By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The annual list of the country’s top consumer complaints is out, and unsurprisingly, it includes the usual suspects. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan joins us with the Top 10 complaints, plus advice on how to keep your money safe.

The latest list of most common complaints from the Consumer Federation of America finds many of the same scams at the top. The list was compiled from complaints to state and local consumer agencies in 20 states. The Federation’s Susan Grant says, “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.”

So here are the Top 10 Complaints for 2012:

1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, lemons, faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes

2. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work, failure to start or complete the job

3. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes, mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud, credit repair, debt relief services, predatory lending, illegal or abusive debt collection tactics

4. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas service

5. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates, failure to deliver

6. Services: Misrepresentations, shoddy work, failure to have required licenses, failure to perform

7. Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations, do-not-call violations

8. Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions, failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities, deposit and rent disputes, illegal eviction tactics

9. Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice, failure to deliver online purchases

10. Household Goods: Misrepresentations, failure to deliver, faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances

So what can consumers do to avoid being scammed?

It’s simple — just research, research, research. Grant says, “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.”

To read the entire survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, visit:

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