Recognizing a Timeshare Resale Scam in Mexico
Mexico’s weather, beaches and lower living expenses have captivated many vacationers. In addition, the dream of owning a second home in paradise makes visitors easy targets for timeshare sales agents.
Before they know it, they are swept away by the possibilities and wind up signing on the dotted line and purchasing a timeshare in Mexico. Once the excitement wears off some buyers may have regrets. Luckily there is a small safety net in Mexico – a five-business-day grace period in which to cancel a timeshare contract (despite what the salesperson tells you).
However, if the grace period has passed by the time the buyer realizes they have either been defrauded or do not want the expense or inconvenience of owning a timeshare, they look for ways to sell it and rid themselves of its obligations.
Owners must exercise caution as there are many unscrupulous people taking advantage of the buyer’s regrets, offering to resell the timeshare. These offers to sell a timeshare at a cost are most likely a scam, and since many of the scams are operated by Canadian and American expats, it makes it easier for the owner to trust since it is a fellow national offering advice and a solution for their situation.
Some scenarios which may indicate a scam
- The timeshare owner may receive notice that the reseller has a buyer and is offering even more than you paid, they ask you to pay some fees upfront. Remember the chances of someone offering to buy your timeshare for more than you paid is very unlikely. And there should be no fees paid upfront.
- They may claim that the Mexican government is offering to bail out some buyers that have been the victim of fraud in Mexico; this is not true. They may ask that you wire a few thousand dollars to pay a tax and allow them to open a Mexican bank account in your name to transfer the compensation for the timeshare, again not correct. If the Mexican government was involved and requested funds, the payment would be made through a linea de captura or their website.
- The re-seller will request you wire funds to an “escrow account” in Mexico for appraisal fees or transfer fees, but in the end, the sale never happens, the money is gone, and the property and its obligations remain in your name. Mexico does not have the same regulations regarding escrow accounts as the US and Canada. If you transfer money, it is going straight to someone’s bank account, and you will never see it again.
- They will request funds transferred to them in a way that cannot be traced, for example cashiers cheque, money order, cash or other forms of non-traceable payment.
Legitimate timeshare resale companies do exist
Despite the number of scams out there, there are options available through legitimate resale companies.
- A legitimate company will not charge fees upfront, the commission or fee will be deducted from the sale price.
- Check with the property manager of your timeshare to find out if they have a resale program or know of the company that has contacted you.
- Research the reseller, contact consumer protection agencies and in Mexico check with Profecto to out if there are existing complaints about the company.
- Consult with an attorney in Mexico to review the documents or contract before you sign anything.
Contact MexLaw if you wish to cancel you timeshare or feel you have been defrauded by a timeshare company or illegitimate reseller.
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