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Savvy Consumer Tips
Expect This from an Insurance Pro
When reviewing my homeowner's insurance policy recently, I realized that… Click to continue>
Common Carpet Care Mistakes
More damage is done to carpets by homeowners trying to remove stains than from… Click to continue>
Bed Bugs Invading Homes - Yikes!
You know the expression, "Don't let the bed bugs bite."… Click to continue>
Read more Savvy Consumer Tips
Dear Savvy Consumer,
Most thoughtful consumers I know are in a belt-tightening mood right now. Consumer confidence is low and it’s a good time to take stock. Like a lot of you, I’m reviewing my budget and making careful decisions about what major purchases to make this year, which projects to undertake or postpone, or eliminate altogether.
Even when money is tight, it’s not a good strategy simply to be cheap — thrifty, yes, careful, yes, but not cheap. Here’s what I mean. Often when you buy the cheapest thing, it doesn’t last. And that’s not a wise consumer decision Thoughtful consumers factor in service, durability and overall quality. For example, you might buy the cheapest refrigerator and the motor fizzles out in 3 or 4 years. Now you have to buy a new one — again. Had you spent a few hundred dollars more at the outset, you could have had an appliance that lasted for 10 years. One suggestion is to use Consumer Reports magazine to help you find the best buy on major appliances of all kinds, cars and other household products.
I recommend using the same approach when buying local services. Look for the best way to spend your money by factoring in not just price, but quality and service too. You usually get what you pay for, as the old saying goes. I have heard complaints from people repeatedly who chose to go with the lowest bid on a roofing job or a kitchen remodel, or a landscaping project and wish they hadn’t. If you’re a thoughtful consumer who uses Diamond Certified companies, you know they’re a safe bet in these times when how you spend your money matters more than ever. These companies, whose past customers give them top ratings, place a high value on service and quality.
One last word on thoughtful consumerism. Patronize your local businesses and help them get through these tough times. Have your carpets cleaned, grab lunch at a local diner, take your car in for maintenance, get a new hairstyle, or remodel that bathroom.
Small local companies contribute so much to our local economy and make our communities unique and vibrant. They need us and we need them!
The Savvy Consumer
Special Handling Required for Spent CFLs
You can’t go wrong replacing your old, incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). A CFL, which looks like a glass corkscrew or spring, lasts longer than a standard bulb, conserves energy and, ultimately, saves you money. But CFLs do require special handling when they burn out.
To avoid releasing toxic mercury into the environment, don’t toss CFLs into the household trash — recycle them. Home Depot and Ikea both offer free in-store recycling. If you don’t live near either business, visit Earth911.org to find a recycling location near you.
A broken CFL also requires special handling. Visit the EPA online for tips on safe cleanup and disposal.
Emergency Preparedness Kit for Your Car
As a San Francisco Bay Area resident, you’re probably well prepared for an earthquake. But how prepared are you to deal with an emergency on the road? Consumer Reports recommends drivers outfit their vehicles with the following items:
- Cell phone
- Hazard triangles or flares
- Jumper cables
- Roadside-assistance membership
- Duct tape (for emergency repairs)
- Small shovel and a bag of sand (to get traction if your tires are spinning)
- Windshield scraper, blanket, and hand warmers (particularly necessary if you drive to snow country)
Based on decades of driving, we’d add water, old tennis shoes, a rain slicker, and a first aid kit.
What’s in your emergency car kit? Email us your suggestions, and we’ll share some of them in the next issue of the Diamond Certified Consumer Report.
Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers
Dear Chris Bjorklund,
I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some feedback regarding a Diamond Certified landscaper who recently completed an extensive landscaping makeover for me. In October I explained to Bill Doughty a vision I had for my front yard. He immediately seemed to understand the vision I had in mind.....that of scrapping a 3280 sq. ft. dying lawn, and converting the area to a Tahoe-like Alpine setting replete with sloping mounds, moss and lichen covered boulders, conifer trees and compact colorful plants.
Well, let me tell you, as I told Bill, that the finished product exceeded my vision. I think it is imperative for you to know that it was a pleasure to work with Bill and his crew. Bill and I pretty much worked in tandem in the placement of every mound, every boulder, every tree, and yes, all 96-100 plants. I really enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the transformation, and feel that it is important for you to have this information if you are going to endorse his company as a diamond certified contractor.
I think it is also important for you to know that Bill Doughty rates an excellent regarding keeping me apprised as to when he and/or his crew would arrive daily, as well as what they hoped to accomplish on a daily basis. I really appreciated that courtesy.
It is for all the above reasons that I would highly recommend Bill Doughty Landscaping.
Companies Recently Earning
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Tires and Brakes for Less, Oakland
Contra Costa County
Anchor Door, Martinez
D & S Body Shop, Inc., San Ramon
Diablo Valley Cabinetry, San Ramon
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The Big C Athletic Club, Concord
McNear Brick & Block, San Rafael
Monterey & San Benito Counties
Associated Heating, Air Conditioning & Sheetmetal, Inc., Salinas
Crystal Clear Window Cleaning & Pressure Wash Services, San Francisco
Environmental Remedies, Inc., Pleasanton
Golden Hardwood Floor, San Francisco
Bay 101 Roofing, Inc., Alviso
Best Bay Locksmith, San Francisco
Ryan & Ryan Construction, Inc., South San Francisco
Simpson Roofing Service, San Carlos
United Performance Corp., South San Francisco
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Freedom Insurance Solutions, Inc., Mountain View
Mai Dental Specialists, San Jose
Neal Schwartz & Donna Dawson-Schwartz – Coldwell Banker, Los Gatos
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