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Fight Back? Hail, Yes!

Posted on July 25, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I recently received an unexpected voicemail from a company representing a rental car agency. The caller said he was following up with me to collect on a damage claim for a vehicle I had rented at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona for my niece’s wedding in February. He said I hadn’t reported roof damage upon returning it and was responsible for $749.13 in parts and labor for repairs.

At first, I thought this had to be a scam call and wasn’t going to respond. But my husband convinced me to call back, ask more questions and request photos of the damage. The representative promptly sent an itemized list of repairs and pictures showing a half-dozen roof dents. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Preparing for a Road Trip

Posted on July 02, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

Headed out on a road trip this summer? Watch this video for some tips on how to prepare your car for a long drive. Read more

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Posted in: Auto Tips, Savvy Tips
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Protect Yourself From Credit/Debit Card Skimming at the Pumps

Posted on June 25, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

The last two times my credit card number was hacked, I can trace it back to using the card at convenience store gas pumps. The physical card itself was always in my possession, yet small fraudulent charges (under $50) started showing up on my account. Fortunately, I look at my account online almost every day and receive an alert whenever a charge of $10 or more is made. That’s how I caught the problem early before things got out of hand. Still, my credit card account had to be shut down, which meant I had to contact many companies that bill me automatically for payments. I also had to change the credit card number on file for Uber, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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The 2019 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update is Here!

Posted on June 18, 2019 by Matt Solis

Have you received your free copy of the 2019 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update in the mail? It provides instant access to hundreds of local, top rated Diamond Certified companies across a wide range of service industries, from auto repair and real estate to optometry and dentistry.

Every Diamond Certified company must continue to deliver on its promises to you, the consumer. That’s why we conduct ongoing customer satisfaction research, perform credential-based ratings, monitor each company’s performance, and back you up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Read more

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Posted in: Consumer News, Diamond Certified News
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Put Your (Square) Feet to Work: How to Turn Your Space Into a Short-Term Rental

Posted on June 06, 2019 by Jennifer Chan

De-cluttering your home and giving it a fresh coat of paint will make your short-term rental more inviting. Photo: Stroke and Kote Painting ©2019

Ever since the introduction of Airbnb a decade ago, homeowners don’t have to be serial landlords or own second homes to earn rental income. If you have an in-law apartment or a spare bedroom, you can put those extra square feet to work. Preparing your home to rent will require effort on your part, but the extra income may well be worth it. If you’re considering turning your home or another property into a short-term rental, here are a few steps you can take to jumpstart the process:

Know the Rules

Around the Bay Area, cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley have passed regulations on short-term rentals, bringing them more in line with hotel taxation plans. Read more

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Posted in: Painting, House Cleaning, Home Security, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized, Home Tips
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A Perfect 10!

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I bet a lot of you have stayed in Airbnbs in the past, so you know how the quality of the accommodations can vary widely. Even when you carefully read the reviews and compare properties, you can still end up renting a real stinker. One time our apartment was in the attic of an old Virginian mansion that smelled like mothballs. Another place looked inviting in the pictures but really needed a deep cleaning. And the worst one was located right next to a fire station! We didn’t sleep too well in Savannah, Georgia.

Mostly though, I’ve had great experiences with Airbnb properties, and my recent stay in San Antonio, Texas was the best one ever. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Spring Garden Maintenance in 5 Steps

Posted on April 02, 2019 by James Florence

Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but some forget this annual ritual pertains to the yard as well as the home. After sitting dormant all winter, your lawn and plant beds need some freshening up to help them thrive throughout the spring and summer. Here are five maintenance steps to set your garden up for success: Read more

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Posted in: Seasonal, Landscaping Tips
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