Mass. duct company agrees to make restitution

Nick Rees Mar. 26, 2010, 12:43pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachsuetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has reached an agreement with a Worcester, Mass.-based duct cleaning business over allegations that it failed to provide customers with promised merchandise and services.

Gold Star Restorations Inc., and Eric J. Vieu, its president were alleged to have used high pressure sales tactics to entice consumers to purchase electrostatic air filters, ultraviolet light air purification systems and maintenance service packages that it never delivered.

Gold Star, as a result of the agreement, will restitution in the amount of $18,500 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," Coakley said. "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 is no longer in business, is alleged to have advertised in VALPAK mailings throughout Massachusetts for cleaning services to remove dust and dirt from ducts. Once at a consumer's home, the settlement alleges, the company's salespeople would assess the heating or cooling systems and use high pressure tactics to sell treatments for mold and mildew, electrostatic air filters and UV light purification systems that had to be installed by Gold Star.

Numerous consumer complaints were received by Coakley's office alleging that homeowners had been deceived by Gold Star into pre-paying for air quality related items and future maintenance services that were never delivered. When consumers attempted to contact Gold Star, the company avoided communication or failed to answer the telephone.

Should the company, which ceased business operations in August 2008, re-open, the agreement requires it and Vieu to change their business practices to ensure future consumers are provided with open and honest communication and that merchandise will only be paid for after delivery. Any violation of the terms of the agreement will subject Gold Star and Vieu to a $30,000 civil penalty.

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