ASTAR TRAVEL, TAMPA, FLORIDA DEFRAUDS NEW ZEALAND FAMILY OF FOUR
Astar Travel needs to change their name to "Fraudstar Travel". We purchased a 14 night accommodation package from Astar Travel for US$998 (6 nights Orlando, 3 nights Ft Lauderdale, 3 night cruise and 3 nights Las Vegas). The general terms and conditions provided by Astar "guarantee all hotels to be at least 3 stars or higher". In fact before purchasing the package, Astar (Fraudstar) gave assurance that they only deal with quality hotels and gave the Radison, Ramada and Golden Nugget as examples. We decided to travel from NZ to USA in November of this year, giving us ample time to book airfares and make accommodation arrangements - or so we thought. We forwarded our reservation forms to Astar by international courier. They initially denied receiving these, even though the courier had a signed receipt from them. After repeatedly chasing Astar with emails and phone calls, they have now been able to confirm the Orlando accommodation BUT - in a condo, out of town - not the 3 star plus hotel promised. Still waiting to hear from them about Ft Lauderdale - apparently this takes a further 3 weeks - unbelieveable in these days of internet and electronic ticketing! They refuse to reserve the Las Vegas Hotel as tax is an extra and I refuse to authorise payment until they have sorted the Orlando/Fort Lauderdale accommodation. They don't like this and say they won't reserve the Las Vegas hotel for me now. They also want me to authorise payment for the cruise when most of this cost should have been included in the package to start with. To summarise, Astar's package has been grossly misrepresented to me, I will not get what I paid for and will be lucky to get anything at all. The service has been atrocious with Astar's conflicting, misleading, deliberately slow and at times downright rude and aggressive response to my concerns. They have phoned me three times shortly after 3.00 am - and yes, they are aware of the time difference. I have lodged complaints with: the Credit Card Division of my Bank, the Better Business Bureau, the Internet Crime Complaint Centre, the Florida Attorney General and I am in the process of notifying "Ramada", "Radisson" and "Golden Nugget" of Astar's misuse of their name. I am also contacting the New Zealand Government Commerce Department, bona fide travel agents and airlines to make them aware of Astar's fraudulent activities, in an attempt to warn as many people as possible. We are an average New Zealand family saving hard for our big USA trip and the experience with Astar has soured this for us. I cannot believe that an organisation like Astar is allowed to carry on operating.