Yes...it is bad marketing that they start by saying you have WON a holiday. Clearly if you HAVEN'T ENTERED such a competition HOW CAN YOU HAVE WON???!! We knew we had not 'won' a holiday but we listened and understood that it was a DISCOUNTED holiday and the 'FINE PRINT' (we listened to that too) was we would, as a couple, be required to attend a 40 minute time-share presentation or we would forfeit any right to the discounted holiday. Being in Australia and being a couple of sceptics we questioned and questioned until we believed we understood what our rights and obligations were. We felt we made an informed decision to give our credit card details but, after reading all the rip-off reports about this company on the internet, worried about whether we had "done our dough". About a couple of weeks later a package did arrive in the mail and were our vouchers which fully explained the conditions of the purchase and how a refund could be sought if one changed one's mind. The vouchers had a validity of 1 year. I submitted the completed vouchers before the year expired but unfortunately the company had moved in that time but I contacted them by email & they graciously agreed to extend them for another year and that we could next time email rather than send them in physically. We (family of 2 adults and 2 children) decided to go to Canada for a holiday so booked the Florida holiday to coincide. 7 days/6 nts Orlando and 4 days/3 nts Ft Lauderdale with car hire option. (We declined the Las Vegas/Cruise options) I can only say the staff at Astar who helped organise our plans were friendly and helpful at every step. They answered all phone calls (they rang us for final arrangements) and all emails (about 22 in total). We have travelled a lot and have to say that the accommodations, whilst in Resorts we would not normally choose, were great. Excellent rooms, full facilities and in great locations since we were visiting all the Disney Parks in Orlando (a 5 minute drive away) and the Everglades at Ft Lauderdale. The car (which we ultimately upgraded to hold all our luggage) was also ready & waiting. We attended the time share presentation in Orlando and our only complaint in this regard was it went over time. There was also an insistence that we attend a second presentation when we arrived at Ft Lauderdale which was outside the agreement and it is in this regard that I feel the company did not act honestly as the fine print only required attendance at ONE presentation. I suspect, but cannot confirm, that there would likely have been another presentation on the Cruise. Yes! The time share presentations were a hard-sell and I know there are probably many who fall for it but again, LET THE BUYER BEWARE. We stood firm that their Resort Time Share Scheme was not for us and we parted with friendly handshakes and continued our holiday. We went with our 'eyes wide open' understanding that the presentations would be 'full-on" but also understood that we were getting good value in terms of accommodation costs/car hire. YES THIS IS A MARKETING SCHEME FOR THE RESORTS TIME SHARE SCHEME. BUT you do not have to a) give your credit card details if you do not wish to go on the holiday and b) buy into the time share if you do take the holiday. At the end of the day we enjoyed our side-trip to Florida and Ft Lauderdale and admit that otherwise we probably would not have gone but ultimately I am happy that our US $998 was not "stolen" by fraudsters. FOOTNOTE: I am writing this report because after we authorised the $998 deduction from our Credit Card I got on the internet to find out about our holiday and the company and everything I read was totally negative but nobody had actually been on the holiday and the only positive feedback was on the Astar site. I feel, having followed through with what they offered, (January 2008) I can provide some balance. I write this of my own volition.
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