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Hall of Fame / Hall of Shame


Here's my current list of some of the best and worst companies with whom I've done business, based on recent experiences.  These are in alphabetical order, so scroll down to see them all.  Contact me using the link at the bottom of this page if you have suggestions or disagreements.


Thumbs UP!The hard-working folks below offer good products, good prices, good service, or at least two out of three.  I encourage you to do business with them.  These recommendations are not based on a single encounter, and they don't necessarily mean we've had no problems; in fact, often the real test of a company is how they handle any problems that do occur.

Thumbs DOWN!The organizations below have, in my dealings with them, consistently failed to understand that their primary purpose is to serve their customers. In my opinion, these businesses don't deserve any of your hard-earned dollars.
Thumbs UP!Akruto Sync- If you are looking to synchronize Outlook contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, etc. between your Windows or Mac device and all your other devices, including iPhones and iPads, and Android devices, without storing your data in the cloud, this is for you. I have even used it to sync data between my desktop Windows computer and my laptop Windows computer. Highly recommended. Great customer support.

Thumbs UP!Charity Navigator - If you want to donate to a worthy cause, but also want to know that your donated dollars are being used effectively, I highly recommend Charity Navigator. They rate the charity based on (in great part) how many of your dollars actually make it to the intended beneficiaries.

Thumbs UP!The Chuckbox - Want a mouthwatering, mesquite-grilled hamburger fixed just the way you like it in a rustic atmosphere?  IMHO, best burgers on the planet (and I've been eating Chuckbox burgers since 1977, which means I've been eating their burgers longer than most of their employees have been alive)!

Thumbs UP!Discount Tire - I don't know what else to say.  If you don't know what tire you need, they'll help you select without constantly "up-selling you."  If you DO know what you need, bring in the best price you can find and they'll usually meet the price and order the tires in.  They are fast, honest, and have that "the customer is always right" attitude (even when as customers, we are being big fat jerks!). 

Thumbs UP!Free Conference Call - What's better getting services for free? Getting GREAT SERVICES for free. These folks offer a great way to set up a three-or-more-way call, with or without video or screen sharing. Please donate (you'll need to be logged in to your free account to do this) a few bucks to them if you use and appreciate this service.  

Thumbs UP!KJZZ - This local NPR-affiliated radio station, run by the Maricopa Community College District, is commercial-free, offers GREAT news (not 15 second headlines) on international, national, and local fronts, has "intelligent talk" programs midday, very funny shows suitable for the family on the week-ends, and REAL jazz music week-nights.  Give it a try, and then pledge. 

Thumbs UP!Morgan Mechanical - Trevor Morgan of Morgan mechanical is everything you could possibly want for a plumbing job (although they do HVAC as well). I have used him three times for plumbing. In all cases; he responded quickly to my requests for quote; gave competitive quotes; arrived when promised; did quality work for the quoted price; and left the workplace clean. I have NO hesitation in giving a hearty endorsement. You will be delighted!

Thumbs UP!Orion Mortgage - Brian Yampolsky and his staff give customized, personalized service to those looking for loans for a purchase or refinance. Brian makes you feel comfortable and confident in a process that can be otherwise quite intimidating. We ended up with a VERY competitive and low-cost loan for our most recent home purchase, and then a few years later, refinanced to a historically low rate. Orion takes customers by referral only, so be sure to tell Brian you found out about him here.

Thumbs UP!Showcase Mobile Detailing - Great car detailing service at a fair price. The crew called ahead, showed up when promised, and were clean and courteous as they worked to bring that showroom luster back to my card. And these folks passed the acid test; something went wrong, and when I contacted them to let them know, they jumped through hoops to make sure I was delighted. I can highly recommend them to make your vehicle look like new again!

Thumbs UP!Southwest Airlines - This is an excellent example of a company that keeps things simple. They treat their employees with respect, which results in happy and empowered employees who seem to enjoy working for the company, which in turn manifests itself in delighted customers. If I have a choice, I'll fly Southwest every time!

Thumbs UP!Wikipedia - Another "How do they do that?" amazing internet information resource.  This internet phenomenon relies on the COMMUNITY of internet users to keep their information tuned, relatively accurate, and helpful. 

Thumbs UP!ZealCards - These folks sell gift cards at a discount. Unlike most gift card resellers, they are responsive, honest, and just a delight to work with. In the few cases an issue arises, they always work with the customer to resolve problems fairly. I highly recommend!


Thumbs DOWN! - They have twice shipped the wrong product and refused to issue a refund.  Good thing I paid with Visa and the bank came to the rescue!

Thumbs DOWN!Arizona Republic/AZCentral - You don't have many choices if you want a daily paper in the Phoenix metro area, but this company sets new standards for poor customer service. They have limited hours for talking to a person. When you DO talk to a person, that person doesn't seem to care. They usually send you to their website, where you will go in circles in a fruitless search for pages that actually accomplish anything, such as changing your subscription, suspending service, making accounting changes, etc. Despite nine email unsubscribe requests, they continue to barage this customer with unsolicited emails.

Thumbs DOWN!Coldwater Creek - This company went out of business in 2020, partly because of poor customer service, ridiculous shipping charges, poor return and exchange policies. They have reappeared, but their reincarnation suffers from all the miserable policies and incompetence of their predecessor. They charge for shipping (and will NEVER refund it, even if they shipped the wrong item); they charge for return shipping (even if they shipped the wrong item); they take nearly a week to process orders; they take two weeks to respond to email inquiries; they don't post their return or exchange policies on their website (why should they, when they are so terrible?).

Thumbs DOWN!Comerica Bank - Their tag line is "Raise your expectations." You can raise your expectations, but that won't improve their performance.  I continued to lower my expectations during the short time I dealt with them and they still couldn't seem to perform. Yes, they actually tried to transfer money from my other bank to the Comerica checking account which was closed at my request three weeks earlier! 20th century systems, limited customer service hours, and representative who won't t take responsibility for the bank's poor service. I suggest you find another bank.

Thumbs DOWN!Mazda Financial Services - OMG. It's simply astounding how painful my interactions with MFS have been. First, to speak to a person, it took me two calls and nearly 15 minutes to find my way through their maze of telephone voice prompts, during which I had to input information only to have to repeat that information to the representative with whom I eventually spoke. Now, and this is absolutely true, there is NO WAY to see, on their website or on their e-statements, how much of my payment is principle and how much is interest. You have to call EVERY MONTH (and spend another 15 minutes!) to speak to someone to find out how much of your most recent payment was applied to the principle. I asked for a full amortization schedule so that I could have this information in advance. In fact, I asked twice, about two months apart, AND THE SCHEDULES WERE DIFFERENT, meaning I cannot rely on the information they provided. I can't believe it's even LEGAL to have a consumer loan where the statements don't show how much interest was paid each month. Stay away.

Thumbs DOWN! - Years ago I had listed on this hall of shame list, but when they disappeared from the Web, I removed them from this page. It turns out that like many bad businesses, they keep re-opening under a different name - and now they are doing business as This company is unresponsive to phone calls and emails, and they don't confirm orders. Worst of all, they don't ship your paid-for product or they send the wrong product. STAY AWAY!

Thumbs DOWN!Nationstar Mortgage - (Now MrCooper) Yet another company who gets five stars for infuriating their customers. If and when you can get through their telephone menu to speak with a real person, you will have been transferred from department to department, asked to enter or repeat your social security number, property address, and zip code several times, and finally end up with someone who can provide you no useful information whatsoever - only excuses for why something cannot be done or was not done. Unfortunately mortgages are often sold or transferred so you might end up with Nationstar not through choice. In 2017, they changed their name to MrCooper, perhaps in an effort to discard a well-earned terrible reputation; we'll see.

Thumbs DOWN!OptumRx - This is the prescription benefit side of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (and many other prescription drug plans). These folks have a web site that just plain doesn't work. And their automated telephone response technology doesn't work either. And their live representatives, when you can reach them, don't seem to know what's going on. Other than that, I guess these folks are okay.

Thumbs DOWN!Sears - I am amazed that these folks remain in business. My efforts to purchase two pairs of jeans from their internet site resulted in two shipments by Sears (without tracking numbers and neither of which contained the proper merchandise), several chats with people who did not appear to understand English, several phone calls, two trips to the UPS store to return the wrong merchandise, two charges to my credit which I had to dispute in order to get my money back, and a message on my phone that the UPS shipment was being held for me at a FEDEX location (no, really!). In the end, they never delivered the proper merchandise and I had to dispute the charges with my credit card company because the refunds for returned merchandise were wrong.

Thumbs DOWN!SmartOnBudget - Finally, a new company bad enough to be added to this page. Their ordering process duplicated my order, then failed to acknowledge either order. After accepting the order, THEN they offered 10% off because they thought I had left an item in the shopping cart. They then never sent any shipping confirmation. When queried about the missing shipment, they promised to get back to me with the shipping information or cancel the order - neither of which happened, of course. Be afraid; be VERY afraid!

Thumbs DOWN!Terri's Consignment - After cheating thousands of customers out of millions of dollars, declaring bankruptcy, being investigated many times by the Arizona Attorney General's office, violating orders to stay away from the consignment business, and violating the Consumer Protection Act, this place is back in business. They are up to their old tricks of cheating customers and delaying, withholding, or reducing payments for consignment items. Avoid at all costs!

Thumbs DOWN!US Bank - After applying for a credit card, a representative from a local branch made an unsolicited call to me and asked what assistance she could provide. My first request (to expedite the credit card application) received the reply "That's not my department." I never got a human to answer any phone call made to the local branch. And after making an appointment to meet to put a checking account into the name of our family trust, US Bank provided only reasons why the documentation I provided was insufficient - even though I provided the same documentation that every other financial institution accepted as sufficient. This is a company that, instead of empowering its employees to serve their clients, provides only excuses why requested services cannot be provided.

Thumbs DOWN!Woman Within - On the surface, this would appear to be a typically poor mail-order merchant. But they go from poor to terrible quickly. Items listed in their catalog are often not available. Some which are available don't ship for four months. When you place the items in your digital basket, one portion of the page says expected date is three weeks and the other portion says four months - which is right? And even for large orders, they charge shipping (and a LOT!). And their return policy is poor, and their return process is even more painful. You must pay for the return shipping (even when it's their error) and no refunds for the outbound shipping. Stay away.

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