Once again, home improvement contractors attracted the most consumer complaints in New Jersey. The 2014 list was released Monday by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Dmitry Kalinovsky, ThinkStock

Among the approximately 10,000 formal complaints filed with the division last year, more than 1,250 involved home improvement issues, from accusations of fraud to unfulfilled contracts. The category has topped New Jersey's top 10 year after year.

"Motor vehicles" kept its No. 2 position, with 1,244 consumer complaints.

At No. 3 was "professional services," such as physicians, lawyers, accountants and medical labs. The top 10 also included health clubs, banks and financial institutions, debt collection and miscellaneous scams.

"We received over 71,000 calls on various consumer complaints," said Steve Lee, DCA's acting director.

Third-party energy suppliers were a new addition to the list, debuting at No. 4.

The state went after these suppliers aggressively in 2014 for, among other things, failing to deliver the savings they promised. One company agreed to pay $2.1 million in consumer restitution.

Lee said consumers would be wise to "learn as much as possible about a company" before choosing to do business with one.

"Learn about their reputation," he said. "Learn about any online rankings or reviews that could help you make decisions."

Also, he said, don't blindly believe promises from salespeople. Read and understand contracts before signing.

Consumers can file a formal complaint with the DCA online or by calling 1-800-242-5846.