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►►► CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS!
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE IN DETAIL HOW THE TELEMARKETING BOILER ROOMS IN THE PUERTO VALLARTA AREA OPERATE PLUS THE REAL NAMES OF SOME OF THE SCAMMERS!
IT’S ALWAYS A SCAM IF SOMEONE SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENTING A GOVERNMENT AGENCY ASKS FOR PAYMENT IN RELATION TO AN INVESTIGATION. ◄◄◄
EVERYWHERE: As promised last week, here is a step by step description of how a nice Canadian couple was taken for a ride at Puerto Bahia in the Puerto Vallart area (pretty much by some of the same people who have been defrauding victims in Costa Rica and are reportedly now pulling similar crap in Roatan. Those names include George Triggs, Abe Gardner, Joe Merante and Israel Curi, among several others). So here we go; see if you can pick out the many misleading points or outright lies provided by the new crew working there. Another one just like the other one?
We purchased into Puerto Bahia last October, studio which we thought was a 1 bedroom, summer when we thought was year round, for 1 week per year with 4 bonus weeks. With maintenance fees optional (680$/year) if we didn’t want to use our 1 deeded week, we didn’t pay maintenance. They also gave us a credit to buy back our shell vacations timeshare ( which they appraised at 26000$ when redweek gives for 1000$ or less). And also referred us to a company called Mercury Management who was supposed to rent our 4 “bonus” weeks for us at 2600$ a pop, but to use that service we had to send them a one time fee of 800$. All for the lump sum of over 15000$.
In reality: We never got 4 bonus weeks cause when you become RCI member, you can purchase as many of those (as they called) bonus weeks!!! I was arguing it when on site with the salesman but he always found a way out until I came back home and phoned RCI and The Registry Collection to complain.
Next B.S. was Mercury Management, which never sent us any money after numerous lies about being on a list and next to rent out our 4 bonus bogus weeks. There went another 800$ down the drain.
And last, this other company who was to purchase our old timeshare finally told us it was too complicated to take over Shell Vacation properties and they didn’t want to touch it, so we could keep it??? Funny 3 months ago we were given 26000$ credit and now? Just keep it… Happy we could keep it, since it was yet the only thing reliable we had in this deal.
Every time I’d call back the salesman, he always had an excuse to have to call me back and never do it. Even though I had his personal cel phone, home phone (spoke to his wife) and office phone and email. Like a snake he would always manage.
Getting tired of this non sense and seeing our money disappearing, on top of never getting any paper or deed or what so ever from them, we decide to go back this year in person and see someone in the face who would want to try and fix this. We thought: ” there’s no way a developer/hotel/resort owner will want his guests to come back there year after year feeling the way we do and not want to fix this mess probably one of his bad salesman did!!!”
Me being with the airline industry, flying there was not a cost issue, and since we got to keep Shell Vacations… We used it to locate close by and not on Puerto Bahia property just in case…
So we showed up there unannounced in our little car and were asked by the guard our reason to visit, which we replied we were owners and wanted to see the progress since last year. He quickly phoned someone and gave us the ok to go. When we got to the main building, a big vacuum salesman looking guy greeted us, explaining that he was newly hired manager and the old sales company was fired and even some were in prison as a result of government investigation/closing of the place last December. He then said his day was finished but he would pull out our file tomorrow and we were more than welcome to come back and fix this with him over a great breakfast on him. ( Wow!! I felt it coming again, the same feeling of getting screwed as last time was in the air. ) He ended up talking about how he was offered this job while coming there with his mother to help her get this horror purchase straight. I was now reassured… Not!!!
So we came back few days later, were greeted same way but were transferred to another “Canadian” just like us… He had told us he was Canadian too!!!
She explained how she maintained her job after the big government/police/new take over tsunami hit and how this new partner had bought for 70 millions, half the whole development including the old sales contract and that they would honour all of them as written. But, but, but, it would make much better sense for us to invest another 5000$ to upgrade to a one bedroom unit, plus they would give us 2 “loyalty weeks” at the property which we could change in cold cash by signing in with PTC which they would pay for enrolment fees and all, plus deduct our initial investment. Plus they could cap our maintenance fees for 7 years at 1260$/year mandatory this time, instead of the 680$/year optional. Reason is they say is because even if our studio purchase isn’t yet deeded, it will be very soon, and as a result, the maintenance will become mandatory by law because you can’t have a deeded timeshare with optional fees. And that also, they are not going to be able to guarantee a cap on how those will increase year to year.
She also showed us on her iPad to be “transparent” how to enrol with PTC and we could do this anytime at home and bla bla… But I saw her putting a PIN number…
She then brought us to visit the difference between a studio and a one bedroom unit.
She then brought us back to her “new manager” and explained him what she just did with us. He tried closing the deal and said this was a one time offer and we had to decide today or sign a release form that said we were waiving this offer. My wife then brought the tone up a notch and he backed off with the release form, giving us time to talk it over and call him back next day.
Before leaving, I mentioned article 15 in our contract and asked him to read it. This article stating that if the above conditions were not met by all parties this contract could be voided, and to me, with the timeshare not being deeded yet, with all the time passed ( nearly one year), it was legal ground to cancel it. He wanted to keep it to show his boss because they were out of ink in their copier but I refused and instead took pictures of their “new better proposal” as well as what they had on file about our initial purchase… We shook hands and told him we would wait for his call next day to find out what his boss thought and had to offer about article 15. His last question was what we were both doing in life as jobs… My lights turned on about how big of a bone we had with article 15, our condo fees being so low and optional, and that our contract never stated anything about lifetime purchase or limited to 15 or 30 years… His “new upgraded better contract” was for 15 or 30 years, depending on how much more we were willing to pay…
We then returned to our room at Grand Luxxe and I jumped on the net to read anything I could… And found your blog and precious articles!!!
Also reading about PTC, and finding their website, found out trying to enroll without a PIN number was not possible, etc… So she had a page already set in her iPad but it didn’t work and had to put a pin… Which I remembered… Ha! Ha! But you still needed a seller’s name and other info I didn’t have. Smelled funny… Read your blog some more… Found out the truth about PTC and WHY they would slip a clause in the fine prints that: If you accept these terms and conditions, you waive your rights to bla bla bla about Puerto Bahia vacation resort at the same time… THAT’S WHY THEY WANT OLD BUYERS TO ENROLL AND ARE WILLING TO PAY THE FEES!!!!
He then called us the next day with the bad news that after speaking to his boss, article 15 doesn’t do anything for us and it’s a no brainer to accept his beautiful offer since they are willing to reduce a bit if we pay cash!!! He went on and on and at the end I said I’d call back… Never did!!!
Now I’m not too sure what to do next but I know I want to run as far from it all as possible. Not sure of understanding my possibilities, I say try to get out of it legally, and meanwhile let them deed it if they really are going to do so with the conditions we have now. At least our fees won’t be mandatory and be low, and we will be able to exchange through RCI, we won’t have limited use to it of 15 or 30 years, and I can fight the 4 weeks bonus written in it and maybe turn them in their “new loyalty weeks” because their legal firm doing their paperwork will have to comply with whatever contract is stating at initial purchase date???
I’m sorry to write you such a lengthy story but I didn’t want to miss out on any details where you might have heard or will be hearing about similar.
Hoping you can help with a way out or connect us to other scam victims of Puerto Bahia so we can join efforts to fix this painful headache?
Personally I think Puerto Bahia ought to honor the contract signed by this couple; they should do what they can to make the couple whole, so to speak, and act as though they’re a reputable company with their owners’ interests at heart.
But from the sound of things they don’t seem to be much more reputable than the original gang. Either you honor the contract or you don’t, with no more shenanigans; and if you don’t, you expose yourself for what you really are. Right?
►►►► Stay tuned for next week’s personal account of how David Benson (real name?), who claims to be the owner of known scam company Realty Centre ltd, pretended to acquire power of attorney over one of his victims then tried to blackmail her with that in a final effort to gain any monetary crumbs he might have missed during the rest of the scam. He allegedly called her, confirmed outright that he had scammed her and said to get over it and that is what he does for a living. He then threatened her with harm if she notified the police or FBI. Guess what I suggested she should do?
You’ll read all about it next week, and I’ll show you copies of the documents purporting to give him power of attorney. If you’re anything like me it’ll make you sick to your stomach.
►►►► Meanwhile, here are some things you can do if you’ve been scammed, keeping in mind that they are committing crimes that are international in nature (including bank and wire fraud; forgery; and probably money laundering, among other crimes):
- File a report with your local police. There’s not much they can do, but at least you will have established a record;
- File a report with your state attorney general’s office;
- File a report with the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
- File a report with the US Marshals Service;
- File a report with Interpol – United States Central Bureau;
- File a report with the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.
You may not hear back from any of those agencies but that doesn’t mean they aren’t investigating. At the very least you may be helping others avoid the heartache you’ve suffered at the hands of those criminals.
►►►► The points below are just a few of the common indications that you are being scammed. Don’t fall for any of them!
- Did the company/business entity cold call you? Walk away.
- Did they tell you they have a buyer/renter for your week(s) who is willing to pay a suspiciously high amount for it? Walk away.
- Were you told that some agency of the Mexican Government has established a fund to recompense timeshare owners who were defrauded by the timeshare company and you’re one of the lucky ones? Walk away.
- Were you told (and shown) that there is an actual bank account in your name with funds in it? Walk away.
- Were you told that you are required to pay some type of government fee and/or tax to complete the transaction? Run away.
- Does your little inner voice tell you it’s too good to be true? Walk away.
Again: CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS! If any of them resemble a scenario that applies to you, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME, assume it’s a scam and walk away.
And if you still think that maybe your case is different and might be for reals, send me the details BEFORE you wire any funds to Mexico (or anywhere else) and I’ll check it out for you. Email email@example.com
“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” -Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org