How A 90-Minute Presentation Turned Into A 2-Year Timeshare Nightmare

Image courtesy of (Misfit Photographer)

Not even once. (Misfit Photographer)

Not even once. (Misfit Photographer)

Most Consumerist readers consider themselves savvy and resistant to marketing messages and sales pitches. Even then, be cautious when accepting free stuff or cash in exchange for sitting through a time-share presentation. One couple received such an offer while shopping in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They say that they were offered $450 to attend a 90-minute presentation, and after 8 hours of sales pitches signed up for a timeshare that they didn’t want.

How does that happen? CBS Sacramento investigated what’s been going on at this resort, and found plenty of people who claim that they were plied with alcohol on an empty stomach during the course of the sales pitch. A former employee explained that this was a common practice: they would bring in a nice glass of wine or a cold can of beer after prospects had been sitting there for hours with nothing to drink. “After four hours of not drinking, not eating, half a beer you start to feel buzzed,” he explained to CBS Sacramento. Customers who attended presentations at other resorts claim that they were served drinks that had been drugged.

The couple say that the salespeople opened up new credit cards for them, charging the down payment and closing costs for their condo to the new accounts. They sought assistance from Mexico’s consumer protection agency, and were able to hand them a cancellation letter within the five-day period that timeshare buyers have to change their minds. They returned home to collection calls. That was back in 2013, and the cancellation was never fully canceled. They did get their refund, but only after a reporter and camera crew flew down to Mexico and intervened on their behalf two years later.

One thing to keep in mind if you do decide to buy a time-share is that there’s a cooling-off period. The salespeople won’t push this idea on you, of course, but that’s the case in Mexico and when you buy any kind of timeshare here in the United States, too. If you go home to sleep on it and change your mind, you are able to back out of the transaction.

Call Kurtis Investigates: Mexican Timeshare Nightmare

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