Published: Jul 28, 2010 11:33 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 28, 2010 8:23 AM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla-    In this tough economy, we all want to get the most bang out of our buck, and people aren't being shy when it comes to complaining about bad service or annoying scams.  The Consumer Federation of America is just out with the top consumer complaints, and there were more complaints than usual in 2009.
     
At the top of the list were complaints related to auto sales and repairs.
    
At number two, a sign of the times:  Disputes about credit and debt.
    
Also in the top five:  Home improvement and construction, as well as utility providers such as cable, internet and phone services.  Retailers are also on the list, for selling defective merchandise and problems consumers faced with rebates and gift cards.
        
To avoid becoming an unhappy customer, the C-F-A recommends doing as much homework as you can about a company before you enter a deal, and especially before you hand over money.
    
Get promises in writing, and don't be shy about calling on your own state or local consumer agency for help.