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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 4, ISSUE 6 - JUNE 2011

In This Issue

A Conversation about Quality Auto Repair Shops

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Consumer Feedback:
Keech Painting Contractors, Inc.

Ask Chris

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

Boost Your Credit Score

A Misconception About New Car Servicing

How to Bring “the Outside In”

Diamond Certified Quick Links






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Sherry Mehl
Sherry Mehl, Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair

A Conversation about Quality Auto Repair Shops

Sherry Mehl has run the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) for the past five years. In our recent interview, we talked about service quality, unlicensed activity and educating consumers. Here are some excerpts from that conversation:

Savvy Consumer (SC): What’s your personal mission for your role as head of the BAR?
Sherry Mehl (SM): The agency’s goal is to protect and serve California consumers. My personal mission is to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace in the auto repair industry and to educate consumers about their rights. I believe an educated consumer is an informed consumer.

SC: What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
SM: I’ve revised the outdated smog check program—a more efficient diagnostic method will be available after January 2013. This will save consumers and shops time and possibly lower the cost for smog checks on newer cars. I’m also proud of a consumer outreach program that improved awareness of the BAR’s complaint-handling services.

SC: Is unlicensed activity still plaguing the industry?
SM: Unlicensed activity continues to be a serious issue for us. We’re addressing it by proposing new regulations that allow the BAR to cite and fine shops. We’re also conducting stings to expose unlicensed operators all over the state and using those opportunities to educate consumers about the dangers associated with using unlicensed shops. The biggest thing consumers should know is that some of these operators have warrants out for their arrest, while others do shoddy, subpar work. You usually have no recourse if you’re ripped off.

SC: Can you describe what consumers should expect from a top-notch, quality repair shop?
SM: Expect to be informed about repair work done prior to the estimate. The service manager should explain why the work is recommended, and the repair facility should perform the agreed-upon work to your satisfaction. The cost should reflect customer expectations, which means no big surprises when you pick up your car. Look for confidence, professionalism, certified technicians, courteous employees and a neat appearance.

SC: What consumer behavior would you change if you had a magic wand?
SM: I wish I could empower all consumers to say “no” when they’re uncomfortable with a service provider of any kind. I want them to have the confidence to follow their gut and walk away when confronted with businesses they sense aren’t going to serve them well.

You can contact the BAR to check a shop’s license or file a complaint at

Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer
Chris Bjorklund

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card
Have you signed up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer?

Diamond Certified® Preferred Customer Card
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

Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers
Re: Keech Painting Contractors, Inc.
Kudos checkmark

I recently contracted with Keech Painting Contractors to paint the exterior of my two-story home. Although I had contacted two other painting contractors, I chose Keech Painting because Rob Keech gave me a more thorough explanation on what it would take to paint my house and answered any questions I had. His work crew was skilled, dependable and completed any additional repairs as needed. I was impressed with the quality of their work, and the worksite was cleaned when the job was completed.

I was very pleased with the results and would recommend Keech Painting without hesitation.—G.G.

Ask Chris
“After I used the Diamond Certified book, why didn’t anyone contact me to ask about my satisfaction with the work done?”—K.A.

Diamond Certified companies are asked to submit the names of all the customers who have used their services since the last time they were surveyed. Then, during the ratings process, American Ratings Corporation’s call center randomly selects customers to call for the new survey. Usually, we don’t try to contact every customer of a Diamond Certified company—unless they have less than 100 customers per year. Statistically, no matter how big the customer base is, the results of 100 random surveys are a good predictor of the overall satisfaction level of the entire base.

If you’d like to give voluntary feedback, our Mediation Department collects any and all comments—the second part of a two-pronged approach to tracking the customer satisfaction levels of Diamond Certified companies. If you sign up as a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer, you can always call the consumer hotline to get help and tips or leave feedback for internal tracking. If you haven’t signed up to become a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer, you can visit or call (800) 480-1978. All data is counted when a company’s “complaint file” is reviewed, and certain actions will be taken if the voluntary record reflects that the company is having trouble meeting consumer demands in between surveys.
Need advice on a consumer problem? Send your questions to me at Due to the volume, I cannot respond to each question personally.

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

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

Alameda COUNTY
Auto Techies,
Fremont - (510) 397-8966

Dana Lund Landscaping,
Danville - (925) 303-4283

A - Team Painting Corporation
Sunnyvale - (408) 412-9567
Blossom Hill Glass & Mirror, Inc.,
San Jose - (408) 412-9754

SAN MATEO county
Hortus Landscaping
San Mateo - (650) 293-9391

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