The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Astar Travel — Attempted scam
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
I decided to post my incident with Astar having read and benefited from the complaints I found on this site. One year ago I entered a draw online and was later informed that I won a vacation with Astar. As this was not a random ad that I clicked, I thought that maybe indeed I won a prize (after all, some people do win real prizes). Astar called me one year later! There was the typical blabla - a package of only $998 with Astar covering 85% of the expenses - that sounded good. The agent then asked my for my credit card details and after I refused to give in, he called the "security department" where another man tried to intimidate me and then hung up (when he realized I wasn't giving the card anyway). 1 month later Astar called me back around 30 times and I finally answered to get rid of them. This time, there was a lady slicker and smarter than the previous agent. After a lot of useless convincing, she realized I wasn't giving my card details on the phone and offered to verify her identity (I asked for that). She gave me her name and travel agent number. I called the toll free number on Astar's website and they confirmed the identity of my interlocutor. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to call a couple of friends to see what they think. They suggested I google Astar and stumbled upon this website. Needless to say that when the agent called back, I told her about my findings but then she answered that this is a ripoff attempt by some blackmailer and asked me to go to www.easy/link removed/ (which doesn't exist!) to verify her claims. At this point I ended the conversation.
Having spent a bit more time on the net, I found the following: Astar vacations do take place but their quality and actual expenses are far different from what they claim (http://boakes.org/talk/topic/astar-vacations). In addition, it seems that they try to sell timeshares (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071122051805AAJXnma). The full scheme is described here: http://boakes.org/florida-travel-vouchers/. So the deceit is subtler than what it first seems to be.
I'd like to thank the people who posted here before for helping me figure out this scam.