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Time Share Presentations in Mazatlan

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Beware of 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 Mazatlan". 


Steps in time share presentation -

  • OPC - 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 attending.

  • 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. 

  • The 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 stories

    • "A 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 another one.   

    •  The "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 share. 

  • 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. 

You 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 at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g150768-c15675/Mexico:Timeshare.And.Consumer.Complaints..html.  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. 

Are 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 fees. 




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