Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Personal Stories

Why Won’t They Call Me Back?

I’m frustrated right now because I’ve been calling several local companies for service and haven’t heard back from any of them. I’m trying to get on a schedule for tree pruning, and I’m also attempting to schedule a furnace cleaning and fireplace inspection. I’ve left four voicemail messages for one of these companies over a two-week period. I’ve persisted because I’m a repeat customer and was satisfied with their services in the past.

There are steps you can take to ensure you get a call back from a busy company.

I understand that small businesses can get overwhelmed with consumer demand. Severe storms like we had this winter mean tree service companies, plumbers, and roofers are working overtime and can’t keep up with all the requests. Continue reading “Why Won’t They Call Me Back?” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

The Baby Bomb: Bracing for the Impact of First-Time Parenthood

While there’s no way to be fully prepared for parenthood, it doesn’t hurt to be proactive. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Three months ago, my wife and I welcomed the newest addition to our family: a baby boy, our third child. Four years after our last visit to the delivery room, the event reawakened the sense of joy and wonderment we experienced when our first two children entered the world. Likewise, the first few days of bonding with our son brought back memories of our early days as parents. By our third time around, we’ve become fairly seasoned—the interrupted sleep and constant diaper changing are practically second nature. But that first time…not exactly a walk in the park. As you’ve no doubt heard, nothing can prepare you for your initial foray into parenthood. Continue reading “The Baby Bomb: Bracing for the Impact of First-Time Parenthood” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories | Tags: , , ,

Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It

Did you know the State of California is currently holding $8 billion in unclaimed funds in the names of more than 30 million individuals and organizations? I was one of them until a few weeks ago, when I went searching for missing money. The law requires companies to turn over funds after three years or more if there hasn’t been any activity or contact with the rightful owner.

What motivated me was my sister-in-law posting on Facebook about her successes tracking down unclaimed funds in a variety of states where she and her husband have lived over the past 30 years. Continue reading “Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House

My family and I moved into our home at the height of the California drought, and before this winter, we’d never experienced any significant rainfall while living there. After a major storm system passed through in February, we checked the crawlspace and, to our dismay, found several inches of stagnant water beneath the house. The forecast called for more rain. As the water in the crawlspace continued to rise and fall with ongoing storms, we knew we had to do something. But what would be the best solution?

There are several options for preventing water saturation in your home. In this article, I’ll review some of them and share how we came to the decision to install a sump pump.

soil in blue tarp

Installing a sump pump required removing a massive amount of dirt from the crawlspace. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Continue reading “The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , ,

Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent

I named it Lucifer because it couldn’t help being evil. I’m talking about the rat I could hear scrabbling around beneath the heater vent in my kitchen every morning. It didn’t mean any harm, but the rustles and occasional squeaks were too much for me—it had to go.

As it turned out, my first move didn’t involve a pest control company. Before I could set traps, I had to deal with the brand-new front door dug directly beneath my front door.

Rats dig under stairs

Rats dug two new “front doors” underneath my front stairs. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Before the rains came, these holes were caked with tufts of fur, eliminating any doubt that they were at least one major point of entry. Continue reading “Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home improvement, Home Tips, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday

Shop small, shop local on small business saturday

Ocean Avenue in San Francisco is home to many small shops and businesses, including Miracle Cleaners, a Diamond Certified company. Photo: Miracle Cleaners, 2016

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. Continue reading “(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , ,

Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs

If you have an aging loved one in your life, make sure you’re prepared to help them maintain their physical and financial well-being. Photo: Chris Bjorklund (2016)

If you have an aging loved one in your life, make sure you’re prepared to help them maintain their physical and financial well-being. Photo: Chris Bjorklund (2016)

My brothers and I are fortunate to still have our 95-year-old mother in our lives, but we do have a lot of responsibility for her physical and financial well-being. We’ve helped her with estate planning, medical directives and investments, and we manage her bills, doctors’ appointments, medications, and caregivers. My older brother, a certified public accountant, has power of attorney. Like most families, we have a lot going on and it can be overwhelming at times.

Despite our collective efforts to keep things organized and do advance planning, we’ve had some glitches. Continue reading “Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Meet the Team: Greg Louie

Greg Louie is co-founder of the Diamond Certified Program.

Greg Louie, co-founder of the Diamond Certified Program, is Vice President of Service at American Ratings Corporation.

Long before he was promoting the Diamond Certified Resource, Greg Louie knew the value of differentiating quality for consumers. “Before I got into the ratings industry, I was in the sports equipment business—specifically, manufacturing custom golf clubs,” he explains. “Since I was competing against major manufacturers, I was always looking for ways to differentiate my company. Later, when I got an opportunity to join a ratings company, I knew it would be a good fit because I had a firsthand perspective of how differentiating quality could benefit consumers and businesses alike.”

Today, 14 years after co-founding American Ratings Corporation, Greg continues to derive enthusiasm and gratification from his professional role. Continue reading “Meet the Team: Greg Louie” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Personal Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

No-Nonsense Customer Service

Recently, when I needed a new set of tires for my Toyota Avalon, I got just what I wanted: no-nonsense customer service.

For Chris, a recent trip to the tire shop turned into a lesson in great customer service. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

For Chris, a recent trip to the tire shop turned into a lesson in great customer service. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

I called a tire shop and scheduled an appointment for the next day. When I arrived, the salesman waited on me right away and gave me a straightforward explanation of my options with no upselling. When I asked him to find out where the tires were manufactured (Consumer Reports had recommended against some brands made in China), he had the answer for me in a few minutes. Continue reading “No-Nonsense Customer Service” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , ,

Meet the Team: Jim Stein

Jim Stein is founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

Jim Stein is founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

After more than 30 years as an entrepreneur, Jim Stein’s passion for improving local commerce through innovative means hasn’t dwindled in the least. It all started in 1983, when he founded Northern California’s first multi-language Yellow Pages, which produced more than 20 directory titles in four different languages. Yet despite its value as a consumer resource, Jim perceived that his product was missing an essential element. “During this time, I had the opportunity to study how consumers used information to find local companies,” he explains. “I found that while our phone book helped connect consumers with businesses, there wasn’t a concrete way to determine which companies actually provided the high customer satisfaction they claimed to offer.” Continue reading “Meet the Team: Jim Stein” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , ,