This month, all cell numbers are being released to telemarketing companies which opens the door for you to receive unwanted sales calls. These calls cannot only be a nuisance but cell phones users are charged for the call as well.

Persons who don't want the hassle can call The National Do Not Call Registry toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they want to delete. Only one phone number can be registered each time you call the service but you are allowed up to three numbers in total. If you have more than three personal telephone numbers, you will have to go through the registration process more than once to register all of your numbers.

After you register, your phone number will show up on the registry by the next day and telemarketers have up to 31 days to get your number and remove it from their call lists. They are then required to search the registry every 31 days and delete from their call lists phone numbers.

Even if you do not register with the National Do Not Call Registry, you can still prohibit individual telemarketers from calling by asking them to put you on their company's do not call list.

In 2002, Pennsylvanians were first given the opportunity to avoid these calls by registering for the Do Not Call list. In fact, one million citizens registered in a single two-week period that year, and millions more have since registered. If you prefer to enroll in Pennsylvania's Do Not Call program, the hot line number is 1-888-777-3406.

If you contact the National Do Not Call Registry via the Internet, they can securely store your e-mail address, separate from your telephone number.

The National Do Not Call Registry is only for personal phone numbers. Business-to-business calls and faxes are not covered by the National Do Not Call Registry.

Telephone numbers on the registry will only be removed when they are disconnected and reassigned, or when the consumer chooses to remove a number from the registry. If your number is disconnected and then reconnected, you may need to re-register.

FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers don't call consumers on their cell phones without their consent.

You may also file a complaint if you received a call that used a recorded message instead of a live person (whether or not your number was on the Registry) at the registry's website at www.donotcall.gov or by calling the registry's toll-free number at 1-888-382-1222. You can file your complaint on the registry's website, www.donotcall.gov, using the File a Complaint page. You must provide the date that the company called you and the number that was called and respond to a question asking if the call was a prerecorded message.

If you have questions or complaints regarding the Do Not Call Registry, please contact the FTC by e-mail at dncconsumerinquiry2@ftc.gov, or by mail at: National Do Not Call Registry; Attn: DNC Program Manager; Federal Trade Commission; 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.; Washington, DC 20580.

Being able to block and counter those annoying sales calls is a nice holiday gift for the consumer.