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The Diamond Certified® Consumer Report Twitter link Facebook link
 VOL. 4, ISSUE 12 - DECEMBER  2011

In This Issue

Many Happy Returns

Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer Card

Ask Chris

Consumer Feedback:
J & D Painting

New Diamond Certified

Savvy Tips of the Month

When Dealers Withhold Money

Everything You Need to Know About Grab Bars

Don’t Be Duped by Duct Cleaning Specials

Diamond Certified Quick Links






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Dear Savvy Consumer:
Have you hit the malls with your holiday shopping list yet? Even the best gift giver occasionally misses the mark, so it’s wise to understand a retailer’s return policy before you buy. Policies can vary greatly, from unlimited returns on most items with a receipt (Macy’s) to 14 days for certain electronics (Best Buy).

gift returning policies

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), some stores are more lenient about accepting returns during the holiday season, while others have made their policies stricter in response to an increase in return fraud. To avoid disappointment or hassles this holiday season:

  • Ask about a store’s return policy before you pay. This is particularly important when it comes to digital cameras, computers and opened merchandise, which Consumer World says may be subject to limited return rights, restocking fees or no returns at all. Software, video games, CDs and DVDs typically aren’t returnable after they’ve been opened.
  • Understand how the refund will be provided: in cash, as a credit to the buyer’s credit card or as store credit.
  • Be aware that the return policies for online and in-store purchases may differ, even if they’re both from the same retailer.
  • Ask for a gift receipt and include it when you give the present.
  • Contact the store manager or customer service department if you’re unhappy with the return process. If you’re still unhappy, you can complain to your local consumer protection agency or the state attorney general’s office.

Happy holidays and happy returns!
Chris Bjorklund signature
Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Chris Bjorklund
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Ask Chris
“I have to laugh. A while ago, I saw your column in the Santa Cruz newspaper that cautioned about getting dents fixed. I fell for that exact thing a couple months ago and have been laughing at myself ever since. Too bad I didn’t see your warning first! Also, I have a question that I think you can answer. If someone comes to the door collecting money for some (good) cause, is that person required to give a receipt? I fall for that one, too, just to get rid of the person peacefully.” —S.C., Santa Clara, CA

When solicitors come to your home
Dear S.C.,

I think a lot of people do the same thing to get rid of aggressive solicitors. California law does cover what a charitable solicitor must do. I’m quoting the Business and Professions Code 17510.3, because the law has different requirements for different types of solicitors: “A charitable solicitor must present a card or other printed material that identifies the soliciting organization and the solicitor. This must be done before the solicitor seeks a charitable contribution or sale for a charitable purpose. The card or printed material must identify the charity, explain how the money solicited will be used for charitable purposes, and provide certain tax and accounting information. An unpaid volunteer who is making charitable solicitations can instead disclose the name and address of the charity; the charitable purpose of the solicitation; and the fact that information about the charity, its revenues and expenses, and its administration and fundraising costs, can be obtained at an address that is disclosed. An unpaid volunteer who is 18 or younger, and who is soliciting on behalf of a tax-exempt charity, is not required to make these disclosures.”

If you make a charitable donation, you should always ask for a receipt for your taxes, and I would definitely avoid giving to any charity that won’t provide one. Be savvy with your donations. —Chris


Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers
Dear Diamond Certified,

I own a 1929 English Tudor-style home in Hayward that has been formally recognized by the Hayward Historical Society as a significant historical home. It was further praised for its accurate restoration. A major factor in this restoration was the paintwork done by Harold Jagoda’s J & D Painting. Mr. Jagoda’s crew painted the entire home and returned for repainting as needed (three times over the past 28 years).

It is a pleasure to work with Mr. Jagoda. He is friendly and professional, and his crew does an excellent job. Diamond Certified is well represented by J & D Painting.

Hayward, CA

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

Companies Recently Earning Diamond Certified

SG Builders,
Pleasanton - (877) 597-8020

Duran & Venables Inc.
Milpitas - (408) 785-9892

Roman's Plumbing
Petaluma - (707) 948-6178
Wine Country Builders, Inc.,
Sonoma - (707) 931-0935

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