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Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

Seattle
posts: 28
reviews: 3
Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

There's a fairly fresh scam that involves several "front" companies (presumably all in Mexico) working together to defraud consumers. They prey on American travelers vacationing in such places as Cabo San Lucas, telling them they can sell their timeshare for them at an impressively high amount. To gain credibility, they claim to be part of the Sabre Travel Network (which they are not) and say that this company is willing to purchase timeshares and then use the cost for tax write-off purposes.

The wrinkle is that you need to buy a membership to a phony travel club, which allegedly allows you to stay at five- and six-star properties at highly discounted rates. Membership to this club costs $2000, plus financing fees and bank fees for foreign currency conversation on credit card charges.

They claim that you will receive payment for your timeshare within 60-90 days. But that never happens. Instead, one of the front companies insists that you must pay $700 for a title search, while another front company (claiming to handle the escrow) demands that you wire $875 in closing costs to Mexico. Then -- they demand another $800+, claiming that the bank in Mexico won't allow a wire transfer in excess of X amount of money -- and that to get your money, you have to pay attorneys' fees.

Throughout all this, there are lots of demands for documentation to prove you (the consumer) are who you say you are, but everything about them is a lie.

Here are the so-called "companies" involved:

Essential Resorts (which is allegedly a vacation property procurement company) is run by a guy who calls himself Julian Rosenthal. His colleague is Cindy Watts. This company is not licensed in the state of FL.

The Miami address they list on their web site is actually a 900 sf condo property that's zoned for commercial use.

http://www.essentialresortsltd.com

Grand Weeks/Servicios Vacacionales. Servicios Vacacionales is ostensibly in San Diego, but it's run by Raul Mendez (possibly his real name), who works his fraud from a restaurant on the marina in Cabo San Lucas.

They are not licensed in the state of CA and the office address they use is in reality only a P.O. box. Their slick marketing materials make big promises, but their service is useless. They have two web sites, one of which is now shut down.

http://www.grandweeks.com

http://www.grandweeksvip.com

Financial Services International (so-called escrow company)

http://www.financialservices-int.com

They are not licensed in the state of Texas, and are not tenants in the San Antonio, Texas building listed on their web site. Instead they seem to be running their scam from a boiler room in Mexico. Key players call themselves James Hoffman, Tony Rogers, and Frank Rivers.

All of these web sites were established last fall. It's quite possible that they were doing business under different names before, and very likely that they will all create new names and web sites again.

Consumers beware.

157 replies to this topic
posts: 8
reviews: 1
1. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

I have become a victim of this scam since January 2012. I was directed by a closer at the Hyatt after touring their facilities in Cabo San Lucas. Grand Weeks took me for $5239 on my credit card and then Essential Resorts got me for another $2189 until I finally called Stop. The third company players were a couple of guys out of a housing development in Laredo, TX posing as BVI Financial. These guys were John Saints and Joseph Cole, most likely fictitious names.

I share your warning for others to stay away from these people.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
posts: 9,277
reviews: 105
2. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

Touts who ask for large amounts of money up front to sell timeshare should be avoided at all costs. Resale timeshare can be worth as low as $1. If a company says they have buyers for your timeshare at high prices let them take their AGREED commission out of the sale proceeds. No sale no money. This unfortunately is a wrought found worldwide not just in Mexico.

As ong as there are those foolish enough to pay upfront this practice will continue.

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 10
reviews: 65
3. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

What happens if you dispute the charges on your credit card to reverse them due to his being a scam?

posts: 8
reviews: 1
4. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

Grand Weeks is able to talk their way into making people believe that they are legitimate. They have an office to answer phones in San Diego, but are crafty enough to not accept certain types of mail, like from the AG or credit card companies. They currently have a website, but it is only to show other company travel deals, not the discounted condo deals people are lead to purchase in Mexico.

posts: 8
reviews: 1
5. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

Grand Weeks is able to talk their way into making people believe that they are legitimate. They have an office to answer phones in San Diego, but are crafty enough to not accept certain types of mail, like from the AG or credit card companies. They currently have a website, but it is only to show other company travel deals, not the discounted condo deals people are lead to purchase in Mexico.

Seattle
posts: 28
reviews: 3
6. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

ajzway, I hope you have contacted your credit card company to dispute all charges. I was able to recover the funds charged to my credit card; however, the $875 I sent via wire transfer and $45 bank fee are gone forever. To me, that's a lot of money.

I am reporting these companies to more than a dozen regulatory organizations. Recommend that you do the same. If you like, I will compile a list and send it to you. You can reach me via TripAdvisor (ID: webwriter).

Seattle
posts: 28
reviews: 3
7. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

ajzway, I hope you have contacted your credit card company to dispute all charges. I was able to recover the funds charged to my credit card; however, the $875 I sent via wire transfer and $45 bank fee are gone forever. To me, that's a lot of money. Lesson learned the hard way.

I am reporting these companies to more than a dozen regulatory organizations. Recommend that you do the same. If you like, I will compile a list and send it to you.

Edited: 8:45 am, May 18, 2012
posts: 8
reviews: 1
8. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

I would like to get whatever info you have compiled. I have contacted my Credit Card company to dispute the charges. What convinced your credit card company to reverse the charges?

Thank you for your info and help

Pomona, California
posts: 1
9. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

Me too, I would like to get anything you have on Essentioal and Financial I have been dealing with both these companies to sell my timeshare and I think I just got scamed now for 699 ownership verfication and Closing cost of 1578 and I want to see whats the best way to go at them???

Seattle
posts: 28
reviews: 3
10. Re: Timeshare resale scam in Mexico

To anyone who has paid these criminals via credit card: Call your credit card company to dispute the charges right now. I provided my bank with several documents to support my disputes. However, I also believe that the financial institutions are getting very familiar with these names.

Do NOT wire any money to Mexico or elsewhere. I am sick about the money I cannot recover.

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