If you have ever experienced any of the delights Mexico has to offer, you can understand why the prospect of owning a piece of this holiday heaven can be a dream come true. The Mexican sea is known as the ‘aquarium of the world’, there are more Mayan ruins than you can shake a stick at, there are hidden beaches and spectacular sinkholes and, its home to 33 world heritage sites, making Mexico a truly remarkable destination.
The dream of owning a piece of this heaven and a second home there can make holidaymakers easy targets for the many, many timeshare sales agents that prowl the hotels and beaches. Indeed, Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for timeshare owners, but before you allow yourself to get swept up in the prospect of owning a little piece of this Mexican dream, there are some very real downsides.
Once the excitement wears off, for many who have signed on the dotted line, buyer’s remorse may start to settle in. Luckily, due to the popularity of timeshare, the government there introduced some strict guidelines for resorts to follow. There is a five day cooling-off period in Mexico, in which you can cancel your contract. However, for many who are still on holiday, they may only realise their mistake on their return home, and the timeshare sales rep will not tell you about the grace period. In fact, they will do all they can to evade this topic all together.
One of the main problems with owning a timeshare in Mexico, apart from the contracts in perpetuity, the lengthy and expensive travel to get there, plus the mounting annual maintenance fees, is trying to terminate your contract when you no longer want it. This can open you up to the many, many timeshare scammers out there ready to take advantage of Mexican owners.
What to look out for if you own a timeshare in Mexico.
You could get a call out of the blue asking you to sell your timeshare and they have buyers ready for your highly sought after timeshare. They may even offer you a small profit, the only catch, you have to pay a fee for this service. More than likely this will be an Escrow Fee, which you can recoup when the sale has gone through. Owners will be asked to transfer funds into a legitimate Escrow account, it is actually owned by the scammers but will look genuine. This is a very profitable scam running in Mexico, the many people who do send their Escrow Fees, never ever see their money again and are still stuck with their timeshares. To make matters worse, and to continue the con, the scammers will send authentic looking documents to their victims, and often the owner does not realise they have been scammed for quite some time.
Incredibly, some owners have been cold-called and informed that a branch of the Mexican government has set up a fund to reimburse victims of timeshare fraud in Mexico, and they are eligible for a claim, they even have documents to prove it. Another massive scam, there is no such scheme in Mexico.
How to spot a timeshare scam:
- 1. A cold-call informing you they have a buyer ready to purchase your timeshare, they may even offer you more than you paid for it. The chances of someone offering to buy your timeshare for more than you paid for it, is extremely unlikely.
2. They may claim the Mexican government is offering to reimburse victims of timeshare fraud, 100% untrue. They will ask you to transfer a few thousand to pay a tax to allow them to open a Mexican account in your name.
3. They will request funds to be transferred in ways that are difficult to trace, such as cashiers cheques and money orders.
4. The scammer will ask you to transfer funds into an Escrow account, this will be for transfer of deeds fee, none of the services they promise will occur and you will never see this money again.
People who enter into Timeshare agreements often find it difficult to keep up with the mounting maintenance fees and simply cannot afford it any longer. They may also find that the Timeshare no longer suits their needs and simply want to end the contract. There are too many individuals who are willing to take advantage of Timeshare owners and offer fake products, along with Timeshare exit schemes. Before agreeing to any Timeshare termination or exit procedure with an individual or company, seek independent advise and fully research any company you are thinking of working with.
It is also important to remember that purchasing a Timeshare should NEVER be viewed as a financial investment. Timeshare is an investment in lifestyle, in future holidays and family time together. There is almost no resale value to a Timeshare.
The mis-selling of holiday products is, unfortunately, common practice within the holiday industry and these type of crimes often go unreported by the most vulnerable in our society and criminal convictions are few and far between.
If you have purchased a Lifestyle / Concierge Service, a Timeshare or a ‘Holiday Points’ based product from a resort or company and feel unhappy with the service, or feel you have been mis-sold this product, please get in touch with us to discuss how we may be able to help you with a possible Money Back Claim.