A 68 year old retired couple from Arizona, U.S. paid more than $63,000 for a timeshare condominium in Mexico. The couple were planning on spending a couple of weeks there every year, however, the couple learned the resort was never built.
It all started in 2004, when the couple invested $30,000 in a two bedroom timeshare condo in the Grand Mayan resort in Mexico. The developers told the couple the timeshare would be ready in a couple of years, the wait turned into 13 years and the couple were forced to continue paying maintenance fees, which had reached $900 a month.
In 2017, the couple were approached by a real estate agent claiming to have a buyer who had offered to pay more than $60,000 for their timeshare. The deal seemed to good to turn down, but alarm bells started to ring when they were asked to wire another $30,000 to an account in Mexico to cover taxes, escrow and other fees.
The Better Business Bureau, has been warning timeshare owners that scammers are posing as legitimate businesses in the United States, even using their logo’s to fool customers. The scammers also create slick websites that appear real and write fake internet reviews.
In some cases, criminals have posed as Mexican government officials that have set up a fund to compensate victims of timeshare fraud.
What is a Mexican timeshare scam:
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 large 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 once 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.
How to spot a timeshare scam:
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.
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.
They will request funds to be transferred in ways that are difficult to trace, such as cashiers cheques and money orders.
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 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 advice 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. 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 simply want to end your agreement, get in touch with us today to see how we can help with a possible money back claim.