Time Share Presentations: From the moment you step off the plane
or cruise ship, you'll be continually offered opportunities to attend time share
presentations. The OPCs (Outside Personal Contacts) who book you will
offer you cash, gifts, coupons and free tours. The cash value is
as much as $500 for attending a 90 minute presentation. Be very
careful. While Mexican contracts are honored, verbal promises are
not. Assume unfinished projects will never be finished.
Assume the units you eventually book will look nothing like the models.
Assume the checks they promise to send you won't ever come.
Most time share purchases don't make any sense.
Let's say you pay $10,000 for a studio, with an annual maintenance fee
of $1,000. For $1,000, you can stay a week almost anywhere in
Mazatlan without paying $10,000 to commit to just one place. If
you want to go somewhere else by trading your membership, there are
additional exchange fees that can equal another $500. You end up
paying $10,000 or more for a week at the same resort, year after year.
To trade, you will probably pay twice as much for a week you could have
just purchased online without the initial $10,000 investment. It's
crazy. If you own a time share, they'll offer to buy it from you
to "trade up" at a ridiculously high trade in value. Guess what?
They won't really buy it. The best they will do is inflate the
value of the time share you are buying, then deduct your old time share
trade in off the inflated new time share price. The worst
nightmare comes when they promise to send you a check. It NEVER
comes. The result in either case is that you now own two time
shares, and owe two maintenance fees a year. Most resorts use the
Rental Scam. ("If you don't use it, we'll rent your time share for
$2,000 a week and send you the check. Buy today and you'll be
rich!") If the lure of free money is irresistible, just use common
sense. Before you invest, do a Google search for "time share fraud
in time share presentation -
- These colorful, outgoing personalities are everywhere in
Mazatlan, particularly in beachfront hotel district called Zona
Dorado (the Golden Zone). The OPC will book your tour of a
resort, offering you a deal that is Too Good To Be True. You
get up to $500 per couple for attending a full 90 minute
presentation. You almost always get what they promise you for
Check in - The resort will have a hostess who checks your
identification. The purpose is to make sure you are qualified
to purchase. OPCs will take your word that you are married,
staying at a hotel and have credit cards. If you've lied to
get the gift, the hostess will find out at check in.
Meet and Greet - Your hostess will introduce you to the front
end salesperson, called a Liner. It is the Liner's job to make
you feel comfortable, give you a short survey (to find out how to
sell you), give you breakfast, show you the resort and tell you the
basics of the program. You will be with the Liner for no more
than 45 minutes.
Turnover - Ever bought a car? The salesperson at some
point probably turned you over to a Manager. It's the same
here. The Manager is the Closer. The Liner may or may
not stay at the table.
Close - By now you should have seen an opening price. They
will justify this opening price with a variety of examples and
economic data. This is to establish value. There will
usually be one or two "drops", a significant "today only" offer
justified by a clever story. Here are the three most common
contract just came available". Somehow, the resort
made money off someone else, they ended up with a contract to
sell, and they will pass the savings to you.
The "buy back". This is the nastiest time share ploy
going. It is where they offer you significant amounts of
money for your current time share if you'll buy one of theirs
today. The contracts are carefully worded. They will
only commit in writing to putting your current time share up for
sale. No one will buy. You will just end up owning
"rental program" where they use your purchase for a couple years
so the resort can use your inventory. Again, they tell you
they will make their money off someone else. In this scam,
you give up your rights to use your time share. The
contract does not guarantee any rental, or your rental payment.
The only thing that happens is that you cannot use your own time
Exit #1; Builder's Representative - If you end up buying, after
you sign several agreements, you will see the Builder's
Representative. The Liner and Closer have just spent several
hours (they never last 90 minutes) telling you lies. They say
whatever they have to get you into the deal. The Builder's
Representative must tell you things that are closer to the truth,
but his job is to keep the deal together.
Exit #2; Exit Program - Congratulations. You weathered the
storm and didn't buy. Before you get your gift, you need to go
see a different Builder's Representative. You think you are
done, but you're not. This is one more sales pitch. The
Exit Program is usually a discount vacation club. For $1,000
to $3,000, you buy into a program with no annual dues or exchange
fees. These memberships are connected to an online discount
vacation plan, where you book into a group of resorts at greatly
reduced rates. If you travel annually and like to go to
different places, these purchases can make sense.
Gift and Release - There is a different person, usually in the
same area where you met the Hostess, in charge of the gifts.
They may try to weasel out of the deal, but if you completed the
tour and stayed for 90 minutes, don't back down. They owe you,
and will usually pay.
bought and now regret it. Now what? -
Five day right of rescission - You have 5 days after your
purchase to rescind without penalty. You need to go to the
resort and speak to the Builder's Representative who signed and
reviewed the contracts with you. Beware. Many times, the
resort will make pleasant sounds and even give you a piece of paper.
Don't believe any more lies. Stay calm. The crucial step
is getting the credit card charges reversed. Don't fall for
any more lies. Don't leave without getting a signed credit on
a form that looks exactly like the credit card slip you received
when you made the purchase.
After 5 days - Your only recourse is Profeco. This is branch of
the Mexican Government that operates like Consumer Protection Agency
in the United States. All the contact information can be found
Fair warning, though. These resorts know how the game is
played, and you do not. Your contract is your only protection.
It is legal for salespeople to lie in Mexico. If your only
complaint is that your salesperson verbally promised you a check for
$50,000, you will appear foolish to the Mexican civil servant.
You have probably been outmaneuvered. Most time share
contracts are airtight, in favor of the resort.
Attorneys - The legal system in Mexico is a minefield of
bribery, lies, false encouragement and dashed hopes. You won't
find justice in the Mexican court system. Again, go online and
read the horror stories. You made one mistake. Don't
make another. Cut your losses and walk away.
there legitimate time share resorts? - There might be honest time
share deal resorts out there, but why bother? If you go online,
you will find people willing to give their time share contracts away.
Why? The maintenance fees. Maintenance fees are usually
higher than the rental rate. You can usually find a better deal for the
room or suite you want online, without paying the purchase costs of
$6,000 to $60,000 and committing to 10, 20 or 30 years of maintenance