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Unlicensed contractor takes $2,200 and abandons job

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Josh Pridemore hired an unlicensed contractor to upgrade his kitchen. (Source: 3TV) Josh Pridemore hired an unlicensed contractor to upgrade his kitchen. (Source: 3TV)
Pridemore handed over a series of checks totaling over $2,200 which was almost the full amount of the job. (Source: 3TV) Pridemore handed over a series of checks totaling over $2,200 which was almost the full amount of the job. (Source: 3TV)
Hernandez apparently didn't have a measuring tape because kitchen drawers were not closing properly and there were big gaps showing where drawers were unable to close. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Hernandez apparently didn't have a measuring tape because kitchen drawers were not closing properly and there were big gaps showing where drawers were unable to close. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Josh Pridemore and his wife are first-time parents. They're also first-time homeowners.

In fact, they recently purchased a Chandler home after looking around for a while.

“It was a little stressful,” Pridemore told 3 On Your Side regarding the home purchase. “It was exciting at the same time but it was stressful with all the details going into it."

Not long after moving in, Pridemore wanted to update the kitchen by installing granite counter tops. So, he turned to the internet and came across a guy named Joe Hernandez, who claimed to run a remodeling company called YoungStone Kitchens.

"He was very nice. He seemed knowledgeable. He took measurements. He seemed like he knew what he was doing with the counter tops," Pridemore said.

Hernandez drew up a contract saying he would install granite counter tops not only in Pridemore’s kitchen but also the bathroom for just under $2,500.

After the unlicensed contractor asked for money, Pridemore handed over a series of checks totaling over $2,200 which was almost the full amount of the job. But Pridemore says, he wasn't worried at the time.

"He was trustworthy I thought, so," Pridemore said.

Things might have started off great with Hernandez, but things quickly turned sour when Pridemore says Hernandez started roaming his Chandler neighborhood looking for power tools to start Pridemore’s job.

When the job did begin, Hernandez threw in some cheap Formica counter tops, not granite. And, the workmanship was extremely poor.

Not only did Hernandez not have power tools, he didn't have a measuring tape. That’s evident because kitchen drawers were not closing properly and there were big gaps showing where drawers were unable to close.

"This drawer is supposed to close and sit underneath this counter here and it won't,” Pridemore said as he was trying to close a drawer.

In fact, everywhere you look, Pridemore says Hernandez basically butchered his kitchen.

So, what does Hernandez have to say for himself?

Well, 3 On Your Side tried calling him, but this is what we got: "We're sorry, but the number you have dialed has been disconnected and is no longer in service."

We also tried researching YoungStone Kitchens but found no physical address or registration with the State of Arizona.

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors tells 3 On Your Side Hernandez is unlicensed and that he's being investigated for another similar complaint.

Pridemore says he should have known better and says he sure could use that $2,200 to finish his kitchen.

"I'm kicking myself every day because it's money we could have used. You know, new family and new baby. It's money we needed and we don't have it anymore," Pridemore said.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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