Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Know The Do’s & Don’ts Of Travel Complaints

Have a bad travel experience over the holidays? Follow these tips to make your complaint heard: DON’T…  Relate every little thing that went wrong. You’ll sound like a whiner and the travel company won’t know which point to address. Just hit the “high” points that are most important to you.  Tell them a sob story. It’s unfortunate that you’re on a fixed income and you need the refund, but so are lots of other travelers.  Copy everyone in the world, including the CEO, the Better Business Bureau and your grandmother.  Threaten to sue or never to do business with the company again. A) Your letter may end up in the Legal Department; B) you don’t want to be labeled as a “difficult” customer; and C) you may have to use them again (for example, your family wants to take that cruise line). DO… • Put your complaint in writing, whether by email or letter, but keep it short and professional, without rage. Take the high road and tell them you’re looking for reasons to do business with them again. • Include any documentation. List exact times, places, names and dates. You’d be surprised how many people forget the most relevant details. • Give the system time to work. You may have to write a second letter or email if you don’t get a response in a reasonable period of time. But if you were legitimately disserviced, the airline or travel company will take you seriously and want to make it right.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are You Prepared To Help Your Aging Parents?

Have you thought about how you would handle an emergency if your parent became injured or ill? Here are four ways to prepare: 1. Get access to important medical records and contacts. Your parents will rest easier knowing you have information on their medical history, doctors, pharmacies, medications, and insurance policies. 2. Automate deposits. Set up social security and any other retirement income to be automatically deposited into the bank. 3. Automate bills. Set up utilities to be automatically withdrawn each month, and keep a list of recurring charges to avoid late fees. 4. Assemble a care team. Enlist a team of people (including their friends and neighbors) who are willing to call you if anything happens. Talk to your parents’ health care providers to let them know you want to be involved in their care.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stage Your Home 4 Success

Q. How can I “stage” my home so it sells quickly for the price I want? A. Make sure you address both the outside and the inside of the house by cleaning and de-cluttering everything, from the front yard to the garage to the kitchen, bathrooms, and basement. Put away your personal items so buyers can imagine themselves living there. One way to take years off your home is with paint. Check the home’s exterior paint job, and don’t forget the front door, mailbox, garage doors, and walkways. In the interior, remove the pictures from the walls (as well as old wallpaper) and paint the walls in a neutral color. Also, consider these tips if you want to sell your home fast for a good price: a) Hire professional cleaners to do the work; b) Get a home inspection before you put it on the market; and c) Make your landscaping look sharp. For a list of the specific steps you should take, ask for my Free Consumer Report called “4 Steps To Stage Your Home For A Fast Sale.” I’ll send a copy right to you. Call me at 206-226-0565

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quick Tricks to Make The Work Easier

Housecleaning isn’t fun, but you can make it easier on yourself by following these quick tips: 1. Set a timer. You are more likely to do a task if you have a cut-off time. 2. Clean the kitchen sink first. It has the most impact on the room’s appearance. It also removes one of your biggest sources of bacteria. 3. Don’t wear shoes in the house. 85% of the dirt coming into your home is tracked in on your shoes. Make your home a no-shoes-zone. 4. Create a per-room checklist. Create a list of chores for each room. This way, you can give another family member the list and teach the meaning of responsibility while also getting some help.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

4 Mistakes To Avoid When Bargaining

Whether at a yard sale or visiting a local market, it pays to know how to bargain. Follow these tips so both you and the seller are satisfied: Don’t rush. Visit with the seller. Express interest, let him or her know you like the item and ask for the price. Be willing to walk away if you don’t like the price. Don’t make the first offer. When the price has been named, wait before you say anything. After a few moments of silence, repeat the price so the seller knows you are listening. Slowly and deliberately give a reason why you are not willing to pay the asking price. Ask for their best price first. Don’t be combative. Place the item so both you and the seller can be looking at it, not each other. Show you are open to being fair. If the seller likes you, he or she is more likely to give you their best price. Don’t give ultimatums. Think of creative ways to make your lower offer agreeable. For example, suggest you might purchase multiple items if the price is right.