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 VOL. 7, ISSUE 6 - JUNE 2014

In This Issue

A Powerful
Consumer Tool

Diamond Certified Preferred
Consumer Card

Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip

Consumer Feedback:
Ellison’s Towing

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

Eye Floaters:
The basics

Check Your Tread Wear

Buying Bike Helmets

Diamond Certified Quick Links






Read this newsletter and prior issues at Diamond Certified Newsletter Twitter

A Powerful Consumer Tool

Credit cards offer a variety of consumer protections.

Have you ever asked your credit card company to reverse a credit card transaction because you were dissatisfied with a product or service? This process is called a “chargeback,” and I recently discovered it’s a powerful tool to use when you can’t get a company to respond to your complaint in a timely fashion.

It all started when I booked a rental car through a third-party travel broker. Their price was better than other companies because they required full payment in advance. The company sent me a pre-paid voucher to present to the rental agency partner when I claimed the car in Phoenix. The problem was that the “partner” refused my $200 voucher and made a strange request to see a passport or an international driver’s license, neither of which I had. The car rental agency wouldn’t budge, so I had to rent a much more expensive car at the last minute from a different company.

My first step was to complain to the travel broker. Their website said it would take up to 28 days to respond to my written complaint! After waiting 10 business days for a resolution, I turned to my credit card company for help. They were ready and willing, given that I had paid for services that were never provided. They said the matter would be investigated, but in the meantime, they reversed the $200 charge and refunded a small amount of interest owed on that amount. Eventually (about 28 days after my original complaint), the travel broker agreed that I was owed the refund, and now the case is closed.

So don’t forget that using a credit card for transactions—as opposed to paying with cash or a debit card—provides you with additional consumer protections and some leverage with unresponsive businesses. However, I always recommend complaining directly to the company first and giving them a chance to settle the dispute before involving other parties.

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 get a free copy of the 2013 Diamond Certified Directory! Visit to get started.

Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip

Before going on a road trip, have your car checked by a professional. This car is being inspected by John’s Automotive, a Diamond Certified company.

It’s always a good idea to have your car checked out before taking a long road trip. According to Rich Campusano, shop manager at John’s Automotive, a Diamond Certified company, the two most important things to check are your coolant system and tires. “A lot of people don’t realize that properly inflated tires can actually improve gas mileage and handling,” he says. “There’s a minimum and maximum air pressure on every tire, so you should always have yours checked before going on a trip.”

Mr. Campusano also recommends checking your air conditioning system and replacing your windshield wipers. Many people forget to test the windshield squirters—they can get plugged up from non-use, and if they aren’t working, you might have trouble with visibility. Finally, ask your mechanic to check the headlights, brake lights and running lights to make sure they’re working properly.


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

Dear Diamond Certified:

I came to Ellison’s Towing last week in the cab of a truck that was towing my Ford. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to say the least. I hadn’t eaten all day because I had been prepping for a medical exam at the VA hospital in Palo Alto. When leaving the hospital, I unfortunately ran into the back of a big pickup and probably destroyed my poor old Ford. The reason for this note is to thank Lisa with Ellison’s Towing. She was kind and understanding as she helped me out. The staff was professional and good to an old man whose day just got ruined.

—D.W., Walnut Creek

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

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

Site for Sore Eyes – Dublin
Dublin – (925) 201-6320

Terry’s Tree Service, Inc.
Livermore – (925) 201-6321

Danville Hardwood Company Incorporated
Danville – (925) 838-1311
Gingrich Horticulture Service
Concord – (925) 979-5913
Hassler Heating & Air Conditioning
El Cerrito – (510) 400-5759

Sara Hunt Malone Design
San Rafael – (415) 997-8933
John Molloy Painting
Fairfax – (415) 938-6986
Right Hand Maid Services Inc.
Corte Madera – (415) 938-6987
San Rafael Smog
San Rafael – (415) 997-8948
3D Design & Construction, Inc.
San Anselmo – (415) 231-2085

Napa Massage & Bodycare
Napa – (707) 219-6230

Closet Factory

San Carlos – (650) 212-5664

C. Aparicio Cement Contractor

San Jose – (408) 663-5023

Calm Dental Care - Douglas R. Maxson, D.D.S.
San Jose – (408) 713-0389

CM Property Management Inc.
San Jose – (408) 763-3540

Kelley Grant Painter
Campbell – (831) 515-6951

Darryl Scotti Events, Inc.
Santa Clara – (408) 755-6950

Antonis Construction Building & Painting, Inc.
Petaluma – (707) 219-8326
Empire Auto Repair & Smog
Santa Rosa – (707) 219-8325
Rohnert Park – (707) 207-6472
Tarantino’s Yardscapes
Windsor – (707) 219-6208
Valley Oak Landscaping, Inc.
Santa Rosa – (707) 207-6829



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