The Truth about Timeshare Fraud in Mexico

Scams are a potential risk no matter where you buy a timeshare. However, the popularity of timeshares in Mexico has made that market particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous characters looking to make a quick buck. Keeping these precautions in mind can help you protect yourself as you shop for a Mexican timeshare.

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Thinking about purchasing a timeshare in Mexico? How do you tell the difference between a legitimate opportunity and a trap that will cost you time and money to escape? The good news is that the timeshare industry is currently in a buyer’s market. Nonetheless, as with any major purchase, taking your time to ensure that you are making a good decision will pay off. Remember, timeshares are a purchase and not an investment.

Scammers may look at first-time visitors to Mexico as a prime target for fraud.

Ideal victims are people who are not informed about timeshares or the local market. In some cases, you will be offered incentives such as free prizes and money to attend a presentation. Of course, these strategies are employed by many legitimate timeshare firms as well, so in and of themselves they do not mean that you are dealing with a scammer. If you decide to go to this type of presentation, however, be prepared to handle a high pressure sales situation. Remember the old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true!” Of course, when shopping for a timeshare in Mexico, you should be even more aware of actually illegal and fraudulent schemes then of ordinary high-pressure sales tactics; these are a few of the most common.

A tried and true ruse in pressuring you to buy is warning you that a particular deal is only available for that moment. They want you to think that you will miss out if you decline or want to think it over. The truth is the offer or a better one will still be there tomorrow. To minimize your chances of being ripped off, spend the night thinking about whether or not you want to commit.

Maintenance fees are another trick used to take your hard-earned dollars. Be sure to read the contract section about the timeshare’s costs carefully and check to see if there is a cap on how much those fees can increase over time. Customers will be often be lured in with a small fee that will then drastically increase once they are locked in.

One of the most common gimmicks is the false assurance that a particular property is a great investment.

In Mexico, this is especially a problem. Scams can range from buyback offers to suggesting that you rent out the space. What you will not be told is that a variety of fees such as close out costs prevent any chance at a profit. Renting is often not viable either due to hidden fees and fierce competition from Mexico’s resorts. Many vacationers prefer an all-inclusive resort. The market has more sellers than buyers making selling the share, even at a loss, difficult.

The good news is that despite the devious ways unsavory sellers can try to cheat you out of your money, Mexico has a law to protect timeshare buyers. This imposes a mandatory five-day cancellation window. So even if you buy a timeshare that you then discover is fraudulent, acting quickly can get you out of it. Remember, do your homework before ever making a purchase!

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Boris Razmiki

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