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profile member asked on May 22, 2013

How to avoid timeshare scam and have a safe vacation in Cancun

I am planning to have an 30 years anniversary vacation with my wife in Cancun this September/2013. I've been reading all the review from all experienced travelers and most of them are involved with timeshare sale scam. Not only get into the scam and ruin the whole vacation for most of them which I feel very sad when reading it. After refused or withdraw from the scam deals, they were treated like a second citizens or bottom line tourist. We never get out of US since we married and love the beaches a lot. I've heard it's beautiful beaches and resorts in Cancun and wanted to have a great vacation with my love. But it's seem like unsafe with all the situation that I've seen from all the review. It's happened in most of the resorts there. Any advises is appreciated. I am thinking to travel with US might be safer? Thank you for any input.

Cancún

20 Answers


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

Haven't experienced the time-share routine in Cancun (yet) but have had plenty of experience with it at other places. It's only a scam IF you agree to attend their "90 minute, no pressure" (yeah, right) presentation, and IF you let them bully you into buying a timeshare.

So to avoid the issue? Just. Say. No. Do not agree to attend ANY presentations: problem solved. Do not agree no matter how hard they pressure you, and once at your resort, go off and have fun. Or stay at a hotel where units are not being sold.

Time-share sales are just as big an annoyance at resorts in the U.S. as in Cancun so no, it's no "safer" here: you will initially get just as much pressure. Again, just say no - no matter how many free tickets, meals, etc. they promise you.


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

One more note: try this website for your hotel/resort search:

[original link]

This is a VERY reliable booking website with legitimate reviews on the properties listed. This is not to say that what you've read about Cancun time-share pressure isn't true, but if you go through the reviews and there are a lot of mentions of excessive pressure at any particular resort, then cross it off the list and keep looking.

And if you're bothered by hawkers on the street, at the airport, etc. do what most of us do with persistent street vendors all over the world: put on your 'New York Face', give them a firm "no" and keep walking.


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member

Thank you very much for your advise goodfish.


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

You're welcome. And you can browse the resorts outside of the town of Cancun as well: here's the web page for those around Playa del Carmen:

[original link]


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from New York City

When you land at the airport, as soon as you exit the customs area you will go through a hallway that is lined its time share reps acting like officials. Politely tell them sorry you are all set and not interested in their product. When you get to your hotel and are approached to view a representation for something or another again politely say no and keep walking. Same if you are approached on the street asking where you are staying and for how long and if you wan some free trips etc. These are basically all come ons for attending the representations. They all promise to take only 90 minutes or so of your time yet you will rarely leave in under 5 hours of wasted high pressure rooms.

Keep saying no to anyone offering you anything for a few minutes of your time and you will be fine.


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Indiana

They will start the second you get through immigration at the airport and it doesn't stop, but they are harmless. Don't stop at all until you get outside the airport. Make sure you prearrange a ride to your resort or lodging. It is usually a zoo the second you step outside and knowing you have a ride takes a lot of pressure off. Just make sure that you don't share your name with anyone who approaches you claiming they are your ride unless they have credentials of some sort from the company you arranged it with. Common sense is all. Many of them offer "free" rides to your hotel for the pleasure of wasting 4 hours at a timeshare presentation. All you have to do, as goodfish put so well, is just say no and keep walking. No one can force you to do anything. In many trips they have never been nasty or rude to me, and the only reason why we fell for it was because it was our first time out of the country well over a decade ago and we were just "kids". Travel forums were scarce and so was information about it. We didn't have any clue. The knowledge that it is a scam and the word "No" is all you need. All we lost was time, though. We did get a ride and a trip to Tulum and Xcaret for it, so I guess overall it wasn't a total loss.

As a side note, we always have a beer or margarita right outside the airport at a little stand as a first toast in celebrations that we are one the ground. It's pricey, but we don't care. Just make sure no matter what you buy, from food and drinks to souvenirs, always ask the cost before you accept anything. No worries! Happy Anniversary and have a great trip!

Tammy


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member

Hi we were to Cancun 2 years ago and stayed at the Beach Palace!
We had a wonderful service from everybody in the hotel and especially the restaurant manager Juan. My husband even passed kidney stones while we were there so we even got the chance to go to the Amerimed hospital! ( it was really like entering a 6* hotel with great service).
As for the timeshares we said that we weren't interested and nobody bothered us! We even went to the luxury avenue stores and the Isla mall with no bad experience!!! Last year we were at the Paradissius La esmeralda but we didn't like it that much because it was more in a secluded area (playa del carmen). So I would say Cancun is pretty much safe as long as you respect them and don't flaunt what you have and treat them like dirt!


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

You'll probably get more hotel/resort recommendations from VT members but in the meantime, take a browse through our destination pages for Cancun for some good ideas:

[original VT link]


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Indiana

Too funny, Momo, but that is where we stayed our very first time to Cancun. Loved it! Top notch. That was a long time ago, so glad to hear it's still ship shape.


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answered on 5/22/13 by
a VT member from Chicago

We go to Mexico almost every year, we go a little further south and stay in Playa del Carmen, actually Playacar just south of PDC, which you might find slightly more appealing if you are not into the party scene. We changed from Cancun to PDC years ago when we got a little older. PDC has a variety of all inclusives and smaller boutique resorts depending on what you are looking for.

Lots of people will call out to you when walking down major streets, we just ignore them. Arrange for your transfer to your hotel before you get there (we use Best Day but there's a range of legitimate operators), walk through the airport without stopping to talk to anyone who says "need a ride" or "what are you looking for". The transfer companies have to stand outside the airport and they will be holding up a sign with the name of your company

If someone offers you an excursion for free, it's a time share presentation. If the price sounds too good to be true, probably a time share. You can book excursions at your hotel through the rep, you can book them online, I've even booked them at a travel agency in PDC. But just not with the guys who are calling out to you from store fronts.

Don't let this put you off traveling to Cancun or PDC, as long as you are aware of it and know what to avoid, the time share people are harmless. And they crack me up when they yell out "hey honeymooners" to those of us who've been married for a pretty long time :-)


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answered on 5/22/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I haven't been to Mexico but this happens in other places too. It's can be a hassle but it's not a danger and it is most certainly not something outside your control. You can only be scammed if you let yourself be scammed. People's enthusiasm for something which they think is a 'good deal' leads them into situations which they later regret.

So Goodfish is absolutely right. Just say no (and mean it). :-)


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answered on 5/23/13 by
a VT member from Cottage Hills

We went there in Dec. stayed at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, no one tried to offer us a time share. If they would have I'd have just said no thanks.


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answered on 5/23/13 by
a VT member from Indiana

I agree completely with staying south of Cancun. We haven't stayed in Cancun proper in a very long time, but I will say whether you stay in a condo or AI, all-inclusive, (we've done both) depends on what kind of vacation you're looking for, tmvys. Some AIs are absolutely fantastic and provide a wealth of great dining, activities, pools, drinks, beaches, etc. When hubby and I go there without the kids for a shorter trip we just want to lie around and maybe visit a sight or two (we LOVE the Secrets resorts...no wristbands, no reservations have to be made for dinner, adults only, etc). I want no part of cooking, cleaning, etc. :) No way.

Some condos can give you a much closer experience to the actual culture because you will roam. We stayed in Puerta Aventuras on our last trip with our kids and had a great time. We went to Akumal to snorkel and see the sea turtles, visited Chichen Itza, stopped off at little villages, etc. all using public transportation, called collectivos for very little money. Grocery shopping in Mexico was an adventure all its own, and I had 8 years of Spanish! Even south, though, they do still retain some feeling of tourism and commmercialism, but not like what it is in Cancun proper.

Again, it depends on what type of vacation you want. Both have their benefits, but definitely, as bahiana said, stay south if you haven't chosen a specific location to stay at. The only slight drawback that I can think of is the trip to get there and back from the airport...about 45 min, depending on how far south you go. Whatever you do, though, if you are planning on traveling this September, you better get on it.

Tammy


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answered on 7/1/14 by
a VT member

    • BUYER BEWARE**

OUTLET CANCUN TRAVEL

We went to book a trip with Outlet Cancun Travel after they offered us a special to come to Secret Capri. After booking with them and putting it on my American Express card the story changed. Then now told us they couldn’t guarantee our stay at secrets capri but it could be at another report. They offered us several hundred dollars in vouchers as an incentive to book. Now they said they couldn’t offer it even tho it was in our paperwork. They told us that we had to sit on a presentation at the secrets resort but now it was at a different resort and went from a couple hours to a 1/2 day. Upon complaining to Ultimate Vacation Club they then called us to say they were going to cancel the trip. But now 60 days later they are refusing to refund our money even tho we didn’t go on the trip. There are many other lies that they told us and they keep giving us the run around. I have reported them to American Express as well.

DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE GUYS!!! IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS!!!!


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answered on 7/1/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Yes, I'm afraid many people have been caught by timeshare scams. They have been going for years and years and years.........


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answered on 7/1/14 by
a VT member

Yes, I just wanted other to know their name and info [original link] so others don't fall into that same scam we did.


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answered on 7/6/14 by
a VT member

Thanks for the info :)


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answered on 7/6/14 by
a VT member from Minneapolis

I should follow up on this one:
Since my first post, we have been to Cancun for a nephew's wedding, and ran our way through the gauntlet of time-share touts at the airport.

Do not stop: do not talk to them.

We were also coerced - with the promise of cheap tours and whatnot - to sign up for presentations at our resort as well. We declined all of those, and the people who did bite went from having been promised a mere 90 minutes of hard-sell sell job to a full day of nonsense.

One more tip: if your resort calls your room on the first evening and tells you that you MUST report to the office the next morning to book shuttles to the airport or whatever excuse they give you, tell them no. They merely want to sell you time-share tours, local tours, etc. They called us every day on the premise of confirming shuttles we'd already booked before our trip. We told them we'd stop in to confirm arrangements on our last afternoon before departure and not before, thank you.


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answered on 3/24/15 by
a VT member

    • UPDATE** As of March 2015 Outlet Cancun Travel has agreed to refund our money. We have received response from their owners and managers. We are glad that the company has made it right.


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answered on 3/25/15 by
a VT member from New York City

Glad it worked out as far as their promise goes. Lets see if you get to see the actual money back in your hands now.

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