Court logo

A Tucson home renovator accused of repainting decrepit air conditioners and installing them as new has been convicted of contracting without a license.

Agustin Peralta was fined $1,000 in Pima County Justice Court and was ordered to pay $7,100 in restitution to the property owner he victimized in 2017, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors said in a recent news release.

Peralta, 55, operated from a mobile home on Tucson’s far west side under the business name Peralta Appliances, public records show.

Business paperwork described him as “licensed, bonded and insured,” but Peralta has never been licensed and has never applied to be licensed, the registrar said.

A Scottsdale man hired Peralta in mid-2017 to renovate two aging Tucson mobile homes he had bought to fix up and resell, records show. He agreed to pay Peralta $30,500 for a list of upgrades including new carpets and tile, a new roof and ceilings in one of the units and new central air conditioning in both.

State law requires contractors to be licensed for any project with a total cost of more than $1,000 for labor and materials.

In a written complaint to the registrar, the victim said instead of new central air, Peralta installed two units that “were roughly 20 years old. Some of the hardware such as the blower was freshly painted to make them look new,” the complaint said.

One of the mobile homes was left with exposed wiring and a nonfunctional furnace, the other had a water heater “connected using a spliced extension cord,” it said. The victim said it cost him almost $14,000 to fix Peralta’s mistakes.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Peralta could not be reached for comment. A company phone number listed in Better Business Bureau records was not taking calls, and no one responded by deadline to a voicemail left on another phone number provided by directory assistance.

The registrar stressed the importance of checking a contractor’s credentials before work begins or money changes hands. In this case, the victim didn’t know Peralta was unlicensed because he didn’t check the state registry until after the fact.

Licensing information is available online at roc.az.gov or by calling toll-free at (877) 692-9762.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or calaimo@tucson.com. On Twitter: @AZStarConsumer.

Reporter

Carol Ann has been with the Star since 1999, but has been an investigative reporter for more than 30 years. She's won numerous awards in the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, she was a war correspondent in Iraq and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow in Michigan in 2008.