I had my first Mexican vacation in Cabo San Lucas in April 09. Fell in love with the place, the lifestyle and the local people. Stayed at an All Inc resort, and took a tour "Taste of Los Cabos' on about the 4th day. While on the tour in downtown Cabo San Lucas, I popped by a real estate office to pick up some magazines and got chatting with a lovely girl in a booth outside offering cheap and discount tours.
I told her where I was staying and that I would like to take an ATV tour, but was planning to book it through the rep at hotel for $65. She told me she could offer me 50% off, if I booked through her and she'd also throw in a complimentary breakfast at a brand new 5* resort. Even offered to come pick me up in taxi next morning. I had no idea about timeshares, and honestly thought I was going on tour to a new resort looking to 'poach' potential return vacationers.
at 7.30 next morning she picked me up from resort and took me to Villa Del Arco.
I met with a lovely young mexican man who took me to breakfast, before showing me the rooms and amenities of the resort and I must say I was impressed with what I saw, and thought that yes, I may consider booking my next vacation to Cabo and stay there.
Once the tour was over he lead me to the gorgeous upper level sales room, where the view is breathtaking, and where the big closing sharks lie in wait.
I sit and listen to a slick presentation, get flirted with by one of the senior guys, and I realise that I'm being sold to. Credit card firmly in purse, I listen to what they say half heartedly, knowing that I can't afford anything like a timeshare. I'm a single woman, used to taking last minute all inc vacations and had been happy doing so for a few years. But then the room gets filled up, and before you know it champagne corks start popping, and a sense of excitement and urgency is created in the room, and you start thinking "hey, hang on I want one too"
Before I know what I'm really doing I'm signing contract. One week per year for next 30... Instead of one vacation of a lifetime, welcome to a lifetime of vacations... in USD goes 3085 deposit on my credit card and the next 7 years of monthly payments at $175...on top of that an annual maintenance fee of $585, plus an annual 'membership fee of $84, which they were waiving for year 1...
I left feeling a little stunned about what I had done, but the saleswoman had asked me to join her for dinner that night and I had agreed to go. I went back to hotel, and sat chewing fingernails all day. Trying to mentally sort out my finances at home, and trying to work out the currency exchange. By the time she picked me up I was waivering BIG TIME and needed reassuring, and she did a great job of doing so. We had a great night, and by the end of it, I felt like I'd made a friend in Cabo. She added me to her email contact list and 'sent' me an email to my home address, so I'd get it when I got back to Canada and would be able to keep in touch with her. I even made a bit of joke, teasing her that her taking my for swanky dinner downtown, was probably part of the closing? and she said "no, I dont usually mix with tourists but I really liked
you, you should come stay with me at my house, next time you come visit"
Next day I felt sick again. I talked to a few people and even bumped into the lovely little Mexican guy who had taken me on the tour of Los Cabos and he asked me if I was sure I had done right thing. I looked at him and said not really no, and he told me I should cancel then and I had 5 days to do so under Mexican Law.
I gave him a big hug and kiss on cheek and felt a million times better and headed off to the resort to do so.
When I got there, I was taken up to the sales office again, lead into the BIG BOSS's office and sat and explained my buyers remorse and that I wanted to cancel. He sat cutting his fingernails and casually said, "how much of a deposit did you put down yesterday? " I told him 3085...and that I was going to get nailed with the US to CAD currency exchange, and simply couldn't manage it.
He said "thats allot of money to lose"
"Not if I cancel within 5 days, I dont, which is what I'm doing under Mexican Law"
and he replied with "Oh, that, nope, that law doesn't apply to us, as we are a US based company. Thats the loophole that makes us exempt from that law"
"you are kidding me? ""
"No, in fact, if thats what you were looking for you picked the worst company to deal with, because we are the only ones on whole area that it doesn't apply to, but then again you picked the BEST company to buy timeshare with as we are the most luxurious in area"
I felt sick, stunned, unsure of my rights. I felt emotional and got a bit choked up, and he continues "but heres what I'll do for ya, I'll give you half the deal, every other year, for half the price you paid yesterday, and even give you a credit off the deposit.
But its either that, or lose the full deposit completely if you decide to cancel"
I felt cornered and bullied. I couldn't think or see straight and all around me are seemingly happy people and champagne corks popping. I agreed to take the half deal rather than lose my full deposit. I just wanted to get out of there to throw up.
which is what I did, I went back to my room, spent afternoon being sick and crying and went to bed at 8pm. I felt so depressed. I was scheduled to leave the next day, but my flight was delayed twice and then eventually cancelled. We were picked up from hotel and taken to San Jose Del Cabo for night, and then picked up from there and taken to airport at 5.30 am, but the flight didn't leave until 4pm.
I arrived home exhausted about midnight on friday, spent saturday unpacking laundry and settling in, and then on sunday checked for emails, and the email I was supposed to have gotten from the sales lady wasn't there. My gut churned and I started looking on the net for everything I could, came across Profeco, tried calling them but the offices were closed.
I gathered all my stuff together on Monday morning and called them again, and they told me that under Mexican Law I did have right to cancel regardless of US company. As long as the company received written cancellation within 5 days. I was stunned again that I'd been blatantly lied to.
I told them I was back home now, and that this was my 5th day, and they advised me to send a fax or email directly to the company, and also follow up with registered letter. I scrambled to put a letter of complaint/cancellation, took copies of all contracts, where on one it clearly states I could cancel within 5 days with no penalty, and fired off a $52 fax to the resort, and 2 registered letters, one to resort and one to Profeco copying them each on both.
I heard from Profeco, who told me that I was entitled to full refund, and that resort should do so within 20 days, and if they hadn't by that time then they would step in and act on my behalf.
On April 22 the deposit appeared on my credit card. On April 23, I got the 'welcome to club membership' courtesy call, and I explained my situation to them too, and once again I was told that yes I did have a right to cancel.
He asked me to forward all the information to him and he would follow up with the resort.
I did so, and so far I havn't heard anything back, nor has my credit card been credited back the refund...but I am a little more hopeful than I was a week ago.
Hopefully I will get full refund. I am already booked to return to Cabo on June 8th, and if not then I will pay another visit to resort in person, and this time I will keep credit card firmly locked away in drawer at home!
Hope this helps to warn others of slick sales pitches and not to get carried away with emotion. Look before you leap, do tons of research ask loads of questions and always take time to read the fine print, or better yet, tell them you cant sign anything without a lawyer reviewing the contract first.
The same deals are all over the place, dont let them convince you to take the 'one time only offer' or get seduced by the incentives.
Best of luck