Last night I received a phone call that I did not pick up because my caller id said 'unavailable number". I let it go to voice mail.
It was 8:45 PM. At night.
Let's state, first off, that I have no issues with telephone townhall meetings by politicians. They are mostly used by honorable representatives as a way to keep in touch with their constituents. Both parties have busy schedules and telephone townhall meetings are a virtual way to get together and discuss the issues. They are unlike robocalls which are telephone spam.
Robocalls do not allow for discourse and discussion. Townhall meetings do.
I do, however, have an issue in general with the fact that often townhall meetings are initiated by robocalls without the voter's permission. (NOTE: in this case I had asked to be contacted by the Congressman). A few Representatives (Virginia Foxx - R-NC) refuse to use robocalls (without permission) and simply advertise a telephone townhall meeting, time, and call in number in their district. This prevents voters from receiving unwanted calls. It does, however, reduce the number of participants.
However, my concern here is that the phone call did not have the required disclosure by FTC regulations.
From a practical point, the Congressman should think about having "Congressman Connolly" on the caller id. Why? Because I would have picked up the call and joined the townhall meeting. When I see "unavailable caller" on my caller id I don't pick up the phone? Do you?
So, the Congressman lost a chance for a constituent (me) who voted for him in 2008 and would have like to participate in the townhall meeting.
FTC regulations require robocalls to have a caller id.
Under the TCPA, pre-recorded calls must state clearly and at the beginning of the call the identity of the party initiating the call. The call also must include the telephone number or address of the party initiating the call so that the person receiving the call will have a fair opportunity to demand not to receive any further calls.
Congressman Connolly, I'd love to participate in a townhall meeting, would you please have a valid caller id for your next one?
Here is part of the voice mail he left last night: