A bank recording phone conversation without sufficiently informing customers – Data Protection Principle 1
The complainant was a customer of a bank. After the complainant called the bank customer service hotline, his feedback was referred to a back-end department of the bank for follow-up. When the department called the complainant, it recorded the telephone conversation without informing him. He thus lodged a complaint against the bank.
The bank explained it had informed the complainant of its recording arrangement via the recorded message played to him during his call to the customer service hotline. The same was also stated in the terms of service provided to him upon account opening. At the time of the incident, the back-end department did not require its staff to inform customers of the recording arrangement.
The bank failed to adopt measures to sufficiently and effectively notify its customers of its recording arrangements. Upon PCPD’s interference, the back-end department amended its policy so that during their first contact with customers, they would explain to customers that relevant conversation would be audio-recorded.
PCPD understands that organisations may need to record phone conversations between staff and customers for operational needs. As the conversations may contain personal data, for protection of personal data privacy, customers should be informed of the audio recording arrangement as far as practicable. To this end, simply stating the practice in the account opening documents is not sufficient. Organizations are recommended to step up its efforts to enhance the transparency of their audio recording arrangement. It would not only help avoid misunderstanding and complaints, but also help manifest a high regard for privacy.
(Uploaded in September 2020)