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- $15 for a two-year subscription to the Chicago edition ($34 value)
The subscription includes four semi-annual print issues and newsletter updates delivered to your mailbox. It also includes online access to ratings, articles, the neighbor-to-neighbor information exchange, the Guide to Top Doctors, and Guide to Hospitals.
A Chat with Consumers’ Checkbook
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
Chicago Consumers’ Checkbook and Checkbook.org provide ratings of local service providers such as plumbers, doctors, auto repair shops, vets, and much more to help local consumers find the best service at the best prices. Checkbook is nonprofit and takes none of the advertising or other payments that can bias the ratings of other service-review websites and publications. Checkbook has rigorous evaluations based on more than 200,000 ratings collected in surveys of customers, many thousands of undercover price checks, and much more. Checkbook also tightly controls its survey process and surveys only known subscribers to maintain the integrity of its ratings—no ballot-box stuffing. Here’s what Consumer Reports says about how we’re different.
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
Our founder had repeated problems getting his car fixed properly and thought that there should be a way for consumers to find out which businesses provide the best service at the best price. In 1974, long before there was any other organization rating local services, Checkbook began operation on those founding principles and has been awarded the National Press Club’s First Place Award for Excellence in Consumer Journalism.
What do you love most about your job?
We love helping consumers save time, money, and hassle by making it easy to find top notch service at fair prices. Whether that be by doing complex analyses of millions of government records to identify which hospitals and doctors have the lowest complication rates for similar patients or shopping for hundreds of items at each of dozens of local supermarkets to report which stores have the lowest prices in the Chicago area, we dig into the hard facts and report those findings to our subscribers.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
It has been very satisfying over the years to hear great feedback from thousands of Checkbook subscribers about how our information has helped them save money and receive great service. A recent comment is typical: “I recently had my car in a dealer’s shop for an oil change and they told me I needed about $600 worth of suspension work. I took the car to a Checkbook highly rated shop much closer to my home for a second opinion and estimate. Their estimate was about 65% of the dealer’s and I was very pleased in all respects with their work, courtesy and professionalism.”