There are two basic classes of refunds, the simple "5 day" rescinding of your contract, and all others. Following is a breakdown of these two types.
The Simple 5 day Cancellation
The 5 Day Cancellation is your legal right and most people are successful if they follow instructions and do not give up. You have the law on your side for this and you will just need to keep demanding your rights under Mexican law.
To protect your right to cancel within 5 business days of signing your contract you must send notification of your intent to cancel and exercise your rights under ARTICLE 56 OF Ley Federal de Protección al Consumidor. If you are outside of the 5 day period, go to the next section.
You need to send your cancellation by a means that you can easily prove that you complied with Article 56. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Since you have reached this page via the internet, we recommend that you send your cancellation notice by email. You can make up your own letter, or you use a copy of our standard cancellation letter that is found on our RESOURCES Webpage. I recommend copying and editing our standard letter since it is easier on you, and the resort will recognize the basic format and know that you are being help and you are not going to be easily ignored.
A critical point you need to make in your cancellation letter is that you are canceling in full compliance with Mexican law and therefore any charges against your credit card account are illegal and therefore fraudulent charges. In accordance with US (and possibly Canadian) law you are only responsible for the first $50 of any fraudulent charge and if your credit card company tries to bill you for anything more, you will sue your credit card company in a US court. This approach moves the game onto your side. The timeshare can not do anything against you in a US court, and they also have no standing in a lawsuit you file against your credit card company. Of course the timeshare company can show up at the trial (which should be done in small claims court), but do you really think they want to be questioned by a US judge about their sales practices? By suing your credit card company you take all the power away from the timeshare company. Your credit card company is only getting 2-4% of the charged amount. Are they really going to expend resources to send someone to court for only 4% of $5,000 which is $200? The answer is NO. They will let you have a default judgment which then means that your credit card comapny must reverse the charges and if you demand, you would have been awarded court costs so your credit card company would also have to pay you those costs. Of course your credit card company is going to pass all these costs back to the timeshare company so the timeshare company will have to refund your entire deposit to your credit card company and then they will also have to pay your credit card company the court costs. Of course the timeshare could refuse to reimburse your credit card company for the court costs and your credit card company can respond by dropping the timeshare as a merchant. The timeshare company can not operate without your credit card company so they have to pay the court costs if they want to remain in business. What all this ends up with is that, the smart business move for the timeshare company is to give you a full refund if you take the approach that you legally canceled your contract and that all charges are fraudulent, and that you are going to sue your credit card company for processing a fraudulent charge.
Whatever cancellation letter you choose, you should email your cancellation to all email addresses that are listed anywhere on your contract. You can also go to the resort's webpage and find additional email addresses there. You should also AT A MINIMUM copy yourself, and PROFECO (the Mexican Federal Consumer Protection Agency at: firstname.lastname@example.org ) on your email. I strongly recommend that you also include US and Mexican Government agencies, and any travel agent or travel advisory groups as you can find on your cancellation email. You can find additional email addresses on the Resources Webpage under Email Listing. The more public you make this cancellation, the better. You do not want the resort to ignore you and you want ABSOLUTE PROOF that you cancelled within 5 days. Yes, this can be an overkill, but do you want your money back or not? If you feel guilty for being "heavy handed", AFTER you get your money back you can apologize for being an ass.
Important Note: Make sure the email address for the resort is the resort's email address and NOT the personal address of your salesman. Some salespeople are starting to "trick" victims by giving them a personal email address for any contacts. You must cancel with the resort.
If your email system allows, you should request delivery confirmation and a return receipt. In MS Outlook these features can be found by clicking the "OPTIONS" button. If you are in Mexico and do not have email access, go find an internet cafe, go to www.yahoo.com and get a free email account, and then send your cancellation email. If you decide to cancel in person, you ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE A PROVABLE RECORD of the cancellation. This means a duplicate copy of your cancellation letter signed by a resort official. (see the Home page under "New Timeshare Scam" about how people are being scammed a second time). Even with dozens of witnesses, the only way you are going to make the cancellation stick is with a provable record of the cancellation and the best is by email with copies to yourself and to PROFECO.
Advanced Refunds - All other Cancellations
To fight back outside of the 5 day cooling off period you need to understand some basic facts of life. You are outside of the 5 day cancellation period and you have very limited rights. You need to understand that much of the Mexican Government is corrupt, and while you think that you still have rights under specific articles of Ley Federal de Protección al Consumidor, listed on our Your Rights page; you really do not. If you have concrete evidence that the timeshare company violated your rights under an article, such as Article 32, your can try to file a formal complaint with PROFECO, the Mexican Consumer Protection Agency, but PROFECO has limited authority and the honest workers that use to be at PROFECO do not seem to be them any more. Your complaint must include documentation showing that the resort violated specific articles of Ley Federal de Protección al Consumidor. In some cases of these timeshare and vacation packages, this is can be done by comparing what you received versus what is clearly spelled out in the contract you signed, but in most cases the resorts are very careful not to give you any real evidence of any wrongdoing. Do not even bother with a complaint based upon "what the salesperson told you". Any formal complaint will need to be well written and documented. You can see samples of successful complaints and a generic formal complaint through our Resources page.
It will be difficult to argue a claim that "the salesperson said this" because you have no proof and they will deny it. Even if you have what you think is good evidence, you are going to encounter corrupt Mexican Government officials who will totally ignore out-right fraud on the part of the Mexican Timeshare company. At one time there were some honest employees in PROFECO who were trying to make a difference, but as you can guess, these people were eventually replaced by corrupt individuals who were more willing to work on behalf of the timeshare companies.
For the most part,
When all else fails, there are two approaches left to you. You can try to negotiate a reduction in your contract, or your can go to war against the timeshare company. You need to remember that all of these timeshare and vacation package companies are businesses. In the end they will do what is best for their business. They are trying to make a profit and in the end you need to make it more profitable for them to refund your money. If you can threaten their business and their image by telling enough people, they will refund your money to shut you up, because they always have a dozen more tourists/suckers on the next flight down to Mexico.
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