If a customer secretly recorded me without my consent while I was on their private property, is that recording admissible in small claims court?

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If a customer secretly recorded me without my consent while I was on their private property, is that recording admissible in small claims court?

A customer has threatened to sue me because of an oral guarantee he claims I made regarding my service. I do not recall making any such guarantee, as I never make any guarantees, oral or written, regarding the type of service he had done. I do not know if he made any recording he never informed me of such, but I want to know if it would be admissible in court should a recording be presented as evidence. I am in California.

Asked on August 4, 2016 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely not admissible and the customer could potentially face legal liability for unauthorized recording of a conversation. That is because your state is a "two-party" consent state (which really should be called an "all-party" consent state), which means that *everyone* participating in a conversation must agree to be taped; if you were unware you were being recorded, the recording was illegal (since if you are not aware, you obviously cannot consent). If he threatens you with this or tries to use it against you, you can report him to the authorities. For reference, see California Penal Code Section 632.


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