As someone who has traveled alone and with others, I have fallen in love with Mexico and its natural beauty, as well as the friendly people I have met along the way. I want to help others find their own level of comfort while travelling in this amazing country. If you have any concerns I will help you navigate to the best possible solutions so you can enjoy your vacation!
Mexico is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with an incredible variety of places to visit and inhabited by genuine friendly people. However, if you’re planning to make your next vacation trip to this country, there’s something you should be aware of, and we’re not talking about the violence, but about the Mexican timeshare fraud. In the following article we’ll describe more details about this matter.
You recognize it the second you arrive at the airport. It may be your first time to Mexico and you're looking for your transfer arrangements. You see signs that look valid from the company you booked through.
This is where it starts! Please avoid anyone inside the airport. Your legitimate transfer is waiting outside. According to Mexican law, timeshare representatives can conduct business inside airports, NOT outside.
MEXICAN TIMESHARE FRAUD - WHAT IS IT?
The Mexican timeshare fraud is a scam made by a number of companies (specifically resorts and condos) through some of their employees. They try to convince vacationists to visit their facilities, by promising them a special tour with a free breakfast included, among other things. Once these vacationists have bitten the first bait, they keep them for hours there to persuade them to buy a timeshare in their company. And they put lots of pressure on it! But that’s just the beginning of the serious problem that represents a Mexican timeshare fraud.
Mexican Timeshare Fraud – How to know you’re being a victim
You’ll know your being a victim of a Mexican timeshare fraud by the tactics that the timeshare salesmen use all the time. First of all, they will tell you’re making an excellent financial investment: that’s for sure! They will make an effort to make you believe you’re doing the best deal of your life. Another thing they will say to you is that you could make lots of money by renting the property out, and this is presented as something sure and profitable. What they also tell you is that, if you want to resell the property, you will do it easily and with no further problems. So if you happen to listen some of this promises, you better be aware, because you might become a victim of a Mexican timeshare fraud.
Mexican Timeshare Fraud – Is it legal?
Timeshare in Mexico is recognized under the laws of the Mexican Republic as an available way to obtain rights to use real state. Nevertheless, the timeshare salesmen are commonly aggressive with their sales tactics; intimidating people and pushing them to acquire a timeshare, without letting them know all the disadvantages and responsibilities that getting a timeshare property might take. Once they’re being misleading by not telling you such things or evading important questions, that trade becomes a Mexican timeshare fraud.
Mexican Timeshare Fraud – What to do if you’re already a victim
If you’re already a victim of a Mexican timeshare fraud, you shouldn’t be hopeless, being that not everything is lost. You should contact PROFECO within 5 days of signing anything in Mexico.
How long do I have to rescind my timeshare? – Mexican Law
You’re not alone, and many vacationers have been through the same situation. Timeshare scams in Mexico have become a huge problem, and the number of Mexican timeshare fraud victims has been increasing at an alarming rate. However, there is always a way to get out of your timeshare contract, all you have to do is to investigate about the possibilities to get rid of a timeshare you no longer want in a legal way. So, How long do I have to rescind my timeshare? Find out the answer to this question by reading this article. Despite of what you might be told during timeshare presentations, you will always have a legal right to rescind your timeshare. Many people are forced to sign away their right to rescind, but this is an illegal practice and it does not exclude you from your right to cancel.
According to the law in Mexico, you have 5 business days (Monday-Friday) to legally rescind your timeshare contract after you have signed it. If you decide to cancel the contract within that period, you should notify the resort about your decision as soon as possible.
Timeshare scams in Mexico
Due to the magnificence of its beaches and its beautiful locations and surroundings, Mexico is a very touristic country, because of that; it makes sense to know that it is the second country in the world with more timeshare developers, just after the USA. From the airport to the streets, timeshare salespeople are everywhere, and anyone could easily become a victim of a timeshare scam while vacationing in Mexico.
There are many timeshare companies that use fraudulent and misleading tactics to sell their units. Also, because the concept of timeshare has already a bad reputation, they usually claim that they do not really sell timeshares, but vacation memberships, which is actually the same. The complaints about this matter are so many that not even PROFECO (The Mexican’s Consumer Protection Agency) can take care of all of them.
PROFECO: Mexico's Consumer Protection Agency
PROFECO Is an administrative branch of Mexico’s federal government whose purpose is to strengthen consumer rights. They have one department that is dedicated to assisting foreigners who have made bad purchases in Mexico or fallen victim to timeshare scam. This department is named C.A.R.E., Departamento de Conciliación a Residentes en el Extranjero. Many timeshare scam victims that have purchased timeshare contracts based on fraudulent promises are referred to resolve their disputes against the timeshare developer.
5 DAY CANCELLATION PERIOD
If the client is trying to cancel within the 5-day rescission period, the agency will give them a standard cancellation letter to sign, date and send by registered mail to the timeshare developer and to Profeco’s head office in Mexico City. After that point, the client is instructed to wait for a minimum of 20 days before they can assist further with their timeshare fraud case. The resort is supposed to refund the down payment within 15 days of receiving the cancellation letter, if the letter was sent within the 5 day rescission period; however, many resorts do not respond to the cancellation letter and try to delay the process as much as possible. Although the agency makes every effort to help clients to get their full refund in situations of timeshare fraud as outlined by the consumer protection laws, unfortunately the timeshare developers often use the fact that the client has gone to Profeco as a delay tactic.
THE TRICKS AND DELAY TACTICS
The timeshare developer then claims that because agency is involved, the timeshare scam situation needs to be reviewed by their legal department, instead of just processing the refund through their sales department. As such, a simple rescission of a fraudulent contract, can turn into a nightmare of waiting several months for the cancellation of the contract and a refund. If the client does not get a resolution to their timeshare situation, the agency may require the case to be reviewed in several hearings, to which the timeshare representatives often do not attend.
The fine that Profeco charges to the resort for not attending the hearings or for not resolving the problem, is very small in comparison to the money that they make from not returning the client’s hard earned money. The agency can help with the mediation process, but has no power to enforce the resolution for a client who has been scammed. Some clients have contacted us because they never received their refund, even though they cancelled within the 5 day period according to law, and have followed all of Profeco’s procedures to rescind the timeshare they cancelled.
There are other limitations to the service provided by the agency for timeshare scam victims. The first is that the agency has a statute of limitations of one year. Many timeshare purchasers do not realize they have been scammed until they try to book a vacation or rent their weeks. It often takes timeshare owners more than a year to figure out that the promises that were offered were fraudulent, particularly if they purchased a biannual plan. Other times, the resort will say that they will take back the 1st year of use to reduce the original purchase price. This is another delay tactic, to ensure that the client has no recourse through the agency to fight against the timeshare developer because they do not try to use it until after one year. In all of these cases, the agency is not able to assist the clients because of the one-year limitation.
The main limitation with the agency is that if you, as a client, decides to file a claim with them, all of the information needs to be provided in writing. Normally, none of the false promises used in the sales pitch for timeshare scams are outlined in writing. The timeshare developers have large legal teams that regularly update their contracts to protect their staff. They often include statements for clients to initial or sign, where they agree that they have not been offered any promises verbally. These are intentionally put in the contracts as the developers are aware that their salespeople make outrageous verbal promises of investment income to clients in order to increase their sales. As most of the timeshare scams arise because of verbal lies and misrepresentations, the agency is not able to help clients to resolve their matters, as only written documents and contracts are considered.
National Immigration Institute
From Mexico City: 5387-2400.
Ministry of Tourism
From Mexico City: 5250-0123 or 5250-0151.
From the rest of Mexico: 01-800-903-9200. From the USA: 1-800-482-9832
Mexico Airport Tips
Once at the airport in Mexico and having cleared customs with your luggage, you are now headed out to find your transportation, and getting to your airport transfer is not as you would expect. You will be aggressively approached by persons representing themselves as your tour operator inside the terminal.
What are you supposed to do??
Wood Travel offers invaluable information to our clients when travelling in a foreign country and we will help guide you step by step when you wonder what you should do and what you should avoid.