El Cid Vacations Club / Timeshare Fraud
Two weeks ago I purchased timeshare points from the El Cid Marina in Mazatlan.
We were approached at the airport by the offer of a cab ride. Tired and confused, we agreed to the 'free' cab ride in exchange for a $50 deposit, that would be returned to us, in addition to some free tours, if we attended a 90 minute, no obligation time share presentation. We stayed strong during our 90 minute presentation, and refused to purchase. We asked for our $50 deposit and gifts, and kept getting the runaround. The 90 minute presentation turned into a 3 hour ordeal. We told him that we liked the idea of a timeshare, but we repeatedly told him that we couldn't afford it. We said that in 5-10 years we would be interested in purchasing. Our time share presenter told us that they offered a special package for people like us. We could rent out our points each year for a minimum of $3, 000. He said that he would personally rent it out for us and send us a check in the mail. He promised that by renting out our points we would have absolutely no out of pocket costs for five years. At the end of 5 years, we would have a timeshare that was mostly paid off, with no cost to us. That was when they asked for a credit card, just to check if we were qualified for the wonderful deal that they were offering us. They returned with a credit line that they opened in our name, that would cover the $5, 800 dollar deposit.
Then we met with another person who had the papers to sign. We were skeptical because there were no promises in writing regarding the renting of points. On five separate occassions, our time share presenter was brought back into the room to reassure us. Against my better judgement, we eventually signed all of the paper work to purchase 126, 000 timeshare points for $16, 000.
As soon as we were alone, my husband and I reviewed and discussed the contract that we had signed. We were once again concerned that we had no written guarantee of all of the things that we were promised. We told them within an hour that we wanted to cancel the contract. However, we were told that while we were free to cancel at anytime, we would lose our $5, 800 deposit. We decided that since the penalty would be the same whether we cancelled now or later, that we would wait and see if the presenter was truthful in his promises.
When we returned home we found out that everything the presenter promised was a lie. The things that he told us were part of a much-used scam. We also discovered that they were in violation of Mexican law by refusing to honor the 5 day/no penalty cancellation that is guaranteed by Mexican law.
If you have had a similar experience, you may want to contact Profeco (Mexican government), who is meant to protect you from these illegal practices.
Also, check out these websites regarding Mexican Timeshare Fraud:
Feel free to contact me if you are a victim of this company.
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