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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 6, ISSUE 3 - MARCH 2013

In This Issue

How Much is My Used Car Worth?

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Bicycle Helmets:
Be Sure to Get the Right Fit

Consumer Feedback:
Amazing Stone, Inc.

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

A Misconception About New Car Servicing

Preparing for Small Claims Court

Signs of Problem Pruning

Diamond Certified Quick Links






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How Much is My Used Car Worth?

Make sure you know the true value of your car before selling it.

When it came time to sell my 2002 Volkswagen Passat to an acquaintance, I had no idea what it was worth. I wanted to get a good market value for the car, and the buyer was willing to pay a reasonable price, so I used two online valuation tools to determine a fair asking amount. Both Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds are great sources. Here’s how they work:

First, you need to know if the car has any special features or optional equipment (leather seating, for example), as well as the exact model, mileage and condition. The websites will provide definitions of each condition, ranging from “fair” to “excellent.” When you’re finished, you’ll see a chart showing a price range for a private party or dealer sale, as well as a trade-in value for the vehicle.

The dollar values vary somewhat between the two websites. When I investigated why, I discovered that Kelley Blue Book is considered a dealer listing service, while Edmunds’ values are the estimated average selling price for a vehicle based on actual transactions. A third website that’s worth checking out is the National Automobile Dealers Association, which lists new and used car prices according to the NADA guides.

Whether you’re selling your car or buying one from a friend, relative or complete stranger, knowing its true or fair market value can help everyone involved in the negotiation process.

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris BjorklundChris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer


Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card

Have you signed up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer? 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 to make sure you receive a free copy of the 2013 Diamond Certified Directory when it’s released this April! Visit to get started.


Bicycle Helmets: Be Sure to Get the Right Fit

For years I had the same bicycle helmet, and it never fit properly. It would slip back off my forehead and side to side, not matter how I adjusted the straps. When a cyclist friend of mine saw it, he chastised me, saying old helmets lose their structural integrity and don’t protect your head during a hard fall as well as you think. He advised me to throw it away (rather than donate it) and invest in a new one.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different types of helmets at the bike shop, but experts say the most important thing to look for is the fit. A helmet should be worn level, snug and low. To get the right fit, you’ll probably want a helmet with adjustable straps. As a size guide, measure right above your ears and about an inch above your eyebrows. Helmets in all price ranges have to meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s safety standards. You don’t have to spend twice as much to be twice as safe.

The “look” of a helmet is important, too, but you won’t need a full-face mask unless you go downhilling, and visors are more important for mountain biking than road biking. Consider helmets with better ventilation if you get overheated easily.

By the way, if you do have a bad bike crash and bump your head, the protective foam inside will get crushed on impact rather than your skull. The foam is designed for single-use, so you’ll have to buy a new helmet.

Source: Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Subject: Amazing Stone, Inc.

Dear Diamond Certified,

I wanted to let your organization know about the excellent job done by Amazing Stone. My project consisted of a complete tear-down of cabinets and a sink; relocation of gas and water lines; and installation of new countertops, cabinets and a sink.

Mark, our primary installer, worked efficiently and accurately. When the City inspector came to check his work, there was absolutely no problem with the quality. Mark and his brother, Sam, arrived at our home on December 30, 2012 to finish our kitchen because they wanted to make sure we had a working kitchen for New Year’s Eve. That’s what I call excellent customer service.

The countertop installers cut the granite on our patio. After they completed the cuts and installed the countertop, they took the time to wash the patio and left it spotless. Jack Chan, our project manager, made sure all aspects of the installation went smoothly and quickly handled any change requests with the goal of customer satisfaction. In summary, Amazing Stone lives up to its name…they are AMAZING. —K.A., Alameda


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

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

ALAMEDA county
Livermore Optometry Group
Livermore - (925) 269-4611
Reed Brothers Security
Oakland - (510) 456-0989
Winn Volkswagen
Newark - (510) 565-7113
Vineyard Hills Dental Care, - Timothy Hubbs, D.D.S.
Livermore - (925) 257-4975

Fine Floorz

Walnut Creek - (925) 435-1788
Jeff Colon Group
Danville - (925) 435-1693

MARIN county
Infiniti Marin
San Rafael - (888) 594-4173
Toyota Marin
San Rafael - (888) 544-3118
California Fencing
San Rafael - (415) 689-6024

Monterey & San Benito
Devine Glass Inc.
Monterey - (831) 205-7912

Archer’s Pilates

Napa - (707) 812-1956

Joe Devine Construction
Napa - (707) 639-8798

Gagetta Construction Company Inc.
Napa - (707) 639-8783

Kaiser Construction Inc.
St. Helena - (707) 927-1020

Porter’s Repair
Calistoga - (707) 681-5446

san francisco
AllBay Solar
San Francisco - (877) 596-2805

Gaelic Construction
San Francisco - (415) 906-7893

EBCON Corporation
Redwood City - (650) 735-3385

K & B Remodeling
South San Francisco - (650) 800-3364

Berryessa Optometry

San Jose - (408) 837-8639

House Doctor Painting, Inc.
Santa Clara - (650) 397-2119

Lovelady Diamond
Los Gatos - (408) 498-7968

Sequoia Landscaping & Construction
Los Gatos - (650) 273-5394

The Legacy Paver Group
Santa Rosa - (415) 886-2903

Visiting Angels Senior Homecare & Respite
Santa Rosa - (707) 687-9774

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

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