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Probe: December 11, 2001

December 11, 2001

QUESTION: When I called Sears to schedule a minor appliance repair, I had to give Sears a four-hour "window" for the appointment. I was told that was due to a California law. I want to see that law in writing.

At work I am 20 minutes from home. A four-hour wait at home is unacceptable. Other repairmen call me at work when they are on the way to my place. — Unhappy Customer, No Town Given

Sears would have made the same arrangement with you, said Bob Diaz, general manager of the El Centro Sears store.

If you want to look at the "law," go to the law library in the Imperial County Courthouse, 939 W. Main St., El Centro. Look up Section 1722 in the California Civil Code.

It was written to protect you from a repairman who promised to come "tomorrow" and shows up at 5 p.m., leaving you waiting all day.

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It does not say you have to "give" Sears a four-hour window. What it says is Sears has only a four-hour period to show up on the appointed day. That's the "maximum" period.

It's the revised version of an earlier law that gave installers and repairman an eight-hour "window."

However, most repair services, including Sears, will call an "alternative" number at your job, friend or even your cell phone when the repairman is on the way so you can be home when he gets there.

QUESTION: My daily commute takes me across the intersection of Clark and Aten roads. It's just awful. When will the intersection be repaired?

We know if you raise this issue, you're going to hear the intersection belongs to the cities of El Centro and Imperial and Imperial County. Why can't they get together to share the cost? — Daily Rider, Imperial

It looks like reconstruction of the junction of those two roads could start in five or six months. A consultant has been hired and design work started. If all goes smoothly, the construction could be finished in a year, according to Joel Hamby, Imperial community development director.

The city limits of El Centro is at the railroad crossing on Clark, so it's not involved in the Aten-Clark intersection.

The joint project between Imperial and the county may cost as much as $500,000, Hamby said. A signal light will add $150,000 to the estimated $250,000 roadway construction. Throw in the design work and you're looking a half-million dollars.

We don't know how Imperial and the county will split the costs, but only the south end of the intersection (Clark) is a county road. The other three sides of the intersection are in the city of Imperial.

ZOOMING ALONG AT 70 — Have the Holtville commuters thought of taking Orchard Road to Interstate 8 to miss all the signal lights on Evan Hewes? Besides the signal at 111, there's one at Dogwood Road, another at Fourth Street, besides the 25- and 35-mph zones along the way. From Orchard Road to Imperial Avenue, you can zoom along at 70 mph on I-8. No stops for 10 miles! — Happy Traveling, Holtville

The Orchard Road connection works fine for us when our destination is on El Centro's south side or San Diego. If we're heading for downtown El Centro or north of Main Street, we're looking at another three-mile drive (10 minutes) across town when we exit the freeway. We prefer a restful wait at Highway 111.

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