Commissioner Releases Report on Recording Telephone Calls by Real Estate Firm

April 3, 2006

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has determined that CIR Realtors, and its contracted call centre, PDL Mobility Ltd., violated the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) by recording telephone calls.

The complainant (a realtor with CIR at the time) called the organization’s telephone answering service on a number of occasions to see how his incoming calls were handled. The calls were answered by agents with PDL’s call centre. The complainant was unhappy with the answering service, and berated the PDL agents. Recordings of the complainant’s telephone calls were later used by CIR in deciding to terminate the complainant’s contract.

The Investigator in the case determined that CIR contravened PIPA when the call centre collected and used the complainant’s personal information without consent, and without notifying him that his calls were being recorded. PDL was also found to have contravened the Act for collecting the complainant’s personal information for internal purposes without first obtaining consent or notifying the complainant of the purposes for the collection.

As a result of this investigation, CIR requested that PDL discontinue its practice of recording phone calls answered on CIR’s behalf. In response to recommendations made by the Investigator, PDL agreed to:

  • Develop policies and procedures to describe its own internal collection, use and disclosure of personal information through recording telephone calls.
  • Ensure that callers are informed that they are being recorded, the purpose for recording the call and the name of someone who can answer questions about the recording.
  • Develop a procedure for responding to callers who refuse to consent to recording.