• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Pueblo Bonito Sunset Timeshare Scam

dsafety

newbie
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
5
Reaction score
9
Pueblo Bonito Sunset… Buyer Beware

Pueblo Bonito Sunset in Cabo San Lucas is a great property. My wife and I spent a week there in the fall of 2019. The villas are comfortable and just about every unit has an ocean view. We purchased the all-inclusive package which I recommend, especially for first-time visitors. Free shuttles make regular trips from this property to central Cabo, making stops at Pueblo Bonito’s sister resorts Blanco and Rose where all Pueblo Bonito residents have day-use privileges. If you have the all-inclusive package you can eat and drink at for free at all three resorts.

That is the good news. The bad… make that horrible news, is that the company that runs these resorts is relentless at trying to sell timeshare intervals to anyone with a pulse. The sales effort starts the moment visitors enter the resort’s registration center. The sales people are polished and hard to resist but BUYER BEWARE!!!

We were offered $400 in resort credit just to attend a sales presentation, which we did on the second day of our visit. We were given a tour of the resort, including the beautiful 3 and 4BR premium villas at Monte Cristo which are very impressive. After the tour, the sales effort shifted into high gear.

Since we had expressed interest in the Monte Cristo units, our sales person started off offering a week’s ownership for just under $100,000, plus annual maintenance fees. We said no. Our salesperson then began to sweeten the deal and drop the price.

The buy-in price was immediately cut in half. Again we said no. Over the next few hours the purchase price dropped like the stock market in free-fall. In addition, they offered to buy a Hawaiian timeshare that we own for triple its value and apply those funds to the purchase price. Multiple discounts reduced the price even further. There was even a discount for being a military veteran or even having a family member who served, along with a senior discount, a first-time visitor discount and many others. After about an hour into the sales presentation, the buy-in cost bottomed out at about $8000. Again we said no.

Frustrated, out salesperson gave up and turned us over to the “Closer” who continued to reduce the price and add incentives. The final buy-in price dropped to an incredible $3500. We said no again.

Finally, after several hours, the sales pitch ended, or at least we thought so and we were walked to a different building to receive our $400 resort credit. Surprise, before receiving out resort credit we were handed off to Pablo, another closer who had a totally different pitch.

This guy claimed that he represented the developer, not the timeshare operation as he offered us the Passport Plus deal. Each time we said no, the price got lower and additional incentives were “thrown in”.

In the end we were offered 60 weeks at Pueblo Bonito over the next 15 years for $399 per visit with an acceleration clause that placed no restrictions on how many weeks we could book in any calendar year. We were told that we could choose between 1BR, 2BR and 3BR units, all at the same price, including those at Monte Cristo, if available. The up-front buy-in cost was $2,999. We were told that other than the $399 per week cost for any of the intervals we decided to use, there would never be any maintenance or other additional charges. We were also told that we could use, sell or give away any of our 60 weeks without restrictions or additional charges.

In addition, we were offered access to an unlimited number of weeks at many thousands of other resorts worldwide, all for the same $399 per week cost. Pablo showed us a large book that included many of the world’s best vacation properties and indicated that we would have access to any and all of the properties in this catalog. The only limitation mentioned was that we would have to book no further out than 90 days to get the units at this price. Booking a unit further out would cost “a bit more” according to Pablo. It turns out that that bit more actually meant double or triple the price.

The incentives did not end there. To further sweeten the deal, we were offered a 7-day cruise on virtually any cruise line for free. When I questioned Pablo on how he could afford to make this offer and have it apply to the cruise lines that usually travel on, (Crystal, Oceana, Viking, etc.), he responded with a story that the company was constantly trading timeshare inventory for cruise cabin inventory, so the cost to the company was basically nothing. Pablo could tell that I was skeptical so he added a $3000 a year bonus for each of the first five years, allegedly to cover any extra charges on the cruise or other off property getaway purchases.

My wife and I commented at the time that the Passport Plus package seemed to be too good to be true. In the end, we felt that a premium resort such as Pueblo Bonito Sunset would not risk its excellent reputation by misrepresenting the facts associated with the Passport Plus program, so we agreed to purchase the package.

When we returned to our villa at the resort, I began to research the Passport Plus package on the Internet. Wow!! I was surprised and alarmed by how many unsatisfied customers Pablo and his associates have accumulated over the past few years. According to numerous reviews, very few of the things that Pablo promised were actually true.

I learned that virtually no one who had purchased this package was ever able to book a week at a resort comparable to Puerto Bonito for the promised price of $399 a week. I also learned that the intervals that Pablo promised were usually available at Pueblo Bonito Sunset, were in fact, seldom if ever available within the 90 day window. I could find no one who had successfully used the cruise certificate to book a trip on a premium cruise line as Pablo had promised. I also discovered that while Pablo told us that there would be no additional charges to use the package during our 15 year term, there was a clause in the contract’s fine print that after the first five years, there would be an additional membership fee of $29 per year and that this fee could go up down the road.

Angry and disappointed, my wife and I visited the sales manager, Mitch McDonald at the sales office with the goal to have our purchase contract voided due to the numerous misrepresentations that we had uncovered. Mitch impressed us as a very nice person who appeared to be concerned about our satisfaction. He said that he would make some calls and see what could be done and promised to call us later that day.

True to his promise Mitch left a message in our room late that afternoon. Unfortunately, Mitch said that there was nothing that he could do to void the contract but promised that he would assist us should we ever have a problem booking an interval at Pueblo Bonito or any of the thousands of other properties advertised in your catalog. Sadly, the many lies that Pablo told us all but eliminated any trust that we might have that that Mitch or anyone else in his organization might be true to his or her word.

Disappointed and even angrier at this point, we visited Mitch in his office again the following day. He reiterated that he could not void our contract, saying that “his job was to sell timeshares and Passports, not to unsell them”.

When we pressed Mitch about the lack of available inventory issue, he said something that I actually believe to be true. Mitch said that his company has not opened any new properties since 2008 but during that time they have continued to aggressively market timeshare and Passport sales. As a result, he said, the demand often exceeds the available supply.

The timeshare sales process at Pueblo Bonito Sunset is by far to most aggressive and fraudulent that I have experienced. Given the fact that it was unlikely that we would ever be able to take advantage of all the promised incentives or even be able to book a return visit at the promised cost, we gave up trying to void the transaction and contacted our credit card company.

It turns out that timeshare sales fraud is such a common thing that some credit card companies have created an internal department specifically to deal with fraudulent purchases. We used a Chase card for this transaction and were quickly connected with the department they had created for this type of fraud.

We filed a dispute and the charges were put on hold pending the resolution of our request to have the purchase voided. The timeshare sales department at Pueblo Bonito Sunset was given 60 days to dispute our assertions about the fraudulent nature of the sales encounter.

I am not sure what happened behind the scenes during this period but in the end our credit card account received a full refund of the amount that was in dispute. I guess that the combination of our persistence and the exceptionally high level of fraud associated with the Pueblo Bonito sales effort tipped things in our favor.

Pueblo Bonito Sunset is one of the better Mexican resorts that I have visited. The facilities are great and guests are treated very well. I am looking forward to visiting again. That visit will absolutely not include attending a timeshare presentation, however. Hopefully others will learn from our experience and avoid the scam.
 

Janann

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
1,427
Reaction score
854
Location
North Texas
Resorts Owned
HGVC on the Boulevard, Las Vegas;
Disney's Saratoga Springs
We went on the same sales presentation in November 2019, and were compensated with three days of all inclusive access for two people for $100. Our presentation was very similar to yours, except that we escaped whomever was equivalent to Pablo by saying no a few times. I don't recall an offer called Passport Plus, but perhaps that is what was being proposed towards the end.

We're very tough about saying no, and I don't accept any purchase proposals during any presentation, regardless of how good the deal looks. (I learned this rule the hard way after buying a second, small HGVC contract on a whim.)

Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on getting your money back through your credit card company.
 

Karen G

Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
9,470
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Henderson, NV
Resorts Owned
Once owned these: FirstFairway@Walden X 2; Lawai Beach; ManhattanClub; PuebloBonitoRose; 4 South Africa--now timeshare-free
For anyone else who may find this thread who might still be at the resort in Mexico do not return to the sales dept. to rescind your purchase. Go to the Member Services dept. & firmly tell them you are exercising your legal right to rescind a timeshare purchase. You have five business days according to Mexican consumer protection law to do so. Prepare a simple written letter stating your intention to rescind. Have the Member Service dept. give you written proof that you rescinded. Be sure to notify your credit card provider of your rescission. Keep copies of your proof of rescission.
 

dsafety

newbie
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
5
Reaction score
9
Karen, I wish that I had known about the 5-day rescission option. It would have saved me some frustration. I believed all along that my credit card company would have my back once they were presented with chapter and verse relating to the misrepresentations and fraud associated with our sales session. Chase did what I expected.

For those who are considering a visit to Pueblo Bonito Sunset, please do not let my bad experience with the the timeshare sales folks keep you at home. We travel a lot and have stayed at many timeshare properties around the world. PB Sunset is a great place to stay and, if you avoid the the sales scammers, you will probably be quite happy with the property, restaurants and staff.

One last comment. If you enjoy margaritas, you will be disappointed with those served at the PB properties. The standard lime juice mix is awful. It reminds me of lemon-lime soda. The good news is that their frozen mango margs are terrific.
 

hurnik

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
1,991
Reaction score
712
Location
Albany, NY
I think potentially these may not be considered a timeshare purchase, but rather a vacation package (I think Vidanta has something similar) and thus, aren't covered by the rescinding period.
 

Pathways

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
715
Location
Indiana
I think potentially these may not be considered a timeshare purchase, but rather a vacation package (I think Vidanta has something similar) and thus, aren't covered by the rescinding period.

That would be my take also. I believe there have been success stories where the argument was 'we have a rescission period by law' and they were successful in getting it cancelled.

However, I'm not so sure it was because they were 'required' by law or whether they decided to do it as in 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease'..
 

Karen G

Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
9,470
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Henderson, NV
Resorts Owned
Once owned these: FirstFairway@Walden X 2; Lawai Beach; ManhattanClub; PuebloBonitoRose; 4 South Africa--now timeshare-free
I think potentially these may not be considered a timeshare purchase, but rather a vacation package (I think Vidanta has something similar) and thus, aren't covered by the rescinding period.
Since timeshares in Mexico are just right-to-use with no interest in real property like a deed for a timeshare purchase in the US, it seems to me that there isn’t much difference between them & a “vacation package.” In both instances one is just prepaying for future vacations & you don’t really own anything.
 

Pathways

TUG Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
715
Location
Indiana
Since timeshares in Mexico are just right-to-use with no interest in real property like a deed for a timeshare purchase in the US, it seems to me that there isn’t much difference between them & a “vacation package.” In both instances one is just prepaying for future vacations & you don’t really own anything.

I think you are 100% correct when it comes to the 'usage" of the product. However, when it comes to a 'refund' they are different animals.
 

oldbuyer

Guest
Joined
Jun 9, 2010
Messages
390
Reaction score
78
Location
Reno,NV
Resorts Owned
Hacienda Encantada, Pueblo Bonito Sunset
Caution with Chase. They can not cancel your purchase contract only put the funds in dispute which simply means you do not have to pay the bill until it's resolved. The seller will show a valid contract that you signed and if you did not rescind it, you own it after the 5 day grace period. It's not resolved unless a rescission has been executed. Chase always sides with the merchant (their customer) not with you a Bank customer even if you are a Chase private client customer using their top CC (Sapphire).

ANY PURCHASE OF ANYTHING can be rescinded in Mexico if it's within 5 days. Car- home- washing machine- it's the law.
 

Janann

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
1,427
Reaction score
854
Location
North Texas
Resorts Owned
HGVC on the Boulevard, Las Vegas;
Disney's Saratoga Springs
Chase always sides with the merchant (their customer) not with you a Bank customer

I've had transactions resolved with Chase in the past. Where are you getting your information that says "always?"
 

Karen G

Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2004
Messages
9,470
Reaction score
1,985
Location
Henderson, NV
Resorts Owned
Once owned these: FirstFairway@Walden X 2; Lawai Beach; ManhattanClub; PuebloBonitoRose; 4 South Africa--now timeshare-free
We filed a dispute and the charges were put on hold pending the resolution of our request to have the purchase voided. The timeshare sales department at Pueblo Bonito Sunset was given 60 days to dispute our assertions about the fraudulent nature of the sales encounter.
Have the 60 days passed yet?
 

geist1223

TUG Member
Joined
May 20, 2015
Messages
6,151
Reaction score
5,982
Location
Salem Oregon
Resorts Owned
Worldmark 97,000 Credits
DRI Cabo Azul 50,500
Royal Solaris San Jose del Cabo
Just so people know the 5 days to rescind in Mexico includes Saturday but not Sunday.
 

T-Dot-Traveller

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
4,697
Reaction score
3,665
Location
Canada
Resorts Owned
Mayan Palace Regency
Taranova
Ahh - The classic timeshare presentation question .
“did the salesperson lie “ ?

salesperson said - “you could book Christmas Week”

( yes - when reindeer fly / but like the powerball lottery - someone eventually does .....)

VS.

Christmas Week is available to be booked . ( there are 20 units available right now / and your credit card will confirm a reservation - right now )

What is implied vs the real world reality .
sometimes the Mexican vacation sunshine ......
 

Eric B

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
6,006
Reaction score
5,618
Resorts Owned
Vacation Village, Wyndham, WorldMark, Vistana, Vidanta, Flora Farms, HGVC Max, and some independents
ANY PURCHASE OF ANYTHING can be rescinded in Mexico if it's within 5 days. Car- home- washing machine- it's the law.

I could actually use a car-home-washing machine! We’ve been going to car washes and cleaning the house the old-fashioned way with brooms, mops, etc. I’ll have to look for one of those next time I’m down there....
 

dsafety

newbie
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
5
Reaction score
9
Caution with Chase. They can not cancel your purchase contract only put the funds in dispute which simply means you do not have to pay the bill until it's resolved. The seller will show a valid contract that you signed and if you did not rescind it, you own it after the 5 day grace period. It's not resolved unless a rescission has been executed. Chase always sides with the merchant (their customer) not with you a Bank customer even if you are a Chase private client customer using their top CC (Sapphire).

ANY PURCHASE OF ANYTHING can be rescinded in Mexico if it's within 5 days. Car- home- washing machine- it's the law.
Apparently Chase does not "always" side with the merchant. It took 60 days but the charges from PB were removed from my account. Had I known about the 5-day rule it would have been easier but, at least in my case, everything has worked out in a positive way.
 

bankr63

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
556
Reaction score
101
Location
Ottawa, ON, Canada
Resorts Owned
Vistana Resort Orlando (2BR, Deeded Wk10) , Silver Lake Resort Orlando (3BRLO)
I just want to add that the real issue here is in showing any interest AT ALL in what they are offering. We spent a week at PBSR in March and had no high pressure approach at all. Yes, the friendly attendants at the front would ask "when are you coming for a presentation" and a friendly "when hell freezes over" with a smile would usually stop the conversation.

Once you show even the slightest interest at any resort, anywhere, in any region of the world, the sharks will not let up. The trick is to let them know (politely) that you are not in the least bit interested. Your complaint should not really be a negative reflection on the PB properties, the sales department at every resort is bad; worse probably in Mexico but bad everywhere. It does not generally reflect on the quality of the property; we have stayed at several great properties with terrible sales reputations.

This year we did take a tour of Diamante that was arranged at the airport, but only caved when they covered our SUV rental for the entire week (along with a few other goodies including a sunset dinner cruise). It was a very interesting presentation with NO high pressure sales because we let then know (gently) where we stood right off the mark. BTW - if anyone wants some really high end TS property, I would recommend Diamante, just say no a few times and they will pretty much give it to you. Of course we wouldn't bite - who wants a TS that takes a 6 to 7 hour flight to get to every year?

In general I value my vacation time at around $100/hr. If the swag is better than that, I "might" have some fun playing cat and mouse with the sharks, but mostly we just stay away. Then the game is seeing how close to the promised time can we actually escape. This year it took 3 hours for our 2 hour commitment - not a bad record for a Mexico sales pitch. We also got some great cocktail recipes from our sales representative - she was a real blast!
 

csalter2

TUG Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2008
Messages
1,968
Reaction score
554
Location
Orange County, California
Resorts Owned
Marriott Ko Olina
Marriott Aruba Surf Club
Marriott Ocean Pointe
Diamond Resorts Gold
[who wants a TS that takes a 6 to 7 hour flight to get to every year?

Ah, I go to Hawaii for 5 to 6 weeks each year and it’s about 6 hours. I never have a problem with it.
 

easyrider

TUG Review Crew: Elite
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
15,616
Reaction score
8,488
Location
Palm Springs of Washinton
Resorts Owned
Worldmark * * Villa Del Palmar UVCI * * Vacation Internationale*
We have attended many Pueblo Bonito presentations over the years. The last Sunset Beach presentation we attended was all about the Monte Cristo Estates. The presenter told me I wouldn't be able to get a unit here. He also became crappy when I told him I thought I could. We were staying at the Villa del Arco at this time but had reservations to PBSB for our next week. Anyway, later that same week we upgraded two of our one bedroom units at PBSB to a Monte Cristo Estate unit. Every morning I waited out in front of our unit drinking my coffee and waved at the sales guy as he slowly drove by in his Hummer. I think he flipped me off, lol.

Bill
 
Top