(CNN) – An annual list of the country’s top consumer complaints finds many of the usual suspects, and some new problems on the rise.
The latest list of most common complaints from the Consumer Federation of America finds many of the same scams at the top.
“Auto repairs and sales and home improvement and construction are big-ticket items that consumers are likely to complain about if something goes wrong and credit and debt problems are just always going to be with us,” says Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation.
In addition to autos, home improvement and credit and debt disputes, the list includes:
- Problems with utility billing and services
- Retail complaints
- Misrepresentation of promised services
- Home solicitations, including do-not-call violations
- Landlord tenant disputes
- Internet purchases
- Complaints related to furniture, appliances, and other household goods
The list was compiled from complaints to state and local consumer agencies in 20 states.
Among the fastest-growing gripes:
- Towing disputes
- Landlords and tenant problems
- Abusive debt collection practices
- Telephone service billing issues
- Unlicensed contractors
The best protection can be a consumers’ own research.
“In general, I would say to consumers, don’t be pressured into agreeing to something. Get all of the details of a transaction before you commit, and be sure that you check it out if you have any doubts,” Grant adds.
After all, once money has gone to a scammer it can be tough – even impossible – to get it back.