Those timeshare folks on the street and in the stores and restaurants are NOT timeshare salesmen. They are officially OPCs—Off Premises Contact persons—and they earn a small commission merely for getting you to sign up for and going to a presentation. Since this commission is much smaller than an actual salesman would get, they are VERY aggressive in order to earn as many commissions as possible. The only thing they could be called “salesmen” for would be for “selling” timeshare sales presentations.
OPCs are all over the streets in the Golden Zone. The major grocery stores can have them, where they try to appear to be very helpful staff, and you will find the same thing in some restaurants where they try to appear to be a host or hostess. With these OPCs, once you realize what they are, you just have to VERY firmly tell them you are not interested in attending a sales presentation and they should leave you alone.
When you encounter the OPCs on the street, a simple "No Gracias" with a smile should be enough. You can just keep on going about your way without stopping. Many find it helpful to not even make eye contact with these folks, since they seem to consider this an invitation to give you their spiel. While they seem a little overwhelming at first, you do get used to it. Just remember that they are just doing their jobs, supporting their families.
Some folks enjoy going to the presentations for the free breakfast, coupons, bottle of tequila and many times even cash. But remember, nothing in life is free. They are out to SELL! And they are very, very good at their job.
While those that have gone to a presentation or two are prepared for the hard sell and are able to resist the temptations, many new to the "game" are not, and there have been many, many sad stories of a vacation ruined by a moment of weakness.
When they pick you up to take you to the presentation they make sure you have your ID and credit card. They want you to USE that card…and it’s so easy to do in the heat of the moment. Only one word of advice here…DON’T! At least don’t until you have thoroughly investigated their offer.
Even if you are inclined to buy, DO NOT accept ANY statement by the salesman or his “closer” as absolute fact UNLESS you receive it in writing IN THE CONTRACT. There have been many, many tales of woe from folks who were promised various different things, such as “we will sell your other timeshare for you and credit your contract.” or “this price is for the 27th and 28th weeks (that’s midsummer, folks!) but you can easily exchange those weeks for some other time.” and many, many other “off-contract” promises. They are NEVER lived up to. Even simple things such as “your annual maintenance fee will never increase over the life of the timeshare.” Many folks experience has shown that even if these promises are put in writing on letterhead paper, they are completely worthless. To be enforceable, they MUST be included IN THE CONTRACT.
Another thing that has impacted quite a few timeshare owners is that when the property is sold, and that’s more and more common in these trying economic times, the new owners will not live up to the terms of the contract. None of us here on this forum are experts on Mexican contract law, so it would be worthwhile to have a Mexican attorney’s (best would be a Notario Publico who is a special type of attorney that deals only with contract and real estate law. They are not the same as a U.S. notary public!) advice as to whether or not the contract is binding on subsequent owners of the property.
Also, remember one last thing, you really shouldn’t sign a contract that is in Spanish (which is the legal language of México) UNLESS you receive a signed contract in English ALSO. And that English contract should have a signed certification that it is a “true and correct translation” of the Spanish contract, or words to that effect.
While it’s said that you have time to change your mind…it’s not always that easy, as many have found. Mexican law DOES give you five days to change your mind, and the timeshare sales folks will often refer to this during a sales presentation, but the fact is that they will rarely acknowledge it when you return to get your money back. This means a trip to the PROFECO (the Mexican government consumer protection agency) office—with a Spanish speaker to translate for you—and a loss of valuable vacation time.
In addition, if you have a problem with or questions about a timeshare, Trip Advisor has a special forum for timeshare information right from the horse’s mouth here: All About Timeshares Forum - tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i10700-Timeshar… .
Before going to a timeshare presentation, please do a search on the location forum you are on using the keyword "timeshare". Read the good, the bad and the ugly so you know what to expect. Remember too that since the word “timeshare” has gotten a bad reputation—deservedly in most cases—the timeshare sales person will often not use this word, but instead use “fractional ownership” or some other equally misleading term. Don’t be fooled…it’s ALL timeshare regardless of the word(s) used!
One other tip: Be advised that although nearly all timeshare presentations promise you that it will only take an hour after your free breakfast, the fact is that most folks feel VERY lucky to get out of the grasp of the “closers” in anything less than TWO HOURS!
Also you should know that within the sales industry selling timeshares is considered the one that uses the absolutely hardest of hard sell tactics. These guys seem to never take “NO” for an answer.
Many people have timeshares and LOVE them! They are great for many. But get good advice before you buy. Know what your options are before going to a presentation. And, as most will tell you, buying a timeshare off the on-site timeshare sales folks is seldom your best deal.
There are so many timeshare resales on the Internet for much better prices and MUCH less hassle; you should thoroughly investigate them before spending your hard earned money. Two popular websites are http://www.redweek.com/ and www.century21mexico.com/mx/home_en/index.asp . You will find that the discounts range from 40% – 70% below the lowest offer at an on-site sales presentation.
So in closing folks, do your homework, BEFORE you go!! And have an amazing and wonderful vacation in our beloved Mazatlán!!