>> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS
GUANACASTE: ***For those of you who feel you have been scammed and lost money you need to make the effort to contact your local FBI office and report your losses. Once the total losses exceed $100,000 from all combined across the US the FBI will proceed. As individuals unless your loss is $100,000 nothing will be done, but as an organized group you can pool your losses and reach the investigation criteria.
Take whatever evidence you may have, make your case and make sure you explain that others across the country are doing this to reach the $100,000 mark. Ask them to make sure your report gets forwarded to the Richmond, Virginia office to the attention of Special Agent Michael R. Schuler.***
Complaints about the goings on at Coco Bay keep coming in, and as long as they do I’ll keep reporting on them. That’s just how it works, boys and girls. One example:
We were involved with George Triggs and Tod Dean [Todd Dehn] and bunch of the other people 2 years ago at Puerto Bahia, we also got lied to and ripped off, we went there this week and they call it the Residence Club, all different people, we tried to get out money back and couldn’t. I would love to see these guys prosecuted and us get some money back…
They seem to be primarily selling their vacation club nowadays, but not Luxury Leisure Alliance. They’re selling the old one, the original parent travel club, Las Palmas Travel Network. There’s a ton of information and complaints available online about that (and the gang’s other endeavors), and it continues to accrue. Don’t believe me?
Here’s the thing about vacation/travel clubs. I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of travel clubs I personally would deem at least semi-honest. This description of a standard travel club operation, written by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, puts it pretty succinctly:
…consumers entered into the membership contracts based upon false promises that they would receive better-than-Internet wholesale prices on vacation packages, cruises, accommodations and other travel services. Instead, consumers allegedly left sales presentation venues having spent thousands of dollars on vacation club memberships that were essentially worthless when compared with travel arrangements they could make online, or by calling airlines, hotels and resorts directly.
Of course in this particular case it’s a “luxury” vacation club, with a few twists. They throw around phrases like “residence club” and “fractional ownership” and imply (if not outright declare) vacation opportunities at the various “luxury” developments in the area. You’ve heard it: “Buy x number of weeks in our luxury vacation club and stay in the residence club at Vista Ocotal/Coco Bay Estates/La Palma/Bahia Turquesa”, as well as other luxury destinations. But the actual contract belies those promises; you pays your money and you takes your chances, as the saying goes, because they guarantee nothing.
I’ve heard from people who came away from a presentation believing they had purchased as many as 52 weeks of right to use (or in some cases actual fractional ownership) at Coco Bay Estates only to discover once they got home, sobered up and looked at their contracts that they hadn’t purchased anything of the sort.
Want to know why I’m “picking” on these guys? Here are just a few examples of why, added to the dozens of pleas for help I’ve personally received from their victims.
Buyer Beware: Timeshare Scams in Guanacaste
http://www.redweek.com/forums/messages?thread_id=15969;page=1;query= (this thread starts in 2009 and continues for many pages to current times)
Need I go on?
The evidence is clear that at the very least the people working those various deals around Coco Bay are either big time “heat merchants” (professional liars) or at the other end of the spectrum outright scam artists. Choose your poison.
And since most of them have come from participating in other verified scam operations, I see little reason to assume they’re suddenly going to find Jesus, change their ways and sell a legitimate product cleanly. Am I being too harsh?
Well, that’s it for this week’s report on the Costa Rica Experience. But watch this space for more on the continuing adventures of Charlatans in Paradise!
“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