In This Issue
Diamond Certified Resources


Savvy Consumer Tips

Dear Savvy Consumer,
It seems as though everyone wants my feedback lately. After flying on United, I received a follow-up survey on-line, asking how they performed. My health club sent a questionnaire with about 20 items on it, saying I was one of a select few being surveyed.

When I had lunch in a pub recently, along with the bill came a customer comment card. They wanted to know, “Did we meet your expectations?” and “Was our atmosphere pleasing?” Mail order companies like Travel Smith are asking for my opinion about their service, hotels and hospitals are too. Even my plumber has his office call after doing a job to see if I was satisfied. As you probably know, Diamond Certified conducts consumer surveys to identify which companies are rated highest in quality and to eliminate those who aren’t.

Do you take the time to fill out those comment cards, answer the on-line questions and participate in telephone surveys?  Why should you bother? In my opinion, it’s your chance to “vote” and have a voice in how a service is delivered or how a product is sold or designed. It’s only through consumer feedback that a company might learn a product is defective and launch a recall.  Sometimes your comments lead to further employee training, or a new product idea.  I read that Starbucks takes suggestions on its website and a customer’s suggestion there prompted the company to develop a new drink on its menu.

Diamond Certified companies are grateful for the feedback you provide them with through the surveys, which are done when a company first applies for certification and at least once a year after that.  The companies that do not pass learn from these critiques, and some make fundamental changes in their operation as a result.  If you’re a savvy consumer, you read those reviews and comments before hiring a company, and if you’re a savvy consumer, you take every opportunity to let voice be heard in a constructive way.


Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Better Than a Barrel of Monkeys

A rain barrel—used to catch storm runoff from your roof—does wonders for the environment. First, it keeps usable water out of the sewer and water treatment system. It also helps reduce overflow in the sewers. And it reduces the amount of potable water that must be used for things like irrigation and toilet flushing. To begin harvesting useful rainwater, just slide a rain barrel under a shortened downspout from your roof. San Francisco residents can get a deal on a 60-gallon rain barrel through a partnership between Cole Hardware and the Public Utilities Commission. If you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for instructions on building your own rain barrel.

Don't Let Gift Cards Linger

A gift card may seem like the perfect present, but you should know that many carry monthly inactivity or maintenance fees, and some even expire. This is particularly true for bank cards—those that carry the Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express logo and can be used at any establishment that accepts those brands. Bank card maintenance fees typically range from about one dollar to as much as five dollars per month and can start as soon as six months after purchase. Expiration dates range from about six months to about 42 months, at which time you’ll have to request a new card or a refund by check—and there are fees for those!

The consumer protection office of Montgomery County, Maryland, publishes an annual gift card report that includes information about fees, policies and expiration dates on many popular gift cards. You can also contact the issuer for information about your particular gift card.

Kudos from Diamond Certified Consumers

The latest Diamond Certified companies that I am currently using and who have been outstanding in the quality of work they provide and their responsiveness:

  • CASE Handyman
  • E.G. Electrical Service
  • Air Quality Heating and Air Conditioning.
  • Smart Plumbers and Rooters

I am finding that the manner that they initially answer the phone or my inquiry frequently indicates their overall responsiveness.  For example, I called Murison Flooring this morning and their response was energetic and they will have someone out here today.

Beverly K.
San Jose, CA

Companies Recently Earning
Diamond Certified®

Alameda County
Five Star Networking, Inc., Livermore
Hilt Construction, Inc., Castro Valley
Xtra Hand, Oakland

Contra Costa County
Birds Away / Pigeons Away, A division of Van Gelder Enterprises Inc., Concord

Marin County
Reilly Designs, San Rafael

San Francisco
Armstrong Carpet & Linoleum Co., San Francisco
City Cabinetmakers, Inc., San Francisco
Walsh Construction, San Francisco

San Mateo
Grant C. Gustavson, General Contractor, Campbell
Morello Family Chiropractic, South San Francisco
Bradley L. Parker, DDS, FAGD, San Bruno

Santa Clara County

Platinum Roofing, Inc., San Jose
V&C Solutions, Inc., San Jose

D & D Plumbing Heating and Cooling, Vacaville

ADR Architectural Design & Restoration, Inc., Petaluma

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