A new and improved 'Do Not Call' coming soon to a dinnertime near you?

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Last week, a bill that would enhance the current federal do-not-call registry passed the House of Representatives. The bill is officially titled: "The Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007." The next step is passing the Senate, and this bill would be a definite improvement for consumers.

Currently, consumers register for the do-not-call list, and telemarketers are prohibited from calling their homes except under certain circumstances. After five years, phone numbers are removed from the registry unless consumers re-register.

The pending legislation would discontinue the five year expiration on the registration. Essentially, once you register, you're on the list until you tell them otherwise. Message to telemarketers: Don't ever call us again.I recognize that the do-not-call list has impacted the way companies do business, and for some it has had a devastating effect. However, I think it's important to realize that the consumers putting themselves on this list don't want to be called by telemarketers, so they're really just saving these companies time and money. Instead of having someone call consumers and have the consumers say no, they are getting advance notice of the "no."

Yes, some companies have found creative ways to get around the rules. But the FTC has taken action against some companies violating the law, and that's a good sign for consumers.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.
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