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Sticky - Mexican Timeshare Presentation Boot Camp

Karen G

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Often people will find TUG after they've been through a high pressure timeshare presentation and bought something that they didn't understand. Most of the time they have discovered their mistake after the rescission period. We have a sticky thread at the top of the Mexico forum describing the Mexican rescission law to know about before going to a presentation, but in this thread let's discuss what actually happens in such a presentation, and how to protect yourself.

Of course, the best way to avoid being taken advantage of is by NOT attending a presentation. But, if someone is so inclined as to accept the "free" gifts and enticements, what advice would you give him or her? Feel free to name names of companies you've dealt with and educate those who have never been to a presentation.

Added 4-24-15: Watch this tv report about a presentation in Puerto Vallarta:
http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/video/11423455-call-kurtis-investigates-mexican-timeshare-nightmare/
TUG owner Brian Rogers is in this report, too.
 
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mikenk

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Okay, I will be the first to jump in based on my experience with the Grupo Mayan system (now Grupo Vidanta). These are my experiences and thoughts but in no way claim i have it all figured out.

I bought a Grand Mayan unit on resale a few years back after attending a couple of presentations while vacationing with friends on RCI exchanges. I have since upgraded twice through the company. in total, I have attended about 9 or 10 of the upgrade presentations (they always have something more to sell you and i am always ready to negotiate)

The entry level I believe now is the Grand Mayan; it used to be the Mayan Palace but they are trying to phase out of that as people upgrade. I believe that all new folks will be sold at that level. Then later they will be offered upgrades to the Grand Bliss or Grand Luxxe.

The Grand Mayan units are basically a right to use piece of property. They used to offer bonus weeks with the package called Vacation Fair weeks - don't think they do that anymore, but not totally sure. The Grand Bliss and grand Luxxe contracts are significantly different as they also include things like free golf, free massages, senior discounts and whatever you can negotiate - much more flexible contracts. Grupo Vidanta does not want these on the resale market so they add high transfer fees and strip away the amenities if you sell it. However you can transfer them and add and delete people to the contract.

That's a very quick primer on the system. As a non owner. if you choose to take the initial presentation: here are some thoughts.

1: There are the contracted sales folks trained in the art of fast talking; then there are the contracts people who sign and will administer the contracts; i have little use for the first; have had no problems with the second. In fact, I frequently communicate with one via email.

2: Consider anything the sales people say a lie unless they will put it in writing signed by a contracts person. Whatever is in the contract - they do honor.

3: Remember you are in control for 5 days; whatever they put in the contract, they have to honor; whatever you agree to can be easily rescinded. I did it twice during my first upgrade. when you rescind, you are dealing then with the contracts people. If they do meet your demands and they might, read every word in the contract several times. The contract consists of the standard document and the addenda signed by the contracts person. Make sure whatever you agreed on is clearly stated in the contract.

4: Know the features and cost of the GM unit on the resale market (they vary a lot by year); let them know you know; and don't budge. Since I bought resale, I don't know whether they will start negotiating around the different amenities or upgrades when you first start.

5: IMHO, if there is no price and amenities that will make you buy, my suggestion is don't go - not worth the time. if you are interested, know the price point and amenities where you would buy knowing full well what you can buy on resale and the value to you of the extra amenities. e.g. The free golf and the no MF unless I use were huge benefits for me when I upgraded.

6: last point, these sales people are generally engaging 30ish age people; use your experience to keep in control with clear focus. It is really not that difficult. Again, at the minimum, you will waste a couple of hours, is it really worth it if you have no interest, but do not go in without a plan and knowing the resale value.

The upgrading process is a little different - enough for now.

Not sure at all whether this was helpful.

Mike
 
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pjrose

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My Perspective

I agree completely with Mike, though my experiences vary.

I have been to many presentations at The Royal Resorts, and only once felt a bit pressured by an over-enthusiastic salesperson (he was new). Their presentations consist of a ride to one of the resorts, brunch or lunch, a walk around the resort and one of the villas, and then they discuss price and availability. The time in the meeting room is not long - maybe 30 minutes if you listen politely and say "no thanks" - and then you can hit the pool or beach. Nonetheless, it's still time out of your vacation.

The Royal Resorts do not have a "menu" of options like some other resorts - the price is fixed (except for some reductions such as 10% off for owners) and there are no amenities to add on or subtract. The contract is standard for everyone, so there are no extras or deletions. Nonetheless, be very aware that resale is almost always less expensive than the original developer prices. Let them know that you know about TUG and eBay, and ask to see what they have available in resales (e.g. owner defaults). Take the prices back to your villa and get online and shop around (eBay, TUG, Redweek etc.)

We occasionally read on TUG of people who have changed their minds right after buying through the Royal Resorts, and have just gone back to the sales person and gotten it cancelled without a hassle.

HOWEVER, I have also been to other presentations - here's what to watch out for:

READ EVERYTHING, take notes, take down names and times and promises. Then go back to your unit and read over all of it. DO NOT agree to anything until a day or so later - trust me, the deal that is "today only" will still be there tomorrow.

DO NOT SIGN any kind of a waiver of your right to cancel within five days. It is not legal for them to ask you to sign, but this practice will make you think that you can't chance your mind, when you absolutely can.

DO NOT SIGN-UP for a presentation or leave a deposit while you are in an airport or public place - you may have trouble getting your money back, and it may not be clear what you are signing up for.

DO NOT BELIEVE any promises that they will sell your existing timeshare(s) for you (usually at a high price) and take that off the cost of the new one. Check online (eBay, TUG, Redweek etc) to find out what your timeshare is worth - probably far far less than they may be promising. If you do sign your timeshare over to them, they will probably NOT sell it, you will probably still be responsible for maintenance fees, and you will not have use of it.

DO NOT BELIEVE promises that they will rent your units at exorbitant rental rates so that you can make money. Depending on the timeshare, if you rent you may well be able to recoup your maintenance fee or even get back double or more (e.g. a beachfront Royal Resort during New Years) but in general you will break even if that.

WATCH OUT for situations where you may be "held captive" - we went on a "free boat ride" and had no way to leave a high pressure presentation (except perhaps to swim).

DO NOT SIGN UP FOR any credit cards - people have returned home only to find a bill from a new card they didn't realize they had.

DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL at a presentation - a few free drinks aren't worth the risk of spending tens of thousands of dollars you might not otherwise have spent.

BE PREPARED with your answers - No thanks, currently unemployed, filing for bankruptcy, cheaper at resale.

HAVE SOME COUNTER-MEASURES handy - wear a TUG t-shirt, bring a crying baby, develop a sudden bad stomach flu.

The best advice, though, is to not go. This is your vacation, and it's usually not worth losing a half-day or a day of it for a sales presentation. Unless the incentive is VERY GOOD (e.g. tix for four to XCaret?) and you know you are good at saying No, just don't go.
 
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Karen G

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Cabo presentations

We bought our Pueblo Bonito Rose fixed week unit from the developer about 14 years ago before finding TUG. We've used it ourselves for most of those 14 years and always have a good time in Cabo.

We've routinely attended the PB presentation each year specifically to recoup some of the marketing expenses we paid dearly for when we bought from the developer. It was worth it to us to give up a couple of hrs. of our vacation in exchange for $200+ in vouchers that we could use for meals at PB. It was also interesting to see what the PB Sunset Beach looked like after another year of building.

We've also attended presentations at many other Cabo resorts. They all seem to operate the same way: You are approached by an OPC (outside personal contact) guy or girl either at the airport or in town and invited to come take a look at a resort. They entice you with promises of cash or activities or some other type of gift, usually starting with something and sweetening the deal with other things as they try to convince you into going on the presentation. They usually require a $20 cash deposit, which will be returned to you after the presentation. They give you a copy of the written invitation with the gifts indicated that you are to receive, and the date and time of the presentation.

Sometimes they'll meet you at the appointed time and escort you to the presentation or they may get a taxi for you. They often meet you outside the gates of whatever resort you are staying as they aren't allowed on other timeshare properties if they're trying to get you to go somewhere else.

Be sure they write down exactly what they are promising you and be sure you understand what it is they are offering you. Decide if it's really worth it to give up your vacation time to go through a high pressured sales presentation.

When you get to the resort, you check in and you're assigned to a sales person who takes you to the dining area where the breaksfast is served. Often the meal is very good; sometimes not so much. There will be a time of chit chat with sales person and they are usually very congenial and engaging.

Then it's on to the sales room where they describe how RCI or II work, ask you about how you vacation and what you typically spend, tell you about their resort, show you models, and get into the specifics of their program and costs. Often you are passed on to another sales person if you don't buy from the first one. You may also be offered some kind of "exit" program if you still haven't bought. Then you are ushered out and go to receive your gifts. If they promised you return transportation you go and wait for a taxi.

If you end up buying they'll make a big to-do about your purchase with lots of fanfare, maybe pop open some champagne, all for the show for other prospects in the vicinity to see that someone has made a purchase. You'll have to sign lots of papers and then you'll probably get some kind of book or slick pamphlets about the product.

Of course, you should carefully read and understand exactly what you are signing. If promises were made to you that the company would buy your existing timeshares or anything else, you need to see that in writing. Nothing the salesman tells you will be enforced if it isn't in writing.

The big problem with these high pressure procedures is that by the time you get to the signing part, you are so worn down and tired and not thinking straight. You think you heard the salesman promise something and you think it must all be spelled out in the contract just like he said. So you sign without reading it all and you go on your merry way. After the five-day rescission period has passed and after you get home, you may find out that you have been lied to or tricked into signing something you wouldn't have if you had been more prudent.

LET THE BUYER BEWARE.

Sometimes the salesman will try to make you feel guilty for coming to the presentation for the gifts with no intention of buying anything. My opinion is that they invited me, and it's their method of marketing, not mine. If it's not working for them, they need to change the procedure.
 

mikenk

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I agree with all of PJROSE's suggestions and Karen is right on with the procedural process. Karen also reminded me of the exit interview. At the GM, it is now HSI; if you don't buy the other, at least buy this at a mere $5k or so.

IMHO, don't even think about that as a viable option.

mike
 

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Mike has given some excellent information. Though we have stayed 10 weeks at the Grand Mayan resorts as an exchanger, we have never been to a sales presentation there. The sales presentations may be brutal but they don't pressure you to attend one. At check-in we told them that we don't do sales presentations and that was it. They never bothered us after that.

This discussion should not be limited to just Grupo Mayan sales presentations. The majority of sales presentations in Mexico are equally as bad. I am not saying all of them are that bad but the vast majority are. They have a lot more latitude to lie and threaten in Mexico than most other countries. The Grupo Mayan probably gets a lot more publicity because they are the largest resort group in Mexico.

We attended a sales presentation at the John Newcombe resort in Puerto Vallarta several years ago. I don't know what it is called now. In any event they offered us a bunch of great tours so we went. We were well prepared as I have lived and worked in Mexico, am fluent in Spanish, owned a business there, and my wife is Mexican. In any event it became somewhat nasty but we knew how to handle it so needless to say we didn't buy anything and did get our tours. We met a young American couple at the pool that also took the sales presentation. They said it was brutal and they threatened to throw the couple out of the resort and all kinds of other dire threats if they didn't buy. Fortunately the young couple were able to resist and didn't but anything.

After that we decided that there is nothing that anybody could offer us to entice us to do any sales presentations no matter where. Our time and tranquility are worth far more. We had done 2 presentations before in the US at 2 different resorts where we own but they were very pleasant with no pressure at all.

Having said all of this, my advice is simply DON'T go to any sales presentations. You are already at the resort so you you should know whether you like it or not. If you want more information, talk to other guests at the resort. Do research on the Internet. Don't be in a hurry because you can always buy at anytime in the future. Check resales.

My personal opinion is don't buy a timeshare in Mexico. They are very easy to trade into at anytime of the year. This means that they will have low trading power. If you want to buy a timeshare, buy a good quality timeshare in the US with good trading power that you would like to visit yourself.

We have not only exchanged into the Grand Mayans, but also the Royal Mayan, and several others in various locations.

If you really feel that whatever goodies are being offered are worth going to a sales presentation then be prepared to pay a high price for it.
 

John Cummings

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At the time the rest of you were posting, I was writing my post so I didn't see any other than Mike's.

The other previous posts offer great information as well.
 

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I agree with all of PJROSE's suggestions and Karen is right on with the procedural process. Karen also reminded me of the exit interview. At the GM, it is now HSI; if you don't buy the other, at least buy this at a mere $5k or so.

IMHO, don't even think about that as a viable option.

mike
What is HSI?
 

mikenk

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HSI is Holiday Systems International. i think they are called a vacation club. On the surface, it sounds reasonable. They rent out basically non prime weeks from developers through various names. When we upgraded, a membership came along with it - never found anything worth using. it costs some amount per year; not a whole lot but for me added no value. Maybe others have had better experience.

i believe there are a number of similar companies.

Mike
 

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keeping them honest...

One more small post of advice..

DO GO to any presentation you like!!

DO GO OFTEN!!...

After 90 minutes or whatever they promised..(this time DOES NOT INCLUDE BREAKFAST!!)...Tell them you want your gifts NOW!! You have served your time!!......if they give you the run around....tell them firmly..you will stand up, and declare in an extremely loud voice..YOU CAN BUY THESE WEEKS ON EBAY FOR A BUCK!!

You will be on your way!...Just do not be snotty or nasty about it. talk calmly and respectfully...
 

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[Deleted]

[Off-topic & duplicate - DeniseM Moderator]
 
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CatLovers

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Grupo Mayan (now Grupp Vidanta) at Nuevo Vallarta

As several TUGgers already know :) , we let ourselves be talked into (against our better judgment) a timeshare presentation at the Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta on January 4, 2011. For us, it was THE experience from hell, and we did not even buy! Cannot imagine what I would be saying now if we got suckered into it! My full review is posted in this thread.

Posts #2 and #3 talk specifically at some length about the orchestrated steps in their sales process, beginning with the timeshare shark who chased us down the hallway after check-in to the end when we finally stumbled out of the sales hall clutching our free gifts. My first piece of advice is DO NOT attend the presentation; no matter what they offer you. It is not worth it! However, if you do choose to attend a timeshare presentation with Grupo Mayan (Grupo Vidanta), then do read at least these two posts -- forewarned is forearmed!
 

Conan

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Since most people reading this probably are not Mayan owners interested in upgrading, for the rest of us I would emphasize:

If you're going purely for the gift (which for a non-owner really is the only reason to go, since it's always a mistake for a first-time purchaser to pay any more than a resale price),

1. Make sure it's worth the vacation time you're spending. For me the answer is usually 'no' unless I'm actually curious to see the property I"m touring (so for example I did tour Sunset Beach in Cabo - - the gift was exceptional and it gave me a chance to see a property I was curious about), and

2. Ask yourself if you can tolerate being insulted to some degree - - many tours, especially in Mexico, have some of the "buy or cry." The salesperson will try to guilt you over touring for the gift, and may also tell you that you're too dumb to see the value he/she is offering, or maybe just too poor. If you're going to spend hours or days of your vacation fuming over the way the salesperson spoke to you, you'd have been better off not attending no matter what the gift was.

And make sure you don't buy the "exit" package, typically sold by a sympathetic owner's representative who will encourage you to vent about how frustrated you were with the sales force. Once you've said no to spending $10,000 or $20,000 and you've escaped the sales force, you might be vulnerable to buying something for 'only' a couple of thousand.
 
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mikenk

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Grupo Mayan upgrade presentation suggestions

In Post #2. I made comments primarily targeted toward first timers taking the Grand Mayan sales presentation. Those comments also apply toward those taking the "Update presentation" but there are differences all should know about.

First off, Grupo Mayan always has something new to sell even to owners. They want cash, we want vacation goodies - reasonable premise. Whereas the first buy is generally a typical timeshare buy - you get the right to use and you pay a yearly MF, the upgrades to Grand Bliss and Grand Luxxe are totally different: You get more room and luxury but you also get other stuff like free golf, free massages, no MF unless you use, senior discount packages, etc - none of which you can sell on the open market. So doing an upgrade is much more of a ROI calculation; how many years does it take to pay back the extra cost with vacation goodies. largely, all upgraded contracts are unique as all of these perks are in addenda.

The price you pay for an upgrade is based on the amount already paid into the current contract. You get that amount regardless of whether you bought resale; so the higher price the original owner paid will lower the upgrade cost. The extra amenities you get are based on your negotiation skills.

Having been through a number of these, these sales presentations can be as high pressure as the original or very low key. One of mine was only 20 minutes, but others have been very confrontational.

In addition to the other tips in my first post, here are a few more.

1 - Go in with written complaints on your current contract. i have actually received a couple of addenda to my old contract based on this. It also puts you a bit in charge.

2 - have a clear plan of what you want and what you are willing to pay - just like buying a car. If no level of goodies will make you update, I would again suggest not going - why go car shopping if you don't want a car. You can still take your complaints directly to member services.

3 - Again remember you are in complete control for 5 days - the pressure is on them not you. You are just losing time. You have plenty of time to read the contract and make your ROI calculations.

4 - If you decide to take the presentation, do it early so you have the full 5 days to rescind while on site. Do NOT leave the site with unaddressed concerns; there is always next time if you so choose.

Mike
 
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Carol C

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This year's gimmick at Mexican resorts is the "personal butler" who will come to you poolside or beachside with a cold wet towel, spritzer bottle, etc. Sure it sounds good but is it worth paying developer's price? Ladies, just get your hubbies to spritz you with cool water...heck, have them feed you grapes poolside and save pesos!
 

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Canceling in 5 days but contract says 7k deposit is non-refundable

Hi
this is my first post and wanting to know if i they can really keep my deposit money. Per Visa, the purchase has not posted yet, we just signed contract yesterday. When we went to see sales rep today, she said we have to come back and talk to their contracts people, we can cancel but we will NOT get our deposit money back per the contract we initialed and signed.
Yet it also says in tiny print in back that you can cancel in 5 days without penalty so how can they consider keeping 7K as without penalty?
 

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[Duplicate posts merged]

We signed a purchase contract yesterday but it says on our contract the deposit of over 7K is non-refundable even though we are canceling today so well within our 5 day period. can they really not give us our money back? even though the contract also says in fine print that you can cancel in5 days without penalty.
we have contacted visa who told us it has not posted but to contact VIsa again on monday to talk with their dispute department. By then the charge should have posted.
 
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pjrose

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ABTUG - see if you can file a dispute online, or at least send an email to your Visa Card's customer service online - that way you have a dated record.
 

pjrose

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Hi
this is my first post and wanting to know if i they can really keep my deposit money. Per Visa, the purchase has not posted yet, we just signed contract yesterday. When we went to see sales rep today, she said we have to come back and talk to their contracts people, we can cancel but we will NOT get our deposit money back per the contract we initialed and signed.
Yet it also says in tiny print in back that you can cancel in 5 days without penalty so how can they consider keeping 7K as without penalty?
ABTUG -
I don't know the answer, but see if you can file a dispute online, or at least send an email to your Visa Card's customer service online - that way you have a dated record.
 

Passepartout

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ABTUG that is purely a scare tactic. It's illegal and you should expect everything to be refunded. If they continue, threaten them with going to Profeco to pursue what's rightfully yours. Show them the 'fine print' promising full refund.

We're sorry your vacation time is unhappily spent dealing with a moment's indiscretion, but happy you found TUG before it is too late to remedy.

Best wishes...

Jim Ricks
 

Karen G

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Yet it also says in tiny print in back that you can cancel in 5 days without penalty so how can they consider keeping 7K as without penalty?
Only what is written in the contract is enforceable and it clearly states that you can cancel without penalty. They are just trying to intimidate you. Follow the written procedure for rescinding. Follow up with Profeco if necessary. Contact your credit card company--maybe even send them a copy of your rescission letter and the part of the contract that states that you can rescind without penalty.
 

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Hi
When we went to see sales rep today, she said we have to come back and talk to their contracts people
Another thought: She is most likely trying to delay you so that the five days will pass before you get your chance to rescind. The contract people probably aren't working on the weekend. If you are going home this weekend, be sure to mail your rescission letter first thing Monday morning so that it is dated within the five days. If it's possible, while you are still in Mexico, write out the letter & make a copy for yourself. See if you can get someone in the sales office to sign and date your copy upon receiving it so that you'll have that proof of rescinding. Do whatever it takes to get your rescission documented and dated.
 

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Non-refundable deposit even if cancel in 5 days? [duplicate posts merged]

We signed contract yesterday that says deposit is non-refundable even though in tiny print in back it says contract can be canceled in 5 days without penalty. Our deposit was on visa for over 7K. How can they not consider keeping the deposit is not a penalty. Please advise
 
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*I have merged the 3 threads you started on this topic - if you have more questions/comments, please post them in this thread.

That is a common falsehood that the Mexican timeshare sales people try to tell. You have the right to rescind and you should do so immediately.

Did you pay with a credit card? You should call the credit card company immediately and let them know that you are canceling this purchase and you do not what your credit card charged. If it's already been charged, let them know you are canceling and dispute the charge, and block all future charges.

Here is an article with more info. about rescinding - it was written for a different resort, but everything else applies to you.

Don't delay - you only have 5 days! And don't talk to sales any more - they will NOT help you - just rescind!
 
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Central PA USA
You should follow their instructions to the letter, i.e. mail or fax or whatever they say - but however you do it, be sure you have dated proof - a registered mail receipt for example. If you did this on Friday, you have till Wednesday - but don't wait that long, do it NOW.

Again, try to file a dispute for the CC charge NOW, online.
 
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