New Jersey made it a point in 2014 to go after home improvement contractors who weren't following the rules. In the end, violation notices were filed against a total of 130 contractors, seeking more than $2.1 million in civil penalties and customer refunds.

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In the fourth quarter alone, 35 contractors were cited for alleged violations.

Some allegedly failed to register with the state. Others never completed work that had already been paid for, or ignored the state law that requires a written contract for projects costing more than $500.

"We're going to keep announcing these actions every quarter throughout this upcoming year, and probably the year after that," said Steve Lee, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

Lee said the number of citations related to Superstorm Sandy may increase as rebuilding gains momentum. He estimated that 10 percent of 2014's alleged violations involved Sandy projects.

"There are a lot of properties throughout New Jersey that still need work from these contractors," he said. "So what we're trying to do is be proactive and make sure that these contractors know that we're out there."

For the third year in a row, "Home Improvements" ranked as the number one complaint category among New Jersey consumers.