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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 5, ISSUE 6 - JUNE 2012

In This Issue

The “Joy” of Mediation

Diamond Certified Community Giving Project

Getting Safe Manicures and Pedicures

Consumer Feedback:
Best Chimney Sweep

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

Don’t be a Fool.
Stay Cool.

Get Those Ants Under Control

How to Preserve Your Tooth Enamel

Diamond Certified Quick Links






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Read this newsletter and prior issues at Diamond Certified Newsletter Twitter

The “Joy” of Mediation

Joy Lanzaro,
Joy Lanzaro
Director of Mediation & Compliance
Diamond Certified

Today, many different types of disputes are resolved through a process known as mediation. Joy Lanzaro, Director of Mediation and Compliance for the Diamond Certified Program, has extensive experience in the mediation field, and this month, I asked her to share some of her insights about this relatively new form of conflict resolution.

Savvy Consumer: Joy, can you define mediation for us?
Joy Lanzaro: Basically, mediation is a method of resolving conflict between two parties. It’s an alternative to the traditional confrontational and competitive style of settling disputes. In mediation, a neutral third party helps create a mutually agreeable solution.

SC: What are the biggest misconceptions people have about mediation?
JL: Mediation is not the same as arbitration. A mediator is there to guide, test and orient the parties in a creative process; an arbitrator will weigh both sides and use his or her training to determine a settlement. Arbitration involves presenting evidence to an arbitrator in order to receive a legally binding decision, which means the involved parties give up control of the outcome.

Many people also mistakenly think that because a mediator is neutral, they’ll take everything you put forth at face value. A good mediator will tactfully identify key points to be challenged and truth-tested. Sometimes, people equate a challenge with side taking. Consider this example: A mediator tells a party that they’ve presented conflicting information and asks them to determine if there are underlying interests, biases or assumptions. If the party senses the mediator is either “for us or against us,” they may interpret the mediator’s inquiry to be a challenge to their integrity. Ideally, mediators should set expectations ahead of time and build a foundation of trust and rapport.

SC: When is mediation not effective?
JL: Almost any type of case can be mediated, but the same isn’t true for any type of person. Mediation requires self-knowledge, the capacity to see things from multiple perspectives and a willingness to inspect other options. Some personality types are unable to get the most out of the process and may find it easier to simply let a trusted third party tell them what to do.

SC: You’re Director of Mediation and Compliance for the Diamond Certified Program. Can you describe how you help consumers and businesses resolve disagreements?
JL: The process depends on the nature of the dispute, but generally, I start by collecting basic information about the origins of the conflict and any attempts the parties have made to directly resolve it. Then I look at the contract (as well as any supporting documentation) and identify where the parties agree and disagree, listen to both sides and identify how and where expectations weren’t met (both contractually and in regards to how each side was treated by the other), and determine what kind of outcome each party envisions and why. In many of the disputes that come to our attention, the duties and responsibilities of at least one of the parties are fairly well-defined by law, especially with contractors. I’ll discuss each party’s expectations and run through some decision-making exercises until both sides work out a mutually agreeable solution that’s a better option than escalation to court or regulators.

SC: Where can we learn more about mediation in general and, more specifically, Diamond Certified’s Mediation Program?
JL: Consumers can learn more by going to our website, If they have specific questions about mediation services, they can email us at

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Chris Bjorklund

Diamond Certified Community Giving Project

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card

Now when you sign up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer, we will donate $1 to a local charity of your choice. Organizations include The Marine Mammal Center, Parents Helping Parents and Pets Unlimited, to name a few. Membership is always free and comes with numerous benefits, including a special member hotline, members-only access to additional tools on, a double Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee and more. Join now by calling (800) 313-1009 or visiting Become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer today and help us give back to the organizations that have made the Bay Area such a great place to live!

Getting Safe Manicures and Pedicures

Manicure & pedicure
Now that sandal season is here, local nail salons are busier than ever. If you’re going to treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure, choose a salon carefully. Manicurists have to be licensed with the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, but some licensed operators don’t maintain the highest standards. If you encounter a dirty salon, report it to

The best salons make sure all their instruments are cleaned and disinfected after every client. Some safety experts recommend bringing in your own sterilized instruments to avoid the possibility of infections. Any items that aren’t disinfected, like emery boards, buffers and drill bits, should be thrown out after every use. Manicurists should wash their hands after every client. While many salons cut cuticles, dermatologists say it’s better to leave them alone. Ask the manicurist to trim your nails straight across and round the edges in order to keep them strong.

Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Dear Diamond Certified,

Andy from Best Chimney Sweep just cleaned my chimney. He was on time even though we had bad weather today. Both Andy and his helper were professional, organized and worked quickly without dirtying my home. My chimney also needed some repair work—two other companies tried to repair the chain that operates the damper, but both failed within three weeks. As Andy explained, the repair involved more than just putting in new bolts. He installed a molly-like bolt that wouldn’t pull out, and then he presented me with details of my chimney’s health and scoured my log lighter. I would highly recommend Andy and will call him next year.
—Ellen S.

Diamond Certified ® Only companies rated Highest in Quality earn Diamond Certified

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

Alameda county
Dublin Autoworks,
Dublin - (925) 331-0382

Sequoia Painting Inc.
San Anselmo - (415) 523-6069

La Sirenita Tree Service
Marina - (831) 296-3280

San francisco 
Diviney Construction
San Francisco - (415) 523-6064
Phase 2 Builders,
San Francisco - (415) 523-6065

Brian Fitzmaurice General Contractor
San Bruno - (650) 937-9626

Santa Clara county 
All Tune and Lube of Mountain View
Mountain View - (650) 933-4867
Baylands Landscape Management,
Santa Clara - (408) 556-9251
Mehdi M. Vandi, D.D.S.,
Campbell - (408) 290-9870

Santa Cruz COUNTY 
IO Motors
Santa Cruz - (831) 217-3172

Solano COUNTY 
A C A Remodeling Design
Vacaville - (877) 690-2026

American Ratings Corporation - Diamond Certified • 504 Redwood Blvd. • Suite 210 Novato, California 94947 • (877) 312-1307
©2012 American Ratings Corporation  

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