Probe: October 24, 2001

October 24, 2001

INFESTED: For seven years, I have had a contract for termite control with Guyse Exterminators. I pay $100 a year. For that amount, the company would come out and check my house for termites once each year. If I got termites, it would exterminate the bugs for no further charge.

I have termites now. The infestation is so bad they're building a cone from the ceiling. I have been calling Guyse since August.

At first the receptionist told me, "Don't worry. They will get out there. They have sold the company but the new owner will honor all contracts."

But so far they haven't come. Now they don't answer the phone. I am afraid they have left town. It's going to cost $1,200 to hire another company to exterminate the bugs. Help! — Bugged, El Centro


We couldn't get anybody on the phone to find out why nobody came to debug your house. But if you have to go to court to get the money to clear out the termites, you're in luck.

According to a fictitious name declaration in the Imperial County Clerk's office, the business is owned by Maria Guadalupe Curiel Ortiz. Her address is listed as 1632 Scott Ave., Suite 5. The phone number is 353-1432. You may recognize the number. That's the one listed in the phone book, the one nobody answers. Hang in there; we have more.

According to county records, the bug business is owned by a corporation, Bradshaw Exterminators Inc. According to papers filed with the California Department of State, Monte Bradshaw is the corporate official designated to accept legal papers (like a summons into small claims court). His address is 614 S. Imperial Ave., Imperial.

HUNG: I am an 81-year-old widow and I have trouble getting things done. I hired Handyman Service to hang a door for me. Rudy Valdespino, the man who owns the business, left a young man there to do the work. He hung the door backward, and the work is sloppy.

When I complained to Valdespino, he said the door was hung that way because if hung correctly it might break the window. He refused to change it.

I have had a screen door hung the correct way on that door for 40 years, and I have never broken a window. My husband died three years ago after a 56-year marriage and it's so hard to do all this stuff myself. I paid Valdespino more than $200 to do the job and it looks like I am going to have to pay somebody else to do it right. — Widow, Brawley

Widowhood is tough, but you'll get the hang of it. Your first mistake was paying for the job before it met your approval. Your second was in not supervising the young workman after his boss left. In the early stages, you had a better chance of getting your way.

We were unable to reach Valdespino to coax him into rehanging your door. That's too bad because he may have had a compelling case why he didn't rehang your door.

There is a market and a need for small household repairs. When the word gets out that an individual or service does good work, people stand in line to hire that service.

Unhappy customers spread the word even faster.

QUESTION: I lost the PROBE article about the agency that lends money to low-income seniors to rehabilitate their homes. Can you give me the phone number again? — Loser, Brawley

Now write this down in your address book: Imperial County Community and Economic Development agency, 836 W. Main St., El Centro. The phone number is 337-7814.

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