Mexicans are one of the nicest peoples. They are genuinely nice to the tourists that visit their country. They know we have money to spend, we are on vacation and we are looking for good deals. For the most part the majority of Mexicans are honest and doing a good job to support their family. BUT there are those that are trying to scam you. We also have scammers in the US and Canada. The difference is that in the US the people call it out via many means and police will shut them down(most of the time). In Mexico….. it seems to be allowed to happen. Everyone knows it happens and you are just made aware and expected to take care of yourself.
These adventure trip centers sell day adventure which are real, fun and honest. They can also send you to the timeshare presentation…so beware, they make money for sending you. I’m also not against timeshare. “see my notes at bottom of blog”
Dan and I accepted an invitation to a timeshare presentation. We knew what we were getting into, we knew we were not going to buy anything, but it wasn’t just a hard pushing sales deal, it was a pure scam. Why did we go, you are asking? Well they reward you for sitting through the presentation with a gift, YES? We have all done this at one time or another. So we scored $3,600 mxn cash ($190 usd), plus we just wanted to see other areas of Puerto Vallarta and facilities. Timeshares are all over Mexico. We didn’t think that it was going to be a total scam.
Our story begins on a Sunday morning. We were picked up by a taxi and delivered to the Vallarta Gardens Private Boutique Residence Club. It was very private with a guarded gate, not uncommon for mexico. Uncommon was a solid wood fence and closed tight unless the guards opened it up. A normal guards gate is a stand with a arm blocking the road. Dan and I commented on “why was there no name on the front of the resort?” they just had an emblem but nothing advertising their resort, this was odd. The escort didn’t know the answer. We were delivered to an area close to the beach where we were served breakfast after 45 minutes of signing us in.
We had a couple folks sit down and talk with us. Ultimately our sales guy was a Mexican man named Bill that grew up in the US and spoke perfect english. He chatted with us during breakfast. He told us heart wrenching story of his 18 year old son dying. Not sure if this was true or part of the scam. He also told Dan to stop using his phone during the meetings, which didn’t sit well with Dan. Mainly because Dan like to search on stuff if he isn’t sure or wants more data…well, they don’t want that.
We were shown 3 different units. I started feeling odd when I saw no one…… I mean NO ONE at the resort. Until we got on the elevator with one very sad looking guest. Bill asked about his stay. Something about his $199 usd, 4 day stay. We didn’t comment about it, but my spidey senses were going off big time. I instantly thought he was a plant. He was not a happy resort person, like he had ridden up/down the elevator all day. The 1st room was gorgeous. We were told we could book with 24 hour notice. We asked questions about how many rooms and how booked they were. Which again the answers of approx 280 rooms and 70% occupancy. They maintain this % for a quick turn around for the owners. Again, didn’t make sense. As we walked to the next units we saw two young ladies at one pool and one lady on her deck on her cell phone. I just couldn’t believe that they could be successful with no one in the resort. Well, unless they are taking money and not real tenants.
IF…. it is too good to be true, your right!!!
NOW for the pressure sales job area. At this time we didn’t get that it was a scam yet. But we both knew something wasn’t adding up. As he started sharing the cost and why we should buy and how we can get $$ back by returning a portion of our allowed 4 weeks back to the company and we would get paid within 8 months thousands of dollars because they could rent it to other people. It was a break even deal… They said!! Right?
We didn’t like the approach and the soon to be realized scam. When we didn’t go for it, they brought in the high pressure sales guy. These guys make it so you can’t say no. Because the questions they ask you are in a manner in which you have to say yes. They want you to say, yes it’s a good deal. “Then why aren’t you buying now” comes out. When we didn’t fall for buying the cheapest deal they had at $40K. Half down and 16% interest on remaining balance. High interest rates so you will refinance with someone else and pay them off… Getting all their money within a few months! AND… All this didn’t include the 1000+ dollars per month HOA fees. We still didn’t bite. They were not happy with us now. The high pressure salesman storms off in a huff. “Kinda like a spoiled child that didn’t get his way”
They sent us upstairs with a marketing guy. He starts off by saying they want to market better and eventually tells us about a deal where we pay about $3,500 today and we get $20,000 in travel dollars. The catch is, you have to give online reviews within a specific amount of time. Again, my spidey senses are going off.. we asked if we could chat about it alone, which they allowed. (surprised they let us) When we came back Dan asked to see the contract. Which had no contract wording or even looked like any formal agreement. Again, they were not happy when we said no,. They then took us to the cashier and paid out our participation pesos and a taxi was ordered.
Once in the taxi, the googling started. Both deals are scam and many many people are getting taken. When we started reading the comments, they are pretty bad. Many folks have struggled after they realized they were scammed and tried to put a stop to the charge on their card. With the outrageous cost and no money back if they don’t stay for 4 weeks a year, the cost is killing couples. They also still have a signed contract which they need to get out of. I could see online that some folks actually stay there and give reviews, but not many good comments.
Our marketing guy that was a “too good to be true” ploy of 20K travel $$ for 3,500 fee was an even bigger scam. We could read online that no one was getting any travel $$ and reviews from folks were reporting that the site was bogus and nothing worked. This sales job was a total 100% scam.
It is very hard to tell that they are deceiving you, they lie and they are good at it. They have lots of practice. Americans and Canadians fall for it all the time. We all want a good deal and it seems like an awesome deal. But listen to your intuition and what doesn’t seem right!
There were purchases done that day by other couples. When we were in the “let’s make a deal” room I saw couples handing credit cards out. The room had about 8 couples chatting with different sales guys during the whole event. I saw only 1 other couple with us at the cash out station. Sad situation for those that got sucked in.
I have to thank my parents for all their good work with teaching me to not trust what doesn’t’ seem right. Trust my intuition and spideys sense all the time. (don’t think Mom called it spidey sense, that’s just what I call it) Assume that it probably isn’t right if it doesn’t seem right. Too good of a deal, is a fake deal. If it has to do with money, it is even more of a suspect.
- We saw lots of things that didn’t make sense No name on the resort
- Solid gates at entrance
- No one at resort
- No risk to you statements
- High cost and high interest
- Very high Monthly HOA
- Eager to take my money
- No phone usage allowed
- if it seems too good to be true, it ALWAYS is!
- What we all should do before going to one of these (Not all timeshares are scams)
- Google the timeshare company, see what type of feedback they have
- Google the resort name for feedback
- Type scam with the name(s) and see what comes us
- Look for comments, feedback & reports from real people
- During the meeting, ask for time away from them to discuss
- If they ask you to not use your phone, be concerned
- Make an agreement with your spouse before going, what will happen
- Agree what amount of $$ you can afford
- Don’t buy without reading and understanding everything on the documents
- Only buy if you currently spend that much money on travel
- Ask them… “you mean if I come back in 3 days and want to buy, you won’t take my money” …. come on people, of course they would.
Dan and I ended up being fine and came out ahead, but that isn’t always the case.
READ about what you are buying before you buy. Learn and carefully pick what you would want to spend that money on. AND always assume the worst with high pressure sales men!
Example of a tiny bit of searching can find you… mexico timeshare fraud
Please note** Dan and I are not against timeshares. We don’t own any, but many of our friends do and use them all the time. Just be aware, don’t spend more than you can afford and research before you buy. ALSO, there are tons of resales of timeshares that people don’t use for dirt cheap. Do your research, you go hunt for the one you want, rather than they find you.
As always, Please feel free to share my website or post the link in your FB. If I could save a few couple heart ache, money and pain with this article, I would be happy.
Let’s all agree to NOT BUY ANY BIG PURCHASE WITHOUT TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT!!!
Thanks for following, I am grateful for you! Tenga un buen dia = Have a good day
Our next blog is our boat yard adventures… sorry for postponing the Repair Blog!