All day, every day, readers call me with consumer complaints. I've never kept track, but I'd bet that the villains I hear about most frequently are car dealers and telephone solicitors. But dozens of industries have attracted flies. In the six-plus years I've been writing this column, almost every industry has been "turned in" at least once (yes, wise guy, this newspaper included).

However, I hadn't thought about which industries attract the greatest number of complaints until the Better Business Bureau did that piece of thinking for me.

The BBB is just out with its Terrible Ten -- a report on the 10 most complained-about industries in the Washington area during 1986. Like me, the BBB found that beefs fall all over the lot.

Car dealers lead the way, which ought to amaze exactly no one. Of 13,220 complaints logged by the BBB in 1986, car dealers were responsible for 547.

Dry cleaning and laundry establishments were second, with 286 complaints. Next, in order, were:

3) Auto repair shops (except transmission shops) -- 272.

4) Home furnishing stores -- 262.

5) Health studios -- 216.

6) Travel agencies -- 189.

7) A tie between department stores and roofing contractors -- 172.

9) Magazines ordered by mail -- 170.

10) Gas stations -- 153.

Interestingly, none of the final seven D.C. categories appears in the national Terrible Ten. And the top two categories nationally (ordered product sales and home remodeling companies) don't make the local list. Grist, perhaps, for those who say that Life Inside The Beltway isn't always (isn't ever?) in touch with Life Outside.

In fairness, let's note that complaints logged by the BBB are always investigated, and are not always found to have merit. Please don't think that every car dealer and dry cleaner is a ripoff artist. It ain't so.

What is so is that the BBB deserves congratulations for compiling the list of Terribles. All of us want to see complaints reduced to zero. The BBB has made an important contribution toward achieving that.

I've just finished reading a little card issued by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The card is mailed to every car owner in the state. It explains how to affix those little registration stickers to your Maryland tags.

The card is written in plain English. Its diagrams are crystal clear. There is no way in God's green earth (or in William Donald Schaefer's) that anyone could stick the stickers improperly.

Enter Cathie Rosenfeld of Olney.

"My father was recently hospitalized for almost six weeks at Providence Hospital," she writes. "Living in Olney, {15 miles away} I found myself on the road quite a bit. To amuse myself, I began to examine the license plates and stickers of other Maryland cars.

"This is what I found through my informal survey:

"Plate with just the month (no year) in wrong corner.

"Plates with just the year '87.

"Plate with just the year -- but it was '86.

"Stickers on bottom of tag {top is correct}.

"Stickers on front tags and not on rear ones.

"One sticker on the top and one on the bottom {both on top is correct}.

"Month and year stickers in wrong corners.

"Expired stickers."

Cathie guessed that I'd get a "minor kick" out of these sightings. A major shake of the head is more like it.

"Your readers are in a quandary," writes Chuck Millicent of Bowie. "The headlines on your columns are so consistently good that I wish you'd tell us which editor is responsible for them. I think he or she deserves a bow."

He or she does deserve a bow, Chuck, and I hereby offer a great big collective one to the folks on our Metro copy desk. They edit this column every day -- and they edit it very well.

But the headlines are mine and mine alone. The copy editors give Leveyheads a look after they've been created, but Levey does the creating.

However, I don't agree with Chuck that I'm ready to join the Headline Hall of Fame. I'd call my heads serviceable, but not sensational.

Where then should Chuck look for greatness? My bulletin board wouldn't be a bad beginning. I keep a collection of my all-time favorites there. Let me share the one I consider the best of the best. It sprang from an editor at the New York Post, and it occupies a place of honor on my office wall.

The story was about the door of a plane. The door fell off as the plane passed over Seattle. It nearly brained some poor guy in his back yard.

The head?

CHICKEN LITTLE WAS RIGHT.