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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 6, ISSUE 6 - JUNE 2013

In This Issue

Should I Repair or Replace My Used Car?

Did You Get Your New Diamond Certified Directory?

San Francisco Prepares for Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program

Consumer Feedback:
A & J Fencing

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

Hiring a Limo Service

Plate Like a Pro

Which Dance Studio is Right for You?

Diamond Certified Quick Links






Read this newsletter and prior issues at Diamond Certified Newsletter Twitter

Should I Repair or Replace My Used Car?

A technician at Auto Medics, a Diamond Certified company, performs a repair on a customer’s car.

A couple months ago, I wrote about different ways to determine the fair market value of a used car that you’re planning to buy or sell. That column prompted a Diamond Certified auto repair shop owner, Kris Cesena with Auto Medics, to suggest a related topic: How to evaluate your options when faced with an expensive repair to an older car.

Ms. Cesena says a good mechanic will help you decide whether to repair or replace your used car. Let’s say your 1998 Honda Civic needs a new head gasket—a repair that costs about $2,000. The first thing you should consider is what you’ll do if you don’t pay for the repair. Can you get by without a car? Do you have an extra car to use? Will you buy a newer used car or a brand-new car? Before deciding on a course of action, look at the real cost of buying a new car, which often includes a monthly payment, sales tax, higher registration fees and a higher insurance premium. And don’t forget about the usual maintenance costs that come with owning any car, like oil changes and tire rotations.

Good used cars last about 15 years or 200,000 miles these days, so it’s wise to give the repair option serious consideration and get your mechanic’s honest opinion. When guided through the process of analyzing their options, many people realize that fixing an old car is usually a better financial decision.

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer


Did You Get Your New Diamond Certified Directory?

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card

In April, the 2013 Diamond Certified Directory started mailing to households and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Have you received your free copy in the mail yet? Each top-rated Diamond Certified company is represented with a full-page profile that features a researched article and list of services, a graphical depiction of actual ratings results, verbatim survey responses from real customers, and more. Visit to request your free copy today!


San Francisco Prepares for Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Program

A recent retrofit project in San Francisco by Gaelic Construction, a Diamond Certified company.

As of June 18, 2013, if you own a residential building of a certain size in San Francisco, you’ll be required to seismically retrofit it. The law specifically applies to wood frame buildings with “soft stories,” which means buildings with three or more stories, or two stories above a basement or underfloor area that has any portion extending above grade. The buildings must contain five or more units to comply with the new rules.

Ivan Diviney, owner of Diviney Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company, explains why soft story buildings are so dangerous: “During an earthquake, large openings on the ground floor (like garage doors or commercial spaces with large window and door openings) are especially vulnerable. These openings have no shear structure to stop a ‘soft story’ from failing, which means residents who live above them are at high risk. Even if the upper floor is structurally sound, the base of the building isn’t, so gravity will take its course.”

It’s imperative that you hire a competent and experienced contractor who specializes in foundation work to handle your retrofit. According to Jerry Deasy, owner of Gaelic Construction, a Diamond Certified company, any retrofit project should start with a thorough assessment to check the levels of your home. “Determining what needs to be done to strengthen the structure depends on a number of factors,” he says. “For example, you have to look at where the building is in San Francisco and consider the soil, the height of the structure, and the adjacent buildings. One big problem I find is many buildings don’t have footings to support them, or the footings aren’t set deep enough to stabilize them in case of an earthquake.”

Some buildings are exempt from the new requirements, including those that have been seismically strengthened within 15 years of the law’s effective date. For many more details on the exemptions, permit process and what you can do if you can’t afford the mandatory improvements, go to


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Subject: A & J Fencing

A & J Fencing took care of anything we wanted done. I couldn’t have done better myself. Someone came out a few months after the job was complete and made sure we were happy. I really liked that. They built us some beautiful arbors that are really neat. —A. & K.R.


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

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

Green Mechanics

Fremont - (510) 344-7035
Majestic Painters
Livermore - (925) 331-0364

Castle Craftsmen

Richmond - (510) 244-4356

MARIN county
Alain Pinel Realtor - Suzanne Shelhart

Corte Madera - (415) 886-2910

Michael Sack Painting, Inc.

San Francisco - (415) 862-7780

Pedro’s Moving Services, Inc.
San Francisco - (415) 890-2173

SAN MATEO county
North South Construction, Inc.

San Mateo - (415) 508-3507

Branham Family Eye Care -
Keith D. Chow, O.D., Inc.

San Jose - (408) 827-1585

Los Gatos Auto Service, Inc.
Campbell - (408) 409-4727

Killroy Pest Control
Campbell - (408) 643-0667

Mightymite Termite Services
Campbell - (888) 729-1253

Proven Termite Solutions
San Jose - (877) 630-1288

Reliant Auto Repair
San Jose - (408) 884-0296

Wright’s Chiropractic
Santa Rosa - (707) 219-8261

American Ratings Corporation - Diamond Certified • 504 Redwood Blvd. • Suite 210 Novato, California 94947 • (877) 312-1307
©2013 American Ratings Corporation  

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