In This Issue
Diamond Certified Resources


Savvy Consumer Tips

Dear Savvy Consumer,

I’ve learned a lot from all the years I spent as a consumer reporter handling complaints from unhappy customers. First, it’s important for you to educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities. Second, good communication between you and any company you’re hiring is critical. And finally, many consumer problems can be avoided if you choose a quality company at the outset.

At American Ratings Corporation, we try to help you in two major ways. First, we’ve performed more than 135,000 customer satisfaction surveys of local companies. Top rated companies earn Diamond Certified, so you can have confidence using these companies. Second, the purpose of the consumer tips in this newsletter and in Bay Area newspapers is to help you be a savvier consumer. We offer practical advice about your home, your car, your health and other professional services. We talk about communication techniques that can help you can get the best customer satisfaction possible.

Diamond Certified companies have to go through a rigorous certification process, which you can read about in more detail in the latest Diamond Certified Directory being released this month. The toughest part of the process is the survey of past customers.  To earn Diamond Certified, companies have to be rated “highest in quality” by people who have recently done business with them. More than half the companies out there couldn’t pass this rating.

You can get your FREE copy of the Diamond Certified Directory for your county to keep by your telephone. Just click here and fill out the form. Don’t forget that you can always find all Diamond Certified companies listed on the website,


Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Carwash Conservation

Washing the car typically uses many gallons of water and sends toxic runoff into storm drains and, ultimately, lakes and streams. Products such as Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash ( not only save water, they get cars shiny again with no runoff. A no-rinse product from Eco Car Care ( requires only a couple of gallons of water, to dilute the cleanser. And though Simple Green’s car wash solution ( requires a full rinse, the sudsy runoff won’t harm lawns or other greenery.

Identity Thieves Target Taxpayers

Eligible taxpayers will see “economic stimulus payments” in their mailboxes starting in May. In the meantime, identity thieves are using the rebates as an excuse to steal your personal information.

In one scam, someone posing as an IRS agent calls and says he or she needs your personal information to deposit the rebate check directly into your bank account.

The IRS ( wants taxpayers to know the agency does not gather information by phone or through unsolicited email. Filing a tax return is the only way to qualify for the rebate or to provide direct deposit info. And all legitimate IRS Web pages begin with (The links in “phishing” email messages will take you to bogus Web sites designed to look like they belong to the IRS.)

A Very Satisfied Customer

“I started using Diamond Certified businesses since I saw your ad on TV a little over a year ago. I am so happy I saw that spot. I cannot tell you how completely satisfied I have been with each and every business with which I have done business. They all offer, without exception, outstanding service. —Diane M.

Companies Recently Earning
Diamond Certified®

Alameda County

Keizer Construction & Development, Inc.
, Brentwood
Night Private Security, Inc., Fremont
Ponderosa Tree Service, Berkeley

Contra Costa County
Allenco Concrete
, Martinez
Mares & Dow Construction, Inc., Martinez
R & P Garage Doors, Inc., Discovery Bay

Marin County
Atlas Landscapes
, Mill Valley serving San Francisco
Cummins Construction, serving San Francisco
Empire Mini Storage, Novato
Mr. Fixit Inc., San Rafael

Monterey/San Benito County
B & D Plumbing, Inc.
, Gilroy
DelCas Auto Collision, Inc., Salinas
Elder Construction, Pacific Grove
Old Town Carpets Inc., Salinas
Paul's Drapery, Pacific Grove
Quartz International, Salinas
Pacific Smog, Seaside
Valley Hearing Center, Salinas

San Francisco
Handy Guys
, San Francisco
Liberty Cabinet Co., South San Francisco

San Mateo
Dean Knecht Painting
, San Mateo
Mark Hunter Construction, Belmont
Peninsula Hauling & Demolition Co., Inc., San Carlos
SDI Insulation, Inc., Burlingame
Second Generation Tile & Stone Inc., San Carlos

Santa Clara County
All Bright at Home Services
, San Jose
Alpine Tile, Boulder Creek
California Closets, San Jose
Monarch Solid Surface Designs, San Jose

Santa Cruz County

Greg Bellows Plumbing Inc.
, Soquel
Krafts Body Shop, Inc., Santa Cruz
PondMagic, Soquel
Santa Cruz Stoves and Fireplaces, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Tile & Stone, Santa Cruz
Water Star Motors, Santa Cruz
Phil's Auto Body, Santa Cruz

Solano County

Albertson's Abbey Carpet and Floors, Inc.
, Benicia
Frontline Electrical Services, Benicia
Live Oak Landscape Construction Company, Vacaville
State of the Art Cleaning Services, Inc., Vacaville
Airflow Service Professionals, Vacaville

Sonoma County
Empire Mini Storage, Sonoma
Pacific Restoration, Inc. dba Servpro, Rohnert Park
Santa Rosa Chiropractic Neurology Center, Santa Rosa
Sonoma Moving and Storage, Petaluma

Read this newsletter and prior issues at
American Ratings Corporation | (800) 738-1138 | 504 Redwood Blvd., Suite 210 | Novato | CA | 94947