going to have the sheriff come out to your house and arrest you if you don't pay this debt today." Mark informs the debt collector that he is only to contact Mark's attorney. Mark then politely ends the phone call. Mark notes the date and time of the call, as well as the collector's name before he stops recording. He writes the details of the call on his phone log and stores the tape in a safe place. Based on these facts, Mark has 4 valid claims against the debt collection company for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. He also has a claim based on the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.