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Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the keep-the-recording-handy dept.

Businesses 368

An anonymous reader writes In yet another example of the quality of Comcast's customer service, a story surfaced today of a Comcast customer who was over-charged for a service that was never provided. At first, the consumer seemed to be on the losing end of a customer service conversation, with Comcast insisting that the charges were fair. But then, the consumer whipped out a recording of a previous conversation that he had with another Comcast representative in which not only was the consumer promised that he wouldn't be charged for services not rendered, but the reason why was explained. Suddenly Comcast conceded, and the fees were dropped. But most telling of all, the Comcast rep implied that she only dropped them because he had taped his previous interaction with Comcast customer service. I wish I had recordings of every conversation that I've ever had with AT&T, the USPS, and the landlord I once had in Philadelphia. Lifehacker posted last year a few tips on the practicality of recording phone calls, using Google Voice, a VoIP service, or a dedicated app. Can anyone update their advice by recommending a good Android app (or iOS, for that matter) designed specifically to record sales and service calls, complete with automated notice?

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Automated notice not necessary here (5, Informative)

sideslash (1865434) | about 2 months ago | (#47654571)

In my state, only one party needs to be aware of a recorded conversation, and it's perfectly fine for that to be the person doing the recording.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 2 months ago | (#47654595)

Same for Texas

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654599)

In my country, you would be executed for homosexuality. Fag.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 months ago | (#47654621)

Wow, I didn't know it was a state thing instead of a Federal thing. Anyone got a full list by state of what's allowed?

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (5, Informative)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 months ago | (#47654725)

At the expense of being a karma whore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47654735)

It could be better formatted; but our wiki overlords [wikipedia.org] have you covered.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654757)

Wow, I didn't know it was a state thing instead of a Federal thing. Anyone got a full list by state of what's allowed?

It's on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws#United_States

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1, Troll)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47654891)

It should be at the state level in the United States. Federal should only be concerned with international and interstate issues, but they can't stop themselves from meddling.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47655093)

Federal should only be concerned with international and interstate issues

Such as a phone call that crosses state lines, right?

Re: Automated notice not necessary here (-1)

Dzimas (547818) | about 2 months ago | (#47655127)

Actually, it makes no sense to have different recording laws at the state level, nor should "state meddling" supercede "federal meddling."

What about Oregon and Washington? (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 2 months ago | (#47654627)

In other states, like Oregon, part of the recording must include a question about whether it is okay to record, and the answer. So the question is asked twice.

Does anyone know whether it is okay to record conversations when the other party's recorded message says the call is recorded? Washington state and Oregon are 2 about which I'd like to know, with links to the law.

It's crazy that each state has its own laws! It's crazy that Comcast is allowed to be so abusive. CenturyLink, the phone company in Oregon and SW Washington state, is also hostile to customers, in my experience. We are becoming a country where the rich can do anything they want to everyone else.

Is the answer always to record? If legal, I think yes.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 2 months ago | (#47654693)

Most Custiomer service calls says they are recording the conversation for training purpose (Surprise! talk on the phone now needs training), So when they do so It is usually implied that you can. In any case, the point is not to use the recording to sue them (so in case it may not be legally obtained) but to release it to public to drive their PR to the ground.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (5, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 months ago | (#47654897)

I'm willing to be damaging a companies reputation with an illegal recording is going to get you into trouble, but I've always taken "this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" to mean I am allowed to record, to assure quality service.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 2 months ago | (#47655013)

Most Custiomer service calls says they are recording the conversation for training purpose (Surprise! talk on the phone now needs training), So when they do so It is usually implied that you can. In any case, the point is not to use the recording to sue them (so in case it may not be legally obtained) but to release it to public to drive their PR to the ground.

It's their customer service that's driving their PR to the ground, the recorded calls are just a vehicle for that.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (5, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about 2 months ago | (#47654827)

I suppose, once you know when the bot is going to say that line, just preemptively ask it:

Can I record this call?

Then when it says

This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.

They almost certainly wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 months ago | (#47654951)

Great tip!

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (3, Informative)

aclarke (307017) | about 2 months ago | (#47655153)

I wouldn't even say you need to go that far. "This call may be recorded..." sounds like permission to me. Thanks! I think I WILL record it.

To answer the original poster, I recently switched our home phone to VOIP using voip.ms [www.voip.ms] . I use the iOS app Groundwire [acrobits.cz] to make and receive calls using my mobile phone as one of my methods for using my old land line number. Groundwire has easy one-button recording, with optional beeping to remind the other party that the call is being recorded.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 months ago | (#47654831)

Unless you're calling your local Comcast office you're calling across state lines. If you do anything across state lines it falls to the Feds which are 1 party.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

GGardner (97375) | about 2 months ago | (#47654961)

How am I supposed to know, when calling a 1-800 number, where the call center is? It _might_ be in my state, in which case a different set of laws applies.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654873)

"It's crazy that each state has its own laws!"

This attitude always amazes me. That is the entire point of the United States!

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654963)

> We are becoming a country where the rich can do anything they want to everyone else.

FWIW - Actions without accountability is the fundamental definition of power. Anytime you hear about a rich person getting away with a slap-on-the-wrist for a crime that a normal person would go to jail for, that's power. It is also the reason why, despite using drugs in equal proportion, blacks are incarcerated 10x more often for drug crimes than whites are.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (2)

Nukenbar (215420) | about 2 months ago | (#47655041)

Most of the time, it is an automated message saying that the call may be recorded from their side. Can I just respond back to the automated message that the call may be recorded from my side?

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

adamstew (909658) | about 2 months ago | (#47655149)

I would think that once both parties have agreed that the call is going to be recorded (via the automated message) that you would have no legal issues with recording the call yourself. Basically, as long as proper consent has been given to record the call (whether it's a 1-party state or 2-party state), then it doesn't matter who is doing the recording or where.

IANAL. Not legal advice, etc. etc.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 2 months ago | (#47655173)

Note that they don't say "we may record this call", they generally state that "this call may be recorded". That sounds to me as much like permission as it does notification.

Re:What about Oregon and Washington? (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 months ago | (#47655195)

We are becoming a country where the rich can do anything they want to everyone else.

Comcast and CenturyLink are corporations; they are not "rich" people, corporate personhood aside. More importantly, they are public utilities. Government has created corporations and offered privileges to utilities, so that's where the problem lies-- not with "rich" people.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (5, Funny)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 2 months ago | (#47654671)

In my state all the calls are recorded anonymously for my safety as well as the safety of my country. Freedom isn't free after all.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#47654833)

What do you have to hide, citizen?

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 months ago | (#47654987)

In my state all the calls are recorded anonymously for my safety as well as the safety of my country. Freedom isn't free after all.

Hmm, let's see...

In my state all the calls are recorded anonymously for my safety as well as the safety of my country. Freedom isn't freedom, after all.

There, FTFY. :(

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47654689)

In my state, only one party needs to be aware of a recorded conversation, and it's perfectly fine for that to be the person doing the recording.

I'm glad you mentioned state here, as that is critically important. In fact the legality of recording and then using at a later date is perhaps the most important aspect of this entire idea. Know your laws.

Wiki of the recording consent laws, listed by country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (4, Interesting)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 months ago | (#47654711)

Just wondering, if the other party says the call may be recorded, does that mean its legal for me to record also? Seems fair that if they ask the question they are giving tacit approval for me to record.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654721)

The same is true in California, unless the conversation involves more than two people.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654739)

"This conversation may be recorded for quality purposes"

They are already recording and consenting to it.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47654883)

In my state, only one party needs to be aware of a recorded conversation, and it's perfectly fine for that to be the person doing the recording.

Most companies pre-announce that calls will be recorded for quality assurance. As long as your recording includes that announcement, then the remote party has consented.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 2 months ago | (#47654905)

In my state, only one party needs to be aware of a recorded conversation, and it's perfectly fine for that to be the person doing the recording.

Be careful here. When the two parties on the call are in different states, the rules can change and it becomes a little more complicated. The way courts have come down on this in the past you need to make sure that you are within the law for both your state and the state of the person on the other end. Generally, it comes down to the most restrictive laws win. So if you live in a single party consent state but are on the phone with a person in a two-party state, legally you have to notify them, and it's your responsibility to know if this is required or not. Now, in the case of someone like Comcast, it's very unlikely they would come after you for it (not to mention they probably gave consent when they told you that they may record the call) but it's something to be aware of.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655193)

My state says that only one party must consent. I can record without the other party's consent.

The issue is the other party's state.
- If the other party is a one-party-consent state, I've already consented and it's OK.
- If the other party is a two-party-consent state, their law doesn't apply to me. Federal law governs a situation where differing laws in different states conflict on a matter. Since Federal law is essentially one-party-consent, the two-party-consent state can go fly a kite. If someone brings a case against you based on this, get it promoted up to a federal court where they will lose. This should be a fairly easy transition, since it's an interstate dispute.

So if you live in a two-party-consent state, you might be OK to record the other end without a hassle, but you'd better ask just to be sure. If you live in a one-party-consent state, do what you like. Your consent counts for your state's law and federal law agrees.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655011)

In GA you do not need to notify the other parties being recorded as long as you are one of the parties. Other states like Virginia require all parties to be notified prior to recording.

Re:Automated notice not necessary here (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about 2 months ago | (#47655103)

Incorrect -- Virginia is a one party notification state, just like Georgia. See the breakdown here [wikipedia.org] .

Lick my balls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654579)

Faggot

They're Monopolies (4, Insightful)

fortfive (1582005) | about 2 months ago | (#47654615)

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

Re:They're Monopolies (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47654861)

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

So, let's all be troublemaking customers. Let's make it as unpleasant and difficult as possible for Comcast to do business. We will be doing the world a service.

Re:They're Monopolies (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 2 months ago | (#47654995)

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

So, let's all be troublemaking customers. Let's make it as unpleasant and difficult as possible for Comcast to do business. We will be doing the world a service.

You will be punishing the service reps, not the people who make policy.

Re:They're Monopolies (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 months ago | (#47655147)

What if we figured out a way to empower the service reps to fuck over their management but still stay within legal employment guidelines? After all, they've got to be the ones who hate all of this the most because they're being paid to be bad guys. And not just that, they probably were in circumstances that compelled them to choose that employment. Like, calling up a service rep and tieing up their line for twenty minutes with complaints and threats to cancel service, but then using the rep's authorization system to get discounts and freebies that end up benefiting you, benefiting the rep, and fucking over the operating costs of Comcast in the long term?

Re:They're Monopolies (1)

adamstew (909658) | about 2 months ago | (#47655169)

I would think that, since they are effective monopolies in the areas they serve, that their franchise agreements don't let them just ditch customers that are troublemaking. I know this is up to each individual municipality, but I would hope there would be conditions in there on who they have to serve and the reasons that are allowed for them to not serve someone.

Simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654623)

Windows: Audacity with a device to plug into your phone line like this one at RadioShack 43-1237

Android: Some phones have this ability like the Samsung Galaxy S3 but it's disabled. For other phones, it's a crapshoot. Try CallRecorder http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1441643

The first rule of fraud is... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47654625)

Don't talk about your fraud on the record... It's not at all surprising that Comcast would do this, the fact that their alignment is apathetic/evil is well known; but it's pretty surprising how open they are about it.

Invoice fraud is a totally classic con; but it depends in part on knowing when not to push it. The target catches on and is angy; do you want to cause a scene and risk discovery or just offer an insincere apology, drop the issue, and move on to the next target? Especially given Comcast's current less-than-winning PR situation (you know it's bad when your cancellation procedure has an AOL guy driven to despair...) there is no way this call would be worth the risk, even if they'd made all the charges stick. Shut up, appease the noisy guy, and cram some befuddled old people or something.

I suspect that the odds of actually being charged are basically zero; but billing 'errors' made in very, very, questionable good faith start to look a lot like mail fraud if they aren't quite isolated incidents(especially given how added charges always seem to be more common than accidentally omitted charges).

I have to record calls for a living... (5, Informative)

jddj (1085169) | about 2 months ago | (#47654629)

I do stakeholder and user interviews, and may not be able to predict what telephony equipment I'll find at a site.

I realize you're asking for a smartphone or VOIP app, but what I've come to rely on is the JK Audio QuickTap: http://www.jkaudio.com/quickta... [jkaudio.com] - it can record both sides from virtually ANY corded-handset phone. Sounds great, it's a passive device, so no batteries, no AC, it's little and comes with the adapters you need for a pocket recorder (like the Olympus recorder I use, but works with a PC/Mac input as well...).

This works nearly anyplace, and sounds great. Whatever you do, DO NOT try the Radio Shack device for cheap cheap that claims to do the same thing. The Radio Shack device has a little switch on it. Position 1 is "Suck", and Position 2 is "Suck Differently". You buy this thing and you've hosed yourself.

Full disc: I don't sell these, have no ownership, employment or other stake with JK Audio: they just make tools that work when I desperately need 'em to, and I love 'em.

No mention of reddit :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654639)

Redditor posts this, Arstechnica picks it up, then Slashdot gets it and fails to reference reddit? Is that because they compete or am I just overlooking something?

Re:No mention of reddit :-( (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654769)

because fuck reddit

Re:No mention of reddit :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654795)

Practically nobody on the internet gives a fuck about original sources. People link to shitty blogs/news aggregators rather than just linking to the one twitter post that was the whole meat of an article. Hopeless.

Not to mention that major sites are basically clickbait farms now. Tangential junk put up just for add hits or SEO pumping.

Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47654645)

Just about every call I've ever made to a sufficiently-large company has started with the automated disclaimer that "This call may be recorded for quality assurance".

Well then, thank you. They just gave permission. This call may be recorded. Thanks, Comcast!

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47654675)

Correct! So what if I placed an on-demand playback of "This call may be recorded for future review". How many CSRs at the other end would drop my call?

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47654843)

Correct! So what if I placed an on-demand playback of "This call may be recorded for future review". How many CSRs at the other end would drop my call?

In reality, probably none. The CSR likely doesn't have the authority to simply not give you support for that reason. That would be the beauty of using something like that.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 2 months ago | (#47654849)

Correct! So what if I placed an on-demand playback of "This call may be recorded for future review". How many CSRs at the other end would drop my call?

You're missing the point. If they give notice that "this call may be recorded" then that covers *both* parties. Either one of you may record legally at that point.

I live in a "one-party" state (TN) and used to live in another (IN) so it's never been a concern to me if I wanted to record, and I definitely have. One of my best calls was with a idiot Comcast rep - surprise, surprise.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (5, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | about 2 months ago | (#47654747)

With any call to a place of business, credit card company, whatever - always start with the agent by telling them that you are recording the call (even if you don't - it covers your bases) - all of a sudden their attitudes will be very different and of course if you are recording then there is no question on legality. Works every time I've done it.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (2)

Dagmar d'Surreal (5939) | about 2 months ago | (#47654835)

Nope. If you live in a two-party consent state (which is where these notifications could potentially very seriously matter) that satisfies the requirement that all parties be aware that the company you're calling is recording, but does not satisfy the requirement that all parties have been notified that you are recording. Scrutinize http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org] carefully to determine under which jurisdiction you live, because that's what matters.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 months ago | (#47654949)

Is this entirely true?

If they say "this call may be recorded for quality assurance", I'd think that's their consent to my recording, after all, these recordings are attempts to assure the quality of customer service.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47655029)

Generally no; them providing notice to you that they're recording isn't the same as you providing notice to them that you're also recording.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (3, Insightful)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about 2 months ago | (#47655117)

The statement of permission is that "this call may be recorded", not "we may record this call". The statement does not distinguish the party permitted to make the recording. IANAL, but that is plain English.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47655021)

Surely there's some legal principle (with a latin name that translates to something like "what's good for the goose is good for the gander") that automatically gives you the right to record the call if they claim it themselves.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 2 months ago | (#47655065)

Well if the message is literally saying, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance," then couldn't you take that as permission. It doesn't specify who should do the recording, it just says it "may be recorded". Like, "Yes, you may go to the bathroom. This phone call also may be recorded."

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (3, Informative)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 2 months ago | (#47654837)

Are you sure of the legal basis of this? Or is it just logic?

Because in my state, the wording means their recording is legal but mine is not. So that makes me think people should not rely on logic for legal matters.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47654977)

Are you sure of the legal basis of this? Or is it just logic?

Just logic, and yeah, I know, law != logic.

Interestingly, though, Washington (one of the 10(ish) two-party states) specifically addresses and allows the loophole I mention.

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655001)

> Because in my state, the wording means their recording is legal but mine is not.

I've seen other internet commentators make similar statements. But I've yet to see some legal authority to back it up. Can you cite a case where someone made a recording under those conditions and got in trouble for it? Or a statement by a judge on the matter? Maybe even just a statement by an unbiased lawyer (as in one who wasn't currently representing someone with an interest in the law being interpreted either way)?

Re:Legal pemission? THEY GIVE IT! (3, Interesting)

brindafella (702231) | about 2 months ago | (#47654967)

True! "This call may be recorded..." is a bi-directional statement. I love the logic.

Also, if in doubt, as you hear the 'statement', repeat their exact words into the phone.

And, if in further doubt, when a real human comes on the line, ask, "Do you agree?" If the answer is a spluttering 'Yes' then.... or if 'No' then say "Please review your recording of his call, and I'll wait on the line as you do that." And, listen to what happens; It's likely to be hilarious! ;-)

Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47654659)

Is it just because of "wiretap" laws? It seems like it would be a pretty trivial feature to add to smartphones. It's also easy to see how it could be very easily enhanced beyond simple audio files -- automated or selective recording of only some calls ("Answer and record", "record all calls" flag in contacts, speech-to-text, and so on).

Recording calls USED to be very easy -- $5 telephone pickup from Radio Shaft and a cassette recorder.

Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 2 months ago | (#47654703)

It is a feature, but it's only available to the NSA.

Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (2)

Dagmar d'Surreal (5939) | about 2 months ago | (#47654797)

It's because cell phone companies are cowards and are worried they might get sued, basically. ...also, they are probably more than a little nervous about having the feature used against them when their sales/support representatives lie about something.

The feature is actually part of Android, but apparently requires some driver magic to get the audio streams from the radio, and without that support you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get it working. Expect to try a few apps before you find one that works properly and reliably. Also, check your local statutes to find out whether or not your jurisdiction is one-party consent (meaning only one particiapant--typically you--has to know the recording is taking place) or is a two-party consent area where you must inform the other party that the call is being recorded or it's considered an illegal wiretap. I've yet to see any app that does OGM notifications of recording.

That having been said, Tennessee is a one-party consent state, which means I only have to worry about whether or not I am aware of a call being recorded. Skvalex has an application called (rather unimaginatively) Call Recorder that has worked on both the Samsung Galaxy S2 I used to have as well as the Samsung Galaxy S3 I currently have (using the ALSA method), and I've been using it for awhile. It's fairly inobtrusive, can record straight to the external SDCard, and can be configured to delete messages older than X days (unless you flag them as favorites) or limit the number of messsages and/or total amount of space used.

If your friends complain about having their calls to you recorded, tell them to STFU and install RedPhone already (or pick better friends) because the NSA is for damn sure recording their calls.

I have used Call Recorder to burn sleazy telemarketers ("FSS Secure" ring a bell for anyone?) on a few occasions now, and I'm about to make YouTube celebrities out of some "Academic Advisor" people.

Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654913)

Recording still is easy on some phones. I use Android and rooted/custom ROMs. Cyanogen does NOT (and will not), but most of the custom ROMS do support recording at least via third party (e.g. API is there).

I use BoneStock and I have a record button on my call screen. Press it and it starts recording both sides (e.g. not via the mic).

So, if recording is something of value, take a look into that.

Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47654989)

Is it just because of "wiretap" laws? It seems like it would be a pretty trivial feature to add to smartphones. It's also easy to see how it could be very easily enhanced beyond simple audio files -- automated or selective recording of only some calls ("Answer and record", "record all calls" flag in contacts, speech-to-text, and so on).

Recording calls USED to be very easy -- $5 telephone pickup from Radio Shaft and a cassette recorder.

It's still easy to record telephone conversations (speakerphones, digital handheld recorders, and likely apps). What is not so trivial is the average consumer actually using those recordings to their advantage without violating state or federal law.

Besides, would you really want this to be a prevalent feature on smartphones? All of your friends having recordings of your phone conversations? Apps being dropped on the phone that access and share these recordings (via the EULA no one reads anyway). How long before the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram app simply turns on recording and sharing by default, leaving you scrambling to secure your new eavesdropping spy-phone? We act like the current data collection methods aren't intrusive enough.

And yes, it is very sad to think about new and cool technology in this way, but it's the sad reality of the world we live in. One should question how new tech will be abused. It's certainly no longer a question of "if" anymore.

Theft (2)

anmre (2956771) | about 2 months ago | (#47654679)

"Over-charged" in this context implies that the bill was too high -- like when your waiter "charges" you for an extra cola that you didn't actually order. When you point it out to him, he goes back and prints a new check before you pay him. What mega-corporations like Comcast will do is simply ding your credit card on file without authorization for a product or service which was neither requested nor provided. Taking something which you aren't entitled to is theft, so let's call this what is: THEFT.

Re:Theft (1)

devman (1163205) | about 2 months ago | (#47655177)

This is exactly the reason I use electronic bill pay through my bank and don't use the service providers auto pay system. I like to see the bill before I authorize payment.

That's why I use chat instead of phone (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 2 months ago | (#47654681)

Just yesterday I had to engage with my ISP's support folks to resolve a network speed issue. Fortunately, I had saved the chat sessions from when the same problem occurred two years ago. I ended up pasting part of a previous chat session into the current chat session so that the CSR could see what worked last time. Result: problem resolved in hours, not days

Re:That's why I use chat instead of phone (2)

geek (5680) | about 2 months ago | (#47654783)

Just yesterday I had to engage with my ISP's support folks to resolve a network speed issue. Fortunately, I had saved the chat sessions from when the same problem occurred two years ago. I ended up pasting part of a previous chat session into the current chat session so that the CSR could see what worked last time. Result: problem resolved in hours, not days

I too prefer chat but I ran into a problem while canceling CenturyLink service. They refuse to cancel unless you call them and speak to a "retention specialist". I was furious so I told them in chat that I was deaf and could not speak to a specialist by phone. They told me that was unfortunate but was the only way to cancel.

About 20 minutes of back and forth with them I informed them it was illegal to deny my request based on the people with disabilities act. Within 10 minutes they canceled my account via online chat. It's sad I have to lie to these mother fuckers to close an account. They basically ensured I will never, under any circumstances, do business with them again.

Re:That's why I use chat instead of phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655023)

If you ever have to use that lie again, you probably want to get the name of the law correct, it is the ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act.

Android and call recording (0)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 months ago | (#47654737)

I don't think Android lets you record phone calls properly. I know there are a few apps that turn on speaker phone and then record all audio from the microphone, but the audio quality sucks. As far as I know, Android never gives access to the audio stream to userland space at all. It's one thing I dislike about it, I've wanted a good call recorder myself on Android, too. My old Nokia N900, running Maemo, does let you record both incoming and outgoing sound and gives you proper recording.

Re:Android and call recording (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 2 months ago | (#47654919)

The Voice Record app works fine for me. Like I said below, I typically use it to record meetings for review later, but I've used it on phone calls. It's not a professional recording setup, but it works fine for recording calls.

It's pretty god damn easy (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 2 months ago | (#47654745)

Use your smart phone. It's got a recording app that works when you call people, and the quality of my recordings have been surprisingly good. I usually use it to record sessions with clients so I can review them later, but it would work in a pinch for CS calls.

What about for iPhone? or Windows Phone? (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 months ago | (#47655175)

Any options for those of us who aren't running Android? Any workarounds or recommendations? This is a great idea, I just haven't read any suggestions or tips on this thread about how to record using iPhone or Windows phone.

Record every call (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 months ago | (#47654753)

I've been using a call recorder app for about half a year now; great not only for rare cases like these, but also for replaying a conversation to get a name or phonenumber or some other detail you've forgotten.

Re:Record every call (2)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 2 months ago | (#47654819)

The question was "can anyone recommend a good app", and your reply is, "I've been using a good app".. I think your post would serve better had it posted the suggested app that you're apparently happy with, no?

Re:Record every call (2)

jason331 (1349509) | about 2 months ago | (#47655037)

I use TotalRecall for my android cell and it works great. The paid version seems to work better for me and I believe it was only a few dollars to purchase. At home I have an Asterisk server running PBX in a flash. I use a Linksys SPA3201 adapter for my house phones and it works beautifully. All calls made to and from my home number are automatically recorded. Since I live in Texas (one-party consent state), I consent to all the recordings.

Re:Record every call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655057)

lol! Standard internet douche self-absorption.

My pet peeve are people on the deal sites like fatwallet who talk about how what a great price they got at their "local" branch of some chain of stores without identifying what city they are in. Its the mental equivalent of public masturbation - a post that has absolutely no value to the reader, it just makes the writer feel good about themselves.

Re:Record every call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655197)

What about the replies to the questions in Amazon, where the person answers, "I don't know"? Completely helpful, thanks for contributing!

Re:Record every call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655167)

I can recommend a good app. Bad apps are terrible. A good app is definitely the way to go.

Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them out. (5, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | about 2 months ago | (#47654803)

Natural monopolies should never be for profit. This is what happens when you pay lip service to free market capitalism and fail to regulate. You get natural monoploies acting as either true monopolies or oligopolies.

If you every household who uses comcast turn off their service and spends the 150 a month on Comcast stock even if the stock stayed steady it would take 2 years to buy them out. Then we put Nader, Lessig, et. al on the board and FIRE EVERY FUCKING EXEC AND MANAGER IN THAT FUCK HOLE.

Re:Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them out (4, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 months ago | (#47654921)

Regulated utilities are allowed to make profits. But it's regulated.
That's the problem. Comcast (and other cable cos) are operating in a natural monopoly market area, but lack any and all related regulations that we force companies operating public utilities to operate under. They are being allowed to act as if its a free market, while at the same time enjoying a quasi-utility type natural monopoly.

They should either be
a) forced to operate as regulated public utilities
b) forced into actual competition

Either one would largely fix the current situation.
Right now they are neither, and are enjoying benefits of both A and B, with non of the consequences of either.

Re:Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them out (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47654931)

But it's not a monopoly. Your cable company has a franchise agreement with the local government. They license them to be the only cable operator in the area in exchange for control over the fees and rates the cable company can charge. They do the same thing for Gas, electricity, etc... If you don't like the deal, vote. Local Governments switch cable and telecom companies all the time.

Re:Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them out (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47655045)

Gas, electricity, etc. are typically regulated monopolies though, while Comcast isn't. A company like Georgia Power can't raise its rates without legislative permission, while Comcast can set its rates to whatever it wants.

Re:Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654937)

In order for that to work, people would have to go without their football & oprah for awhile.

Not gonna happen.

Re: Quit COMPLAINING about Comcast and buy them ou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655157)

Lots and lots of whining about Comcast and how bad they are. But they are complete angels compared to the turd of a telco known as Telus. Telus sucks. It's true.

Important: recording not legal some states (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47654901)

Remember that in many states, NSA is the only entity permitted to record a phone conversation without informing and consent (and that probably wouldn't be legal either if the US didn't exert its sovereign immunity). This is why your Comcast call always begins with, "your conversation may be recorded for quality control purposes." They're controlling the quality of their profits, is what it is.

One concrete example I recall came from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. When John Goodman recorded his conversation with her from Maryland, it was okay, but if she'd been two miles away in DC, or ten miles away in Virginia, recording the call with Monica would have been a felony. Don't think for a moment that Comcast will fail to use that as leverage against you.

yeah yeah (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47654969)

"Comcrap screwed me again. I couldn't get them to reverse this charge."

"Why do you do business with them anyway? You regularly call them things like 'comcrap' and are complaining about them constantly. Why not move to another carrier?"

"I'd love to, but they're the only game in my part of town."

(after a few minutes of research) "No they aren't, you have Qwest Fiber available in your area. Why not switch to that?"

"Well, Comcrap is faster. They offer (some speed) and Qwest only offers (some slightly slower speed)."

"Ok, do you really understand what those speeds mean? How much faster is your pr0n going to download at, for instance, 15 Mbps vs 30 Mbps? In real minutes."

"30 is twice as fast."

"That's only the top peak speed possible from the connection. The actual speed can and does vary wildly. Besides, the speed at the head end of the service you're accessing is much more significant."

"I've had comcrap for six years."

"And you've HATED every minute of it! You haven't called the company by its real name in all of that time! You're regularly telling me how they promise a discount and then don't give it to you, or charge you for stuff you haven't ordered, and how you can't get any charges reversed. What the hell?"

"I got a good price on the bundle."

"You never answer your home phone! And you only watch stuff you've illegally downloaded."

"I don't like commercials."

"Ok..." (deep breath) "So, let's summarize. Of the three services you're currently paying for, you only commonly use one of them (internet), so despite the great deal you got on the bundle, any cost you're paying over and above internet is A WASTE OF MONEY. And the company regularly busts your chops. Yet you stay with them. Are you an abused spouse?"

...the conversation doesn't go well from there.

This is only slightly paraphrased from a real conversation. The conclusion I've drawn from speaking to comcast subscribers is that some stick with it under the impression that they're "getting a deal", and some because they have been sold on the idea that "it's the only game in town", but I suspect that some people just like to have something to complain about.

Re:yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655143)

"I got a good price on the bundle."

"You never answer your home phone!"

I hope you don't mind, but could you explain the significance of whether one answers one's home phone in this dialogue?

Recording Apps (4, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 2 months ago | (#47654983)

Here is an article from Lifehacker [lifehacker.com] on how to record incoming calls on your smart phone. It looks hard unless you use Google Voice, and GV only records incoming calls (fear of grey areas around wiretapping laws it seems). Free Android apps seem to record all sound coming in the mic and end up being lower quality recordings.

Re:Recording Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655133)

If you're jailbroken there's a great app for recording all calls, gives you an extra button on your dialer to start/stop recording whenever and a manager to easily email the datestamped data. Also great for anyone that's been in a divorce. Big-data is doing it, you should too. People and Corporations alike should be held responsible for what they say.

Re:Recording Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655205)

And what is the name of this app?

Just pretend you're recording and ask for consent (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 2 months ago | (#47655081)

It's not illegal to say you're recording when you're not (you could have lost the recording). So just tell the Comcast person on the other side you're recording, if they object ask why what are they afraid of. I imagine the conversation will take a different direction when they "know" they are being recorded. And enough people will actually record that they likely won't dare assume you're bluffing.

Better watch your install receipt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655125)

I was helping my girlfriend migrate from her hideous DSL to Comcast...which I've had pretty good service from over the years, but thankfully haven't really needed to deal with customer service.

So, I bought a modem and a wireless router. Soon as the guy had the modem connected and working, I went about configuring the router and getting wifi working, while he installed cable to the TV in the bedroom.

After he left, we looked at the receipt, and the guy charged us for setting up Wifi. When we called Comcast we were told that he charged us because he left with working Wifi. It is one of the most ridiculous statements we ever heard. But, thankfully, when we went into our local Comcast service center, we found someone willing to think, and we were given months of free service to neutralize the cost.

Still...it's stunning that they even thought there was an explanation here beyond just crookedness. If you have the ability to wire up a house, you have enough use of your faculties to know that you did nothing specific to a Wifi installation.

Customer service is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47655163)

I think most anyone has experienced bad customer service. Much of customer service today is about stroking the customer and putting out a line of BS to keep them. Its never about addressing real issues or improving service. If that was the case customer service would have improved 10 fold by now. Part of the issue is the BS teaser services companies like Comcast dangle in the face of customers. Teaser rates are basically there to keep numbers up but it really does little to help a company. Mainly because companies end up spending too much of BS customer service and much less on hiring actually people to provide good service in the first place. It reminds me a lot of AT&T which spends millions on promotions and ads and does little to really improve service to a point that people would actually pay full price for their service. Comcast is certainly not alone in bad customer service, no not in the least. I pretty much expect that if I have issue with a product or service my real options are to do honest negative reviews, and simply not use that product or service again. The people who spend time with long conversations arguing to a customer service reps are more needy then actually doing themselves good. You should not have to spend hours diagnosing a new product that does not work, or put up with lousy service because your getting a deal. If a company cannot provide good customer service. Then they probably are lacking in other areas of the company too. I live in a small town which basically has only Comcast as a reliable ISP broadband provider. For me its been stable and fast and have had very little complaints. I cancelled my TV portion of my Comcast service years ago and never plan on ever using their TV service again. Again, Comcast is not alone as I found the satellite TV services to be just as bad in providing good customer service. We have become a society bent on not paying a lot for many products and services we buy. But the end results are poor support, bad customer services and even diminished product quality.

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