Contractor offers refund after delaying work to fix home affected by Harvey

Family says Habitat for Humanity donated appliances, may help finish remodeling

HOUSTON – When KPRC 2 met the Dunbar family during Harvey, they were soaking wet, stepping off a rescue boat in Ponderosa Forest. Their home was under five feet of water.

"We barely made it out," Yvette Dunbar said at the time. "I'm so thankful they got to us."

A few months later, the Dunbars began to believe in hope again.

"Every day gets better," said Argustic Dunbar, Yvette's husband. "And there was so much love from everybody."

They hired contractor Carlos Hernandez, owner of Hernandez Construction and Remodeling Services, who they said offered "a really great price" and "seemed very sincere."

"I checked him on Facebook," Yvette Dunbar said. "He had a business page, and some work from [as far back as] a year ago."

The Dunbars paid Hernandez about $5,000 to fix the walls, floors and baseboards, which he did. Then Hernandez quoted the Dunbars $7,240 to remodel the kitchen, cabinets, countertops, bathrooms and backyard. But he wanted that money up front.

"[He said], 'You know, you can trust me because I didn't ... stand you up. I was here,'" Yvette Dunbar said. "I said, 'OK, I guess so.'"

But after the Dunbars paid Hernandez for the second job, they said he started showing up less often, and eventually not at all.

"This man promised us our house would be ready by Thanksgiving," Argustic Dunbar said. "[And then], 'Oh no, it will be ready by Christmas.'"

"[He said], 'I broke my finger.' 'My daughter's in the hospital.' 'My truck broke down,'" Yvette Dunbar said. "It was one excuse after another."

The Dunbars last saw Hernandez in mid-December. When Yvette Dunbar called him with KPRC, Hernandez admitted that he didn't do the work, but promised to make it right.

"If I can, I'll take it to you tomorrow, at least half, tomorrow, too, you know, at least $3,000," Hernandez said. "No problem, ma'am, that's not going to be a problem. Like I said, I'll go ahead and refund you your money, ma'am."

But Yvette Dunbar said she'd heard that before. She also said that after months of delays, Hernandez had never apologized.

"I'm very disappointed, Carlos," she told him. "I trusted you."

Hernandez said his company is behind with a few customers, including the Dunbars. He said he plans to make things right with everyone, and then retire as a contractor.

"It's hard because we didn't get insurance already," Yvette Dunbar said. "It's like we're a victim again."

The Dunbars said Habitat for Humanity donated appliances for them, and may help them finish remodeling.

"Kudos to Habitat for Humanity," Argustic Dunbar said. "They're the bright spot in all of this."

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