- If you travel to a beach destination in Mexico, it is likely that you will be approached by people who work for resorts. You will be offered to visit the resort and enjoy the facilities for free.
- It is likely that they offer you attractive financing to purchase a timeshare at that resort, pushing you really hard to sign a contract right on the spot.
- Many people get convinced to sign because the place is beautiful, the staff is kind, or because they offer a good deal.
- Unfortunately, some people who signs contracts for the purchase of the timeshare do not have enough time to ponder and regret their decision afterwards.
- According to Mexican law, you have a grace period to back out of the timeshare purchase contract; nevertheless, resorts usually add clauses to these contracts with the purpose of making it difficult to opt out of the deal.
- There is a government agency in Mexico called the Consumer Protection Bureau (PROFECO by its initials in Spanish) whose mandate is to enforce commercial laws. PROFECO can intervene enforcing the provisions of the law regarding opting out of recently signed contracts. However, PROFECO can only mediate between the parties; if the dispute is not settled (the resort does not make a full refund) the case has to go to court and PROFECO will cease its intervention.
- Another scenario is when a person pays a certain amount of money and is never given access to the resort because it was not a legitimate contract. In this case, the sale does not legally exist and PROFECO cannot intervene.
- When this occurs, a criminal complaint needs to be filed at the office of the attorney general of the state where the resort is located. This complaint must be submitted in person, so it is recommended to carry it out in Mexico or through a lawyer with a valid power of attorney.
- There have been cases in which someone contacts those who have been victims of this kind of fraud by phone or email, offering them the reimbursement of the amount of money they paid and subsequently lost. Sometimes they impersonate government officials or pose as lawyers commissioned by the Mexican government to make reimbursements. The victims usually believe them since they are willing to do whatever is necessary to recover their money. The individuals who call the victims usually ask them to transfer some money in advance for different reasons: taxes, bank commissions, etc. Many of the victims transfer even more money and never get anything back.
- It is strongly advised to contact the Mexican Embassy before transferring any money.
- As a general rule, if a victim of fraud has not filed a criminal complaint, a police investigation cannot be opened and, without an investigation, there is no possibility of recovering the money from these criminals.