Monday, March 28, 2011

Walgreens to Acquire Drugstore.com

Walgreens announced that it will acquire Drugstore.com, a popular online retailer for a reported $409 million, according to TechCrunch.

Walgreens will also obtain other websites operated by Drugstore.com, including Beauty.com and SkinStore.com. The drugstore said it will maintain separate branding for each website.

Drugstore.com, which was founded in 1998, operates out of Bellevue, Washington, with more than 1,000 employees. Walgreens has promised it will maintain the corporate office after the merger. Drugstore.com registered more than $456 million in sales in 2010.

Monday, March 14, 2011

After an Auto Collision: Informed Towing and Repair Information

Car accidents usually bring a load of stress, leaving motorists in need of immediate help. Accident victims who may not make informed decisions on their towing and repair services could face high up-front fees, improper repairs and extended lengths of time in which their vehicles were out of service while waiting for repairs.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicago and Northern Illinois has compiled the following tips to help drivers make informed decisions after an accident:

Towing:

• Call your insurance agent from the accident scene.

• Never give permission to a tow operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.

• Do not provide a tow truck operator with personal lien holder information.

• Ensure that the tow truck signage matches the name that you called and is identical to any documentation the tow truck operator provides.

• If the truck is not marked, ask for identification.

• If in doubt, call the company back to insure the operator is.

Repairs:

• Get recommendations. Talk to friends and family for recommendations. Ask your auto insurance agent, auto parts salesperson, or other business people you know.

• Check the repair shop's complaint records with the Consumer Protection Division and their Business Review your Better Business Bureau. The shop you select should have a good track record of resolving any complaints.

• Look for a mechanic with experience working on the same automobile model and make as yours. Seek out a mechanic with good credentials, updated knowledge and skill. Some shops display ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification, which indicates the mechanic has met basic standards in a specific technical area. You can also check for shops that participate in the AAA auto service program. But be careful. An ASE test or other certification is not an indication of ethics and integrity.

• Interview mechanics. Are they willing to answer your questions? Do they convey a positive, professional image? Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same model vehicle as yours.

Ask the shop for the names of customer references. Then call those references.

• Look for a shop with a clean and well maintained repair area.

• Do not pay in full until the repairs are complete.

For more information on finding auto repair companies you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tax Preparation Advice

Most Americans will get assistance from a professional tax preparer or tax software when filing their taxes this year. The Better Business Bureau encourages taxpayers to use caution when selecting tax preparation help or they may get hit with headaches and mounting fines and fees if the return isn’t correct or filed late.


• Ask around. Get referrals from friends and family on who they use and check the BBB Reliability Report on tax preparation services at www.bbb.org

• Look for credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent. All three can represent you before the IRS in all matters, including an audit. Also, find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that holds its members to a code of ethics.

• Don’t fall for the promise of a big refund. Be wary of any tax preparation service that promises larger refunds than the competition, and avoid any tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund.

• Think about accessibility. Many tax preparation services only set up shop for the months leading up to April 18. In case the IRS finds errors, or in case of an audit, you might need to be able to contact your tax preparer throughout the year.

• Read the contract carefully. Read tax preparation service contracts closely to ensure you understand issues such as how much it is going to cost for the service, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected and whether the tax preparer will represent you in case of an audit.

For more advice on finding professionals you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

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