For Immediate Release - March 26, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley Recovers Money for Consumers From Worcester Duct Cleaning Business Which Failed to Proved Merchandise and Services

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office reached an agreement with Worcester based Gold Star Restorations, Inc. (Gold Star) and its president, Eric J. Vieu, resolving allegations that it failed to provide merchandise and services to consumers including electrostatic air filters, ultraviolet light air purification systems and maintenance service packages. The settlement, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that Gold Star Restorations used high pressure tactics to entice consumers to pay for merchandise and services that were never delivered. As a result of today's agreement, Gold Star will pay $18,500 in restitution to 27 consumers for merchandise and services they never received.

"Gold Star took advantage of trusting consumers and pressured them into purchasing expensive products and maintenance packages that they never delivered," said Attorney General Coakley. "We urge consumers to always thoroughly research a business before any money changes hands and to call our office if they have concerns."

Gold Star, which was formerly located on Millbury Street in Worcester, but is no longer in business, allegedly advertised in VALPAK mailings throughout Massachusetts for cleaning services to remove dust and dirt from ducts. According to the settlement, once at the home of a consumer, Gold Star salespeople assessed the heating or cooling systems and used high pressure tactics to attempt to sell treatments for mold and mildew, electrostatic air filters and UV light purification systems that had to be installed by Gold Star.

The Attorney General's Office received numerous consumer complaints alleging that Gold Star deceived homeowners into pre-paying for air quality related items and future maintenance services that were never delivered, and when consumers attempted to contact Gold Star to inquire about delivery, Gold Star avoided communication and often failed to answer the telephone.

Gold Star remains incorporated but ceased business operations in August 2008. Today's agreement requires Eric J. Vieu, and Gold Star, should it re-open, to change their business practices to ensure that future customers will be provided with open and honest communication and that payment for merchandise will occur only after the merchandise is delivered. Any violation of the terms of the agreement will subject Gold Star and Vieu to a $30,000 civil penalty.

If consumers would like to check the reputation of a business, they should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400.

Assistant Attorney General Lee Hettinger of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division handled this matter, with assistance from Investigator Kristen Metzger and Advocate Ashley Cinelli.