(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

by Jennifer Chan

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” -Joni Mitchell

Welcome to November: the start of shopping season. Whether your holidays include hot cider, tamale-making or Chinese food on Christmas, they probably also include spending. In 2015, the United States spent more than $630 billion on holiday shopping (about 20 percent of the retail industry’s total sales for the year). American shoppers spend around $900 on gifts alone every holiday season, plus more on food, entertainment and travel. Read more

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Posted in: Consumer News, Consumer Events, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Dealing with Gift Cards

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Chris Bjorklund

Expecting to receive a lot of gift cards this holiday season? Watch this video for some helpful info about maintaining their value. Read more

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Avoiding Unhappy Returns

Posted on December 15, 2015 by Chris Bjorklund

When I managed a consumer complaint line for KGO Radio and TV, we always had calls after Christmas about stores’ unreasonable return policies. Consumers were frustrated that they couldn’t get their money back, receive a store credit or exchange a gift. In some cases, receipts had been misplaced or thrown away, and some were simply unavailable because the item was a gift. In other cases, stores had failed to clearly post their refund policies as required by state law. People were unhappy about restocking fees, too. Read more

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Diamond Certified Experts: House Cleaning How-Tos

Posted on November 12, 2015 by James Florence

Most people think of spring as the season for cleaning, but there’s another time of year when it’s even more important: the holidays. As summer’s vibrant pulse recedes to the calm cadence of autumn, it’s time to break out the standard seasonal décor (gourds, anyone?) and get your house spick and span in preparation for the influx of visiting friends and relatives.

The problem with house cleaning, however, is it’s a deceptively simple task, which is why people often get into the habit of using inefficient or just plain incorrect methods. To shed some light on a few of these home hygiene hiccups, we’ve asked six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to provide their house cleaning how-tos. Read more

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Posted in: House Cleaning, Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips
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School’s Out: Here Come the Kids of Summer

Posted on June 09, 2015 by Jennifer Chan

Parents, get ready, for they are coming.

Remember last September? Just after Labor Day, you sent them off with new lunchboxes, pointy pencils and extra-long pants. The classrooms unto which they were delivered smelled of fresh paint. They cried a little, and so did you. You went home to an empty house and drank a well-deserved, oddly uninterrupted cup of coffee.

Well, parents…eight PTA meetings, seven slumber parties, four music recitals and one soccer tournament later, your precious bundles of joy are coming back. Read more

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Posted in: Consumer News, Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Savvy Tips
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A Field Trip to the Food Bank

Posted on December 22, 2014 by Jennifer Chan

2017 update: ‘Tis the season once again! Add a food bank, a shelter or another other worthy cause to your list and experience the fun of playing Santa.

‘Tis the season! Ashley and I dropped off the bounty collected from our holiday food drive at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank  yesterday and were lucky enough to get a private tour.  Given that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the country, I was shocked and saddened to learn that 25% of the residents of San Francisco and Marin are in need of food assistance. Consequently, I’m so grateful that there are organizations like the SF-Marin Food Bank. Read more

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Posted in: Consumer News, Consumer Events, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Diamond Certified News, Personal Stories
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Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 2

Posted on October 14, 2014 by James Florence

We recently updated this post and added more content. You can read it here.

While Part 1 of this blog series outlined important weatherproofing measures to protect your home against water and air leaks, this segment addresses a second, equally crucial aspect of winter home preparation:

Make sure vital heating systems are performing safely and efficiently.
There are two fixtures you don’t want to break down in the middle of winter: your central heating system and your hot water heater. Losing either of these crucial home components can make for an extremely uncomfortable situation, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re in good working order before the cold weather sets in. Read more

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Posted in: Home Tips
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