I was rung By Astar Travel a few days after replying to a "you have won a Holiday for being umpteenth visitor to this site" banner ad.
I'm the last person you would think to get suckered by this ploy but god help[ me they got me in a weakened state while my Hubby was still in Iraq and I was depressed. Not really an excuse for giving them My Credit details.... $998US Just under $1300 Australian
I had second thoughts almost immediately after I put the phone down and tried to ring them back. No use they had closed for the day. Florida business hours are between 4am and 1pm Tuesday through Saturday if you live in on the East Coast of Australia.
Rang them at 9am the next day to cancel the tickets but was told no you can't. Even after a really good sob story they refused to budge but finally offered 1/2 back $449US.
I agreed reluctantly and immediately rang my bank who told me that I would need a deauthorisation faxed on Astars letterhead to cancel the payment before transaction completion in 4 days. (I found out later that some American Companies push Authorisations on Credit transactions through in 24 to 48 hours.)
I rang Astar back by 9.30am and was told that the credit transaction had already gone through after having just been told by my bank no it hadn't there was only an outstanding Authorisation. This is less than 24 hours after the Authorisation was made. Astar just lied to me and said they couldn't deauthorise the transaction because it had already been banked when I knew full well it hadn't. This is FRAUD...
I rang my bank back and filed a payment dispute. Then I went Hunting anything to do with Astar on the internet.
Hint 1. Go to the Florida State Legislature Web site www.flsenate.gov/Statutes and look up the requirements for Sellers of Travel in,to and from the State of Florida. Also that dealing with Time Share Companies.
Plenty of Legal Leverage to be gotten there... Boy they're either really ignorant of or willfully ignored the Law. No registration number read out. None of the legally require disclaimers. I never got a copy of my verbal contract as legally required either. Not to mention your legal right to a 30 guarantteed refund on Travel vouchers which Astar point blank refused.
Hint 2. Note as many web sites as you can associated with ASTAR and All Seasons Travel and Resorts Inc. Then go to www.whois.com and look up who legally owns these web sites. Most are under the same name... Funny that huh?
Hint 3. Compile a target list of names, addresses, email addresses and Fax numbers. and start with the frequent letters, emails and faxes stressing the fact that you are legally entitled to a refund within the 30 day refund period if you change your mind.
Through a whole heap of legalese in there if you can but always back them up with facts. Get dirty and send copies to the owner of the web site and all the affiliates you can. They will want this stopped ASAP and will cave quickly once this starts.
Keep at them no matter what. Don't let them get away with this. I also sent emails of complaint to the Tampa County Council, the Florida State District Attorney, the US Federal Trade Bureau. I got mean.....
I was given a full refund within 6 weeks of starting my campaign. I'm writing this now so that others know they can get ASTAR to refund if they know their rights and are willing to fight for them.
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