Showing posts with label Consumer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Consumer. Show all posts

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brits Keen to Make Home Improvements

Those most likely to get stuck into projects to revamp their homes were consumers aged 35 to 44. Among this demographic, nearly four in five consumers (79 per cent) had enhanced their properties.

Commenting on the findings, Avant Homes marketing director Rob Slocombe, said: “The housing market conditions of the last few years has meant that many homeowners have not had the necessary deposit to secure a mortgage and so therefore have opted to stay in their current property and make improvements to it until they can afford to move.

“This research reveals the considerable investment that is required for such improvements and tells us a lot about what today’s buyers are looking for in a home to make it suitable for their current lifestyle needs.”

By researching the log book loans available now, consumers may be able to realise their ambitions of improving their properties. Meanwhile, taking this approach could have positive long-term financial repercussions. Although they will have to spend money in order to achieve the results they are after, people could succeed in boosting the value of their homes, meaning that if and when they come to sell their abodes, they stand to make money.

For the best results, it is vital that consumers choose reliable and competitive logbook loan providers. By researching companies before making any commitments, individuals can provide themselves with added peace of mind.

Meanwhile, it is also important that homeowners are savvy when deciding which projects to undertake. Certain alterations make particularly good investments. For example, adding space to homes tends to be an effective way to boost their value. There is plenty of advice available over the web if individuals are unsure.

Author Bio: 

Anna Longdin is a freelance blogger who keeps up with the latest trends in personal finance. She contributes to a range of websites, including Varooma.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Call Center Communication Made Easy

The gas company serving this area brought their call center back to Phoenix from India last year after numerous customer complaints. What a difference now when you call them. Plus it also created 300 jobs. They were so bad that when India answered I couldn't even understand them or be understood. I'd simply ask to be transferred to a supervisor in the U.S. and they would comply. Now that I know it is the law - I will do it for sure anytime you call an 800 number for a credit card, banking, Verizon, health and other insurance, computer help desk, etc. 

If you find that you're talking to a foreign customer service representative and you do not understand the person you are talking to, please consider doing the following: 

After you connect and you realize that the customer service representative is not from the U.S.A. (you can always ask if you are not sure about the accent), please, very politely (this is not about trashing other cultures) say, “ I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States of America.“ 

The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, “Thank you, but I'd like to speak to a customer service representative in the U.S.A.“ You will be immediately connected to a rep in the U.S.A. That’s the rule and the law. It takes less than one minute to have your call redirected to the USA. Tonight when I got redirected to a U.S. rep, I asked again to make sure - and yes, she was from Fort Lauderdale

Imagine what would happen if every US citizen insisted on talking to only U.S. phone reps from this day on. Imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of U.S. jobs that would need to be created ASAP. If I tell all my friends to consider this and you tell all your friends to consider doing this - see what I mean... it becomes an exercise in viral marketing 101. 

Remember - the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home - not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone representative. You may even get correct answers, good advice. and solutions to your problem - in real English.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How To Effectively Complain Online

Complaint Department GrenadeImage via WikipediaBefore the option of the Internet the only way to complain to big companies was to write letters, go to the Better Business Bureau, or just tell everyone you know. You may have gotten really mad and wrote your state agency or even Washington.

Good news, those haphazard days of complaining are over, we now have the Internet to do our work. Consumer Reports, the consumer review magazine, says "Whether it's a slap happy review of your new flat-screen TV on Amazon or a scathing critique of a car dealer on Yelp or Facebook, there are plenty of online outlets where you can post your opinions. And companies are paying attention."

Today most websites have sections where customers can leave reviews of their products or services. Companies are hoping you will share your wonderful experience with them, but many people are writing about their dissatisfaction. Companies closely monitor these feedback pages and usually contact the dissatisfied customer to try to make things right. If you ever bought something on or and noticed the ever so important feedback comments, you can see how an online reputation is more important than a real world one.

Use Good Practices.

When complaining online whether it be a companies website or a consumers rights forum, the key to success is to be business like and not emotional. If you want to get results you should state your issue in a clear and succinct way. Using profanity and slurs to ridicule a company will not gain you any constructive attention. Convey your problem in a way where the company sees you as a valuable customer with a reasonable complaint. Companies don't want to look bad in front of other companies or potential customers. These companies know that your complaint is becoming part of the Internet record and will be available by anyone that does a search of the company in question.

When you post your complaint on the Internet and the business sees the unfavorable comments, it is possible for them to file lawsuits against the complaining parties. Even Consumer Reports has been sued for unfavorable reviews from company Sharper Image. Sharper Image lost the law suit. 
Consumer Reports said, " The suit was in response to a critical review of the company's Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner that appeared in the magazine. Sharper Image was required to pay $525,000 to cover Consumers Union's legal costs."

In many states, there are laws banning such lawsuits to protect the rights of the complaining parties. Mark Goldowitz, founder and president of the Public Participation Project and a lawyer who defends clients against SLAPP suits in California says, "No matter what the laws are in your state, consider the potential repercussions before you post critical or embarrassing comments."

Bottom line, get it right when complaining online. Remember whatever you post online will probably always be online.

Best Places to Get Started with Online Complaining

1. Try the biggest sites first to get the most exposure. Social media websites like Facebook or Twitter are good places to start. Most companies have a web presence and that's where you should start you effort. Mention the companies name and a brief comment about the problem.

2. Companies websites. Most all companies have a customer service or consumer section specifically for customer complaints. There you will find a place, either a comment section or a forum, where you're able to enter a description of your problem. Be polite, business like, and respectful when leaving comments. There is no faster way to get deleted than when a slur or profanity is present. Remember you are trying to get help, not make it worse.

3. Forums and Consumer Help Websites. Search online for your specific complaint. You may find many others have the same problem as you do. As you search you will find specific websites that deal with your special complaint. Try searching for terms like "-company- problems", "-company- lawsuits", or " -company- complaints".

Many places are available to start your online complaints.

  • AirlineComplaints.orgAirline-related complaints or suggestions for improvement. Includes airline contacts.
  • Amazon.comReviews and ratings of products and Amazon merchants.
  • Angie's List - Reviews and ratings of local services and health professionals. Pay site, though nonmembers can submit reports free.
  • ApartmentRatings.comMore than 1 million apartment reviews and ratings.
  • Avvo.comReviews and ratings of lawyers and doctors. Includes library of legal and medical topics.
  • Charity Navigator - Charity watchdog organization with user reviews and ratings of nonprofit organizations. Includes tips and donor resources.
  • CNET.comDiscussions of electronic products, services, and companies.
  • - Complaints about products, services, companies, and professionals.
  • ComplaintsBoard.comComplaints about products, services, companies, and professionals. Includes news and resources.
  • ConsumerAffairs.comReviews of products, services, companies, and professionals. Includes news and resources.
  • The ConsumeristReviews and complaints about products, services, and companies. Includes news and consumer tips. Site owned by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports.
  • Edmunds.comReviews and discussions of cars and car-related products and services. Includes dozens of subject-specific message boards.
  • Epinions.comRatings and reviews of products and services.
  • MeasuredUp.comReviews of companies and professionals. Includes tips and contacts.
  • My3cents.comReviews and complaints about products, services, and companies. Includes consumer tips.
  • PissedConsumer.comReviews and complaints about products, services, companies, and professionals. Includes consumer tips.
  • RateMDs.comReviews and ratings of doctors and dentists. Includes access to medical-board records and top 10 lists.
  • RipoffReport.comComplaints about services, companies, and professionals. Includes consumer tips.
  • TripAdvisor.comMore than 45 million reviews and ratings of hotels, restaurants, attractions, vacation rentals, cities and towns, and more.
  • TrustLink.orgA Better Business Bureau site with reviews and ratings of companies and professionals. Includes scam alerts.
  • Yelp.comReviews and ratings of local companies and professionals.

Remember your trying to accomplish something with your complaining, don't use the resources of the Internet to just blow off steam. If the business responds to your efforts and contacts you, be sure to reply. The company would not reply if it did not care about the customer. If things are worked out in a amicable way be sure to got back online and use the same effort you used in complaining to note that your issues have been addressed and are now satisfied.

Friday, February 17, 2012

How To Save Money On Your Coffee Habit

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler, as sold in 2...Image via WikipediaAmericans love their coffee. According to , the United States is the foremost coffee-drinking country in the world. Americans are responsible for drinking down over 400 million cups a day. Sometimes I think I'm to blame for at least half that.

Coffee lovers listen up: It may be time to re-evaluate your morning jolt. Time Moneyland recently reported that Starbucks is raising prices because of increased costs for fuel and coffee beans. A "tall" (Starbucks version of a small) order of numerous coffee drinks now costs 10 cents more than last year in many parts of the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C., and New York. Not a lot as a percentage but it can add up over a year. This news comes on top of price increases instituted in 2011 by many other coffee shops.

Is their a way to tone down your coffee habit while still getting your caffeine fix?

Let's take a look.

Stop Ordering Specialty Drinks.

Those with a latte addiction should read over at Yahoo Finance that a daily $4 latte adds up to roughly $28 a week, which is the equivalent of about $120 a month and $1,460 a year. Think of all the things you could do with that cash. Making the switch to a simple cup of brewed coffee can cut your spending by nearly half.

Order a Smaller Size.

Reduce your spending further by ordering a smaller serving size. You'll still get your caffeine fix but save roughly 50 to 75 cents a day, depending on prices at your local coffee shop.

Use Your Own Cup.

Many coffee shops, from large chains to local independents, are trying to save money and reduce costs. And cutting down on disposable cups is a good way to reduce waste. Starbucks , for one, encourages customers to use their own travel mug by offering a 10-cent discount -- an easy way to offset that 10-cent price hike.

Make Your Own.

Making coffee at home is an even better way to save money. Need proof? An analysis conducted by Daily Finance that pitted a $2.29 Starbucks "grande" (medium) regular coffee against the (approximate) 17-cent cost of brewing a cup at home found the annual savings amounted to $835.85. This doesn't take into account the newest method in home brewing -- the pod, which makes quick, convenient single-serving cups but raises the per cup cost by 40 to 50 cents. Still, that's cheaper than stopping by the coffee shop every morning, although the pods aren't particularly environmentally friendly.

If you're looking to start making your own cup o' Joe, you'll have to make an upfront investment in a coffee maker. Not to worry - the expense is recouped many times over in the first year alone.

Stop the Habit Altogether.

If you're really serious about saving, forget all these suggestions on how to cut coffee costs. The best way to curb spending is to quit coffee for good. Granted, it's not easy -- if it were, no frugal consumer would be stuck with a coffee habit. The best way to quit while minimizing or avoiding withdrawal symptoms is to wean yourself gradually. Sip from smaller cups each week or try going half regular and half decaf until you can go without entirely. Once you break the habit, you might try green, black, and red rooibos teas, which all offer the same richness as coffee with much less (or no) caffeine.

I won't be doing that.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is Consumer Reports Still Relevent in 2011?

Consumer ReportsImage via WikipediaConsumer Reports was born 75 years ago in 1936 and it's still going strong today. In the age of the Internet where you can look up information and reviews for anything from TV's to washing machines to camera's for free, millions go to Consumer Reports for the final word on consumer goods.

The Consumer Reports website started in 1997 has grown to over 3.3 million paying subscribers in 2011. It has a larger subscriber base than the largest national newspapers. It's magazine subscribers have stayed steady and it's digital subscribers have grown at a rapid pace.

Subscribers who sign up for access to the Web site pay $26 for a year or $5.95 monthly. A smartphone app is available, and this month an iPad version was introduced.

Consumer Reports still has the most thorough testing regimen than any other testing site. No matter what the item being tested, you can be sure it's compared and test along with 10 to 15 other of it's competitors to see which one is the best with grading along with other qualities of the product. Consumer Reports has never taken advertisers or allowed it's test results to be used by manufactures who would like to to use beneficial results in advertising. The testing and it's results are only to be used by the consumers.

Recently, Consumer Reports has added surveys of its subscribers, asking them to report their experiences with products being tested. This makes the reviews much more useful to the consumer.

The best way to use the Consumers Report website.

When you need to search for information for a purchase it's usually one that comes with a hefty price tag. It may be a car, refrigerator or TV. When the item carries a large price tag it's best to do some research on the products and try to find one with the best ratings. This is where Consumer Reports shines. You can even sign up for a subscription, one month at a time. For $5.95, you can do all the research you need to do and you have 30 days to complete it. It's not a high price to pay for research for an expensive purchase and it's well worth it.

I have registered for the one month fee and gone online to check out ratings for a washer I needed to buy. I got my information and used the website for the month and then I was done with it. Only $5.95 and it helped make sure I was purchasing a washer that was well built and reliable.

Is Consumers Reports Relevant today?
For me it was convenient, relevent and an easy way to use Consumers Reports great data base of testing research. With over 3000 items tested you will definitely be able to find the item you need to know about.

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