Timeshare Ass. Reins In Pirates

They do go to great effort to keep us safe
BY: BILL LONEY

Here’s how the caper goes down:

A couple is approached somewhere in town by a man who walks up to them. Warning bells should go off right there. Ding, ding, ding. Legitimate times share snaggers (OPCs) are not allowed to approach you unless there is a barrier between you and them. Like their booth. They cannot pursue you down the street. The only time there is no barrier is when the sneaky OPCs are placed in restaurants and are passing themselves off as restaurant employees. (The timeshare they work for pays thousands of dollars to the restaurant for this placement.)

Then the phony OPC on the street tells you they can sell your current timeshare for a fee and wrap that profit into buying their timeshare. Ding ding ding. Never pay someone up front to unload your timeshare. Also, where is their timeshare exactly? Ding ding ding.

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If you fall for all this so far, they walk you over to a pop-up office they just rented and show you pretty pictures of some resort they have nothing to do with, and with a made up name. That’s when they take as much money as they can with some cockamamie story about first you have to put up earnest money, and then you get a big bundle of money (ding ding ding), then you buy their fictitious timeshare for a small bundle of money. They show you a nice website, they deposit the money in a U.S. bank, and everything looks copacetic. This is how they often get you to front even more money. Again, some bullshit story about they need just a little more front money, and they can release all your money. Many people give more money in hopes of getting the original money back. The average loss (‘scuse us, “investment”) seems to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. These guys are slick.

This has been going on in various tourist areas of Mexico for several years now, including Los Cabos, and nothing has been done about it. But apparently the fraudsters are getting into some of the money the traditional timeshare companies think they should be making because the Timeshare Ass. has finally stepped in to stop it. Yes, Virginia, we actually have a Timeshare Ass. It is voluntary and has very little authority, but it is a full time office with a couple of staff on Cabo San Lucas Street in downtown Cabo.

This reporter went to that office more than a year ago to ask them to close this fraud down but was told they could do nothing about it. Well, suddenly now they can. Because they have no legal authority, they need to use persuasion and they have finally done that. Association head Javier Olivares wrangled no less than nine government entities to put these guys out of business. They include the commerce department, labor, immigration, tourism, the restaurant ass., the local merchant’s ass. (CCC), the tourist police, Profeco, and the city tax authority.

Officials of all these snagged the bad guys they could find, and closed their office, which was in Plaza Golicott.

Olivares promises to be more vigilant in the future, shutting these guys down as quick as they hear about them. So, if you see them, or think you see them, drop a dime to him at 624-143-3018. Don’t ask for him, as he doesn’t speak English, but Yanett, his assistant, does and will get officials right on it. Actually, they will refer you to Profeco, or the tourist help center on the marina in front in Cabo.

 Don’t think that if you’ve already written the check you will ever see that money again, because they cash it very, very quickly in the United States. But you can help the next sitting ducks and you can get some measure of satisfaction by reporting them.

Now, here is how you can protect yourself.

Don’t do business with anybody who does not have a current ID card hanging around their neck. It has a hologram on it and you should check the date. The date should read 2018 ½, which means first six months of this year.

One more hot tip: If you have bought a timeshare from a legitimate company, you have five days to change your mind. First contact the timeshare company and politely ask for your money back, (yeah, good luck with that). Next go to Profeco, the federal consumer protection agency. You can file with them from the U.S. Their number is 6240143-2277 and the website is www.profeco.gob.mx.