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Rancho Banderas / Timeshare fraud!

1 United States Review updated:

We purchased a 3 bedroom timeshare that we bought while vacationing at Rancho Banderas in 2001. Part of the pitch was that 60 months after our purchase, we could submit the sales documentation to a 3rd party they had negotiated with regarding a full refund of the fees. We have followed all the processes, and it turns out the 3rd party has moved with no forwarding address or contact information. Additionally, Rancho Banderas has been of no help to resolve this issue - a program which was supported by the Rancho Banderas development group.

Va
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  • Ro
      8th of Jan, 2007
    0 Votes

    I was just told that the maintenance assessments for 2007 will MORE THAN DOUBLE per point for Rancho Banderas. The business practices here would be illegal in the US, but the lender and assessment administrator is the same office in Alberta, Canada.

  • Ch
      16th of Jan, 2007
    0 Votes

    We have a similar situation with the payment of 10 years of dues in advance. We have owned the property for about 5 years and have yet been able to use it because there is never room for us when we try to get a reservation. They have not abided by the contract in letting us get a reservation in advance.

  • De
      5th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    We were coaxed in signing for Timeshare points with Rancho Banderas last year. When we got home and finally had a chance to review our contract, we were shocked at the various terms and conditions that had been misspresented to us during our timeshare presentation. And of course, that we had only 5 days to revoke the contract in writing, which had expired of course while we where on vacation! How convenient that this presentation was scheduled on our 1st day in Mexico. Sure enough, when we tried to cut things off at the source, we got the run-around treatment and the financial institution, which resides in the same business office as the Rancho Banderas management group in Alberat Canada, was not interested in cancelling our loan either. Now, a year later, we receive an annual assessment fee of $500 USD. Our contract had this fee at 0.82$ / point, while this latest fee is at $1.78 / point. Our contract also states that this fee cannot increase by more than 15% without the written request and majority approval by its members. (all of us) We did not receive any such correspondence. How is this NOT fraud ? There must be something we can do if we get enough voices!

  • Ma
      6th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    We have also been shocked to see our maintenance fees. Our yearly fees were $115 when we purchased 240 points a year. The invoice we just received is for almost $500! Has anyone tried to contact the Calgary phone number on the invoice? Our agreement states the 15% maximum increase also.

  • Va
      8th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    In November 2001, we purchase 960 points of vacation time from the Rancho Banderas resort in Puerto Vallarta. At that time, the sales team stated that the money we put down for our points would be FULLY reimbursed in 54 months through the Cashback America rebate program. Yesterday (after waiting 8 months), I received a check for approximately 7% of our down payment from the 3rd party used by Cashback America. A letter with the check explained that the merchant (Rancho Banderas had only paid $24,582 into the program and that over $135,000 in customer rebate claims had been received. Therefore, we were only entitled to 19% of our "investment". Cashback America also said that the maximum rebate claim was only $10,000, even though Rancho Banderas gave us $26,000 in rebate vouchers.

    This stinks of fraud. I am curious if anyone has initiated a class action suit against Rancho Banderas?

  • Ma
      8th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    We prepaid our Rancho Banderas maintenance fees for five years with an offer Rancho said "we should not miss, how could we lose?" (Cashback America!!). Of course, five years later we did not get a penny from Cashback America. They make it so difficult for you to follow their intricate steps that it is set up for you to fail. We had the chance to prepay 10 years, I'm wondering how Rancho Banderas will handle accounts where people did prepay maintenance (at 2002 rates)?

    I did phone Calgary - the woman there said this is an emergency situation and if we (and all members) don't pay, the resort will fold. She said most members are paying the maintenance fees - not sure if that is true as I've heard lots of complaints. We have another problem, we can never get a reservation at the resort. I receive e-mails in broken English when I try to make bookings or enquire about our points. So disappointed with the resort.

  • Ri
      13th of Feb, 2007
    +1 Votes

    I could have written the exact same thing as you. I would like to do further communication with you as there is a more sinister plot by management at Rancho. Their maintenance fees have sky rocketed. By the way, my email may change in about a month so please respond once to me within the month. I suspect that there are trying to burn us off in order to resell the units. I have major doubts that anyone is paying since no one can book at the resort. This is major fraud.

  • Me
      13th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    We have had the exact same problems as everyone else. We purchased 900 points in 2001. Our maintenance fee was 57 cents. I also just received my assessment and can believe it.

    As far as cashback america that is the biggest scam ever. And they know it. Even though they moved i was able to track them down. I was denied my cashback because according to them they received my claim one day to early. I contacted them by phone and asked about the time frame as it was very vague. I was told i was in the right time frame. So i submitted. If you read the fine print on the information provided from them it does say it cannot exceed $10,000. It also says if there ain't no money in "the fund" you get no money. They didn't tell us this. Call rancho banderas sales and they were rude rude rude.

    We also have not been able to get our reservations that we have requested so we are basically paying for something we are unable to use.

    I have been unable to find any business info on resorts west management. I would like to find out how we could find out just how many total points they have sold. Perhaps they have sold more than they can accomadate

  • Ch
      13th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I'm also a member at Rancho. Sounds like we've all experienced the same frustrations. I suggest we start discussing a plan of action rather than restating the same experiences.

    Top of mind thoughts on how we start to mobilize:
    1. We need to establish a centralized forum for communicating. I've seen at least 3 different locations (tripadvisor, TUG site and complaints board) where this conversation is taken place. I'd suggest choose one and direct new comers to selected location.
    2. Agree on a collective response to the resort. I've seen one forum suggesting that we submit a petition protesting the fee increase while others have suggested formal litigation.
    3. Identify a point person responsible for conveying our message to resort.
    4. Determine how we best convey the groups intentions to the resort; email, formal letter or other format.

    Please respond with your thoughts. If someone has already begun to initiate the process I'm happy to join in participate.

  • La
      13th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    Chad is absolutely right. I've sent email to a couple of you who have similar complaints regarding the assessment fees. I plan to pursue this matter immediately and will update this post with what I learn. If I find a phone number to register a complaint I will publish it here so that other like-minded owners can make their own inquiries.

  • La
      14th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    2/14/2007 8:34 AM. Called office numbers 877-451-1241 and 403-451-1242 and got answering machine.

    2/14/2007 8:55 AM. Called office numbers 877-451-1241 and got answering machine. Machine said due to high volume of payments calls may not be returned for 3 days. Further it stated that inquiries about fees should be sent via email and they will be answered in 3-4 weeks.

    They are not answering their phones. Big surprise. I'm don't know how these people sleep at night. I think I'd be sleeping with one eye open.

    On to my lawyer I guess.

  • La
      14th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I talked to a lawyer this afternoon. I read him both the applicable section of the contract as well as thier explanation for the fee increase. It is his opinion that none of the items cited for reasons to increase the fee beyond 15% without a vote rise the the level of "Extraordinary" as the contract states. Not only does the expense need to be "Extraordinary" but the reasons also "...could not have been forseen by the managing agent...". Inflation, increasing property taxes an operational and labor costs not only should be forseen but EXPECTED AND PLANNED FOR by any competent management company.

    The very last section of the contract states that disputes that cannot be resolved between owners and management must be settled in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. That means that owners, if considering legal action, will need to retain legal help licensed to work in that state. Any lawsuit would need to be filed in that state.

    Since I have vacation coming up and it has already been paid for, I plan to pay the amount of the invoice but dispute the amount. On the check in the lower lefthand corner I will write "Payment in Full with Reservation of Right to All Remedies". I plan to include a cover letter stating my opinion that the reasons cited do not meet the criteria set forth in the contract. The letter will reiterate that I am willing to pay a fee equivalent to a 15% increase as per the contract but reserving the right to dispute the payment in excess of 15% in the future.

    I would like to pursue getting a list of all members but I'm not sure how to go about that in a timely fashion. If enough people express interest we can talk about ways that we might do this without information/help from the management.

  • Ch
      15th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    Thanks for the feedback Lance.

    Enjoy your vacation.

    I have no plans of paying RB or anyone affiliated with them until this is resolved. Communication has been horrible and I would rather cut my losses now and walk, rather than continue to be strung along by these folks. RB has much work to do to regain my trust...

    I believe we need RB to provide the following to begin to justify the need for the rate increase and prove that they have a plan for the future.
    - balance sheet 2004-2006
    - listing of points sold to date
    - 3-year, 5-year and 10-year plan for the resort
    - provide members the ability to connect and discuss issues with the resort. Requesting a complete member list with contact data obviously opens some privacy concerns is unlikely to be . (I have some ideas for accomplishing this should we get the ear of RB management)

  • Ch
      15th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    Received a tip that this organization may be of assistance. They are part of the Mexican government and work with folks outside the country who are victims of consumer fraud.

    Here is a snipit from one of their websites. As Lance mentioned, any litigation must take place in Mexico. I thought this organization might provide some free advice for how to proceed if it comes to that.

    I will be sending a letter and provide any meaningful feedback.
    --------------------------------
    If you have acquired any product or service from a Mexican person and are not satisifed, you may file a complaint from outside of Mexico. This is a totally free service and does not require the presence of the consumer in the procedure.

    The complaint can be submitted in any Profeco office, Embassy, Consulate or any other official office.

    The Profeco address is:
    Profeco - (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor)
    Av. José Vasconcelos No. 208, 6º Piso, Col. Condesa, C.P. 06140, México D. F.

    You must submit the following information:

    - A brief letter (1 page maximum, preferably, typed) stating the following:
    Supplier's name, address, phone, e-mail or other contact information, description of the facts that explain the reason for your complaint, date of purchase, cost of the product or service, amount you are claiming, your name and signature.
    - Copy of your ID (Passport or Driver´s License)
    - Copy of your contract or payment invoice
    - Copy of your bills, credit card slips or receipts as evidence of your payments
    - Copy of all the documents available to support the complaint.


    For further information you can contact Profeco at the following numbers:
    (52) 55-68-87-22 (phone); (+52) 55 5211-2052 (fax), or E-mail: extranjeros@profeco.gob.mx
    ---------------------------------------------------

  • Ma
      15th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I have been a charter member at Rancho since 1999 and one of the reason I bought with them was their plan to build a quality resort that was responsive to their members. They presented themselves as a reputable and long standing Canadian company that also built Fairmount Hot Springs. Sad to say this has been the worst investment of my life - every year I get wait listed for a reservation if I try to go during winter months, I got swindled out of my 50% reimbursement of maintenance fees and now this huge increase. And they just keep selling and selling but don't build any new units. On one visit the sales manager at my "owner's meeting" tried to get my brother to spend $120,000 and seemed surprised that he declined - telling them their best selling feature would be keeping their current members/owners happy and they didn't seem to be doing this very well. Then last year (I stayed somewhere else and just visited the resort) when I expressed frustration with getting a reservation I was told that they were planning to start selling set weeks. I informed them that as a Charter member I would expect to have first pick of a set week and would like to speak with Brian who is sales manager and has been part of this management team since the beginning. Of course he couldn't meet with me - pressing matters. I have never had the resort ask for my opinion on any of their plans - Penthouse, gym, move reservation office to resort.

    I would definitely be interested in trying to set things straight. It would be interesting to know how many members there are, because I don't think the resort has more than 40 units and there a alot of people trying to sell their points on various web sites. Am concerned if I don't pay fees what will happen to reservation I have in June for my niece's graduation - maybe sending check with stipulation that Lance mentioned is best plan. I will keep this website on my favorites and check in weekly. Please let's work together to try and fix this.

  • Ke
      15th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I've just sent the following eMail to RB:

    The delayed 2007 annual assessment was received last week. The per point fee of $1.78 is more than double the 2006 per point fee of $0.82. My contract signed in 1999 indicates a maximum annual increase of 15%, or $0.943 per point.

    Please advise with a clear explanation for this assessment, or send a corrected invoice.

    Late fees and penalties should not be applied pending resolution of this inquiry.

  • Ma
      16th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I am going to send the same e-mail as Ken did. I think everyone needs to do something similar if they are not going to pay, just to cover themselves.

    "The delayed 2007 annual assessment was received last week. The per point fee of $1.78 is more than double the 2006 per point fee of $0.82. My contract signed in 1999 indicates a maximum annual increase of 15%, or $0.943 per point.

    Please advise with a clear explanation for this assessment, or send a corrected invoice.

    Late fees and penalties should not be applied pending resolution of this inquiry. "

  • Ja
      19th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    I have also had all of the above mentioned experiences with RB. When we first bought this time share I thought it was a great deal. Now this doubling of the assessment in clear violation to the contract. Has anyone received a response from RB about the assessment? Some how I doubt it.

    I agree about sending a letter of protest on the assessment. I do not think that I would be willing to pay and then hope for a correction from these people. What I would be willing to do is to take a vacation to P.V. and picket in front of the resort. Anyone care to join me?

    Add me to any list for participating in class actions or other legal efforts to get things resolved. Thing is my wife and I REALLY love that place. Feel cheated and conned.

  • Ma
      25th of Feb, 2007
    0 Votes

    We have sent a complaint e-mail to RB and an e-mail asking for help from Profeco. We have decided not to pay our maintenance fees pending a full explanation from RB. I'm interested to hear if others are paying or not?

  • Gr
      27th of Feb, 2007
    +1 Votes

    I agree with all I have read. I was shocked when I received my invoice, over $1400.00 US. for 960 points. It is my belief that they are trying to squeeze out a lot of owners so they can continue sell. When we were there last everyone agreed that it was very hard trying to reserve time. I've tried to reserve time for 2008 but have had no response for two weeks, I just called them and they said I will have a confirmation via e.mail today, we'll see. I'm very concerned about the lack of caring.

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