Probe: March 19, 2002

March 19, 2002

QUESTION: When I bought Nextel phones and arranged for service, I explicitly specified an El Centro phone number. The operator who helped me assured me that she had given me an El Centro number.

On her assurance I ordered my business cards and business contracts. The phone numbers turned out to be Escondido numbers, which is a long-distance toll call for the majority of my customers.

When I called Nextel, I was told the company had no El Centro numbers. I told Nextel to cancel my service. Nextel suggested I wait a few days while it tried to free up some numbers. I said OK and waited. A month passed with no word from Nextel.

I called again to terminate the service. I explained the situation to the operator and was transferred to another department where I was told they were too busy to talk and would get back to me in a day or two.


It's been a week and still no reply. I have called back and been placed on hold for 15 minutes without an answer. So here I am stuck with an unwanted service and business cards and printed office material I can't use.

I have to get new business cards and a local phone number for my customers. So why is Nextel doing business in the Imperial Valley if it doesn't have any local numbers and why is it so hard to cancel the service? — Captive Nextel Customer, El Centro

Nextel people thought Escondido WAS local because they have no idea where El Centro is — or where Escondido is.

When we got Nextel customer relations, the young woman kept asking, "How about Riverside? Palm Springs?" naming half the cities in Southern California.

Finally, she switched us to her supervisor, Jason, who freely admitted he didn't know where El Centro is so we told him, 128 miles east of San Diego, 50 miles west of Yuma and about 12 miles north of Mexico.

Jason confessed, "I am in the state of Washington. I don't know that area." Naturally, he got our usual PROBE lecture.

Jason promised to call you that day! Maybe he did because when we tried to call you, a recording told us your phone number had been disconnected.

Well, so much for modern technology!

ANOTHER OPTION — There is another option open to the man whose car was impounded at the fair. Tell him to call Chief Deputy Ernie Mendoza at 339-6302. Mendoza is the hearing officer where owners of impounded cars may complain when they feel an injustice has been done. — Chief Burns, rural El Centro

PROBE readers, write down that number. You never know when your car might be hauled away and you will want to complain.

A BRAWLEY FOUNTAIN SUICIDE — My grandfather Benny Uribe and Grandma Rosie ran the Brawley Fountain for close to 20 years. They made the Suicide there.

I worked for them for two years and this is how we made it. We mixed a little squirt of all the soda syrups (cola, root beer, cherry, orange, grape lemonade, 7-Up and squeezed a slice of lemon, added ice and carbonated water and stirred it up. It was a popular drink with a lot of the customers and the after-school crowd but I never cared for it. — Benny and Rosie's Granddaughter, Calipatria

Until we got your e-mail, we thought the Brawley Fountain was the fountain at the Brawley Drug Store. Thank you.

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