Are you a victim of too many unwanted telemarketing calls? The National Do Not Call Registry gives you the tool to limit telemarketing calls at home or cell phone. The service is free. The Federal Trade Commission manages the National Do Not Call Registry and is enforced by the FCC and state law enforcement officials.

Once you register your phone number, telemarketers covered by the National Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the date you register to remove your number from their call list. They are required to check the registry every 31 days to delete the phone numbers listed.

To register by phone, you can call 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number you want to delete. Always call from the number you are deleting. Your number will be removed from the National Do Not Call Registry by the next day. To verify that your number is on the registry you can call again or check online at www.donotcall.gov.

I’ve listed the following information which answers the most commonly asked questions. It is directly from the National Do Not Call Registry website.

Can I register my cell phone? Yes, you may place your personal cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Call from the cell phone. The registry has accepted cell phone numbers since it opened for registrations in June 2003. 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.

Can I register my business phone number or a fax number? No, the registry is only for personal phone numbers.

How long does my phone number stay registered? 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 I register my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, will it stop all telemarketing calls? No. Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls, but not all. Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you’ve provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. However, if you ask a company with which you have an existing business relationship to place your number on its own do-not-call list, it must honor your request.

My number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. After I bought something from a company, a telemarketer representing that organization called me. Is this a violation? No. By purchasing something from the company, you established a business relationship with the company, unless you ask the company not to call. If they subsequently call you again, they may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000 .An established business relationship with a company also will be created if you make an inquiry to the company, or submit an application to it. This kind of established business relationship exists for three months after the inquiry or application. During this time, the company can call you unless you make a specific request to that company not to call you.

If I don’t want to put my number on the National Do Not Call Registry, can I still stop telemarketers from calling? Yes. 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.

When can I file a do not call complaint? If your number has been on the National Do Not Call Registry for at least 31 days and you receive a call from a telemarketer that you believe is covered by the National Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint at the registry’s website at HYPERLINK “http://www.donotcall.gov/” www.donotcall.gov or by calling the registry’s toll-free number at 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

What happens to my complaint? Do not call complaints will be entered into the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel system. While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint will help the agency investigate the company and could lead to law enforcement action and a fine.

Mary Garza Cummings is a free lance writer. To contact her, email askseniorfocus@aol.com