If you have a timeshare in Mexico, you might be having a lot of questions, such as, Is my timeshare worth money? Is there any way to walk away from my timeshare contract? Can I rent my timeshare? How do I avoid timeshare scam or timeshare fraud in Mexico?
These are all valid questions. And they all put you at risk for a common thing: being scammed
Being scammed is a big concern with any timeshare transactions. You might be being scammed if:
- Someone tells you they have a buyer or renter that’s willing to pay more than you purchased the time-share for. We’re sorry to tell you that no one will every buy your timeshare for anything near the amount you paid for it.
- You are asked to wire money to an escrow account in Mexico to pay for taxes and/or fees. The “escrow account” along with the fees are fraudulent, and once you wire the money you won’t see it again.
- Someone tells you the Mexican Government has a fund to reimburse victims of fraud and you’re in line for reimbursement. No matter how real the documents look, this fund isn’t real and they don’t have money for you.
If you’re not this far down the line, there’s no reason to worry. Here are a few sure-fire ways to avoid being scammed in any transaction involving your timeshare in Mexico:
- Watch out for upfront fees. Typically, fees are paid after the sale is concluded or they are subtracted from the price at the beginning.
- Be reasonable. If it looks too good to be true, likely it is. If the buyer is promising a quick sale for a lot of money, as ideal as this sounds, be wary. This is an impossible promise.
- Send money the right way. Don’t pay in cash, wire money, send a money order, cashier’s check, or certified bank check. These methods make it difficult for law enforcement to recover your money in case of fraud.
- Do the research. Don’t let a professional looking website fool you. Contact the better business bureau where the reseller is located to check for complaints. The State attorney general and local consumer protection agencies are also great resources.
- Check with the resort. Find out if there are any restrictions, fees or other limitations. Check if the reseller you’re working with has ever worked with them before, or if they have their own resale program.
- Get everything in writing and have an attorney review documents before you sign them. Even if they need you to sign immediately, it’s better safe than sorry to get an extra copy for a qualified Mexico attorney.
- Do your research. Some locations are red flags for scams and owners of timeshares in these locations are often preyed upon. Ones to look out for are Mayan Palace, Moon Palace, Groupo Palace and the Grand Miramar, but it’s important to look online to see if others have been scammed before buying or investing.
If you fear you have been scammed or fear you may be at risk for being scammed, contacting a lawyer is always a good idea, especially one that is versed in Mexican law. One thing to keep in mind is that it is always your right under Mexican law to cancel a timeshare contract within five business days of signing it. So if you ever have a bad gut feeling within five days of buying, cancellation is always an option under Article 56 of the Mexican Consumer Law.