Timeshares: If it sounds too good to be true…
Maybe you met the incredibly persuasive timeshare salespeople at the airport when you landed in Cancun. Or, perhaps you signed up for the timeshare talk just to get some free drinks or an excursion. Whatever the circumstances, during your meeting with the incredibly friendly and outgoing timeshare salesperson, you looked out over the incredible resort with the blue skies overhead and the turquoise Caribbean lapping at white sands, and just knew, you want this opportunity! No, you need this opportunity! At Mexlaw, we hear from hundreds of vacationers every year who, in a moment of weakness or vacation euphoria, signed a timeshare contract while visiting one of Mexico’s incredible beach vacation destinations, only to realize it was a huge, costly mistake.
Here are some things to consider before cashing in those free drink coupons and purchasing a timeshare:
NEVER sign the contract right away
Back home, you would never sign a legal document without your lawyer reviewing it so why would you do it on vacation? Don’t let your guard down. No matter how much pressure the timeshare salesperson places on you, NEVER sign a contract without first having a lawyer review it. That is your right and no one can stop you from having the contract reviewed.
Yes, you CAN cancel the contract
If you have already signed the contract and are having second thoughts, don’t worry. You are well within your legal right to cancel the contract within 5 business days of signing. However, you will need to hire a Mexican attorney to send a certified letter canceling the contract. And, if the salesperson had you sign a document that declared you were signing away your right to cancel, don’t worry. That’s an illegal practice and you will still be eligible to cancel as long as you are within 5 business days.
It is important to mention that there are some cases where the hotel will cancel and reimburse your investment without any difficulty. However, most of the time, you may find yourself being contacted by the hotel sales representative or membership department, claiming a variety of ways they can help you to renegotiate your contract or offering other services.
In case the provider completely ignores or rejects to cancel your contract, you will need to file a formal complaint to collect your investment.
Already a Timeshare Owner? Be careful – Watch out for scams!
During the past few years, we have detected several ways timeshare contract scams are performed. One of the more common is having someone allegedly from a Mexican government office advising there was a ruling made in the timeshare owner’s favor and they will receive a settlement for damages or taxes for their timeshare purchase. The scammers even provide the phone number of someone who (supposedly) works for SAT, (the Mexican tax authority) or another Mexican entity. They even provide falsified “official court resolutions”. The timeshare owner is told that as long as they provide a tax ID and pay the taxes due on the settlement, they will receive their settlement funds. THIS IS A SCAM. There is no government ruling and unfortunately, many timeshare owners are defrauded out of thousands of dollars every year from timeshare scams such as this one.
BE AWARE: TIMESHARE RESALE FRAUD
An unsolicited contact offering to sell your timeshare is most likely someone looking to defraud you. We receive at least a dozen requests per week from victims in the same situation. Do not send money, do not follow their instructions, and do not trust them; this is fraud.
As we mentioned you do not need any type of tax registration or obtain a tax number, permit, or license, nor do you need to pay any taxes on the sale of the timeshare.
Unfortunately, the scams are becoming more elaborate and go so far as to use impersonation of real government workers and use real government programs, which are for other purposes, not timeshares, making it seem legitimate and trustworthy.
Please keep in mind that, regrettably, MexLaw can not provide you any further information about these attempted frauds, whether the proposal made to you is legitimate nor recover any money lost in such a fraud.
Remember, don’t let your guard down just because you’re on vacation. If you think a timeshare is right for you then contact our litigation team at Mexlaw to review and validate the timeshare contract BEFORE you sign it. If you’ve already signed the contract and have second thoughts, contact us within the 5 business day grace period so we can determine if we can help you.