This morning whilst at work I received a phone call from a company called Astar Travel in the USA advising me that I was a lucky winner in a competition that I entered in.
The trip was for 4 people and including:-
7 days, 6 nights in Orlando at the Hilton or Raddam Hotel
2 days cruise in the Bahamas with all entertainment and meals covered but there would be taxes of US$249 pp. On the cruise we could do watersports, deep sea fishing amongst other activities and they would be free.
Then off to Sheraton or Hilton in Ft Lauderdale.
They also offered me the option of 7 days car rental or a 2 day pass to Universal Studios or City Walk.
And the list of goodies went on.
This all sounded too good to be true so I asked them whether they were joking or a radio station playing a crank call. She said that she was indeed calling from America and obviously the call was costing them money.
She said that any meals at restaurants and hotel taxes were my cost, but that they had recently assisted a lady in Australia to use this special and that I was the first person in New Zealand.
I would have 18 mths to travel and could extend it to a total of 2.5 years if necessary.
She asked me whether I was interested and when I said yes she said transferred my call to Delores Brown in the booking department.
They said to lock in this deal I would have to pay by credit card using Visa or Mastercard and the charge would be US$998. I wasn't too keen on this idea so said i would have to talk to my husband first.
She said that she could call my husband for me and placed me on hold to try and connect us on a three way call. Luckily for me my husband was in a meeting and wasn't available for an hour.
She gave me the company's website and told me to have a look at their deals.
Due to the time difference she said that they would be finishing up in 50 mins and would call me back to see if I had managed to contact my husband.
If we went ahead she said that they would send us a Fedex pack with all the information and vouchers filled out in our name. If we decided we didn't want to take the trip she said that we could sell the vouchers to someone else.
About 30 minutes later my work phone went again and another lady was on the phone asking me whether I had contacted my husband and wanted to go ahead with this special offer.
I told her that I wasn't keen on giving out my credit card details to a total stranger over the phone and that I had also done a search on the internet and couldn't find them registered as a travel agency.
She advised me that they were a travel resort company.
I then told her that after doing a search on google I had found several rip off reports about their company. She immediately transferred me to her manager who tried to explain the situation that obviously some customers changed their minds and demanded refunds. If they were refused they reported them on this website that I had found.
I then mentioned that I had found out that they were also 3 pages of websites of complaints about them when they were All Seasons Travel and Resort. Upon saying that he immediately hung up.
I have called the police and spoken to Interpol who have advised me that it is indeed a SCAM. They told me to report it to the Consumers Affairs and also to contact Trade Me.
I have sent two email to the lady who has the vouchers on Trade Me telling her my story and to go to this website.