Scams are prevalent in the timeshare industry today and these fraudulent practices usually exist on popular vacation destinations. One of these places is Mexico which is a haven of many timeshare units. But there is an administrative branch of Mexico’s federal government whose purpose is to strengthen consumer rights. It is called Profeco (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor). They have also one department that is dedicated to assisting foreigners who have made bad purchases in Mexico or fallen victim to timeshare scam. This department is named C.A.R.E. or Departamento de Conciliación a Residentes en el Extranjero. For timeshare scam victims who have purchased timeshare contracts based on fraudulent promises, they are referred to Profeco to resolve their disputes against the timeshare developer.
If the timeshare scam victim wants to cancel within the 5-day rescission period, Profeco will give them a standard cancellation letter to sign, date and send by registered mail to the timeshare developer and to Profeco’s head office in Mexico City. The resort is supposed to refund the down payment within 15 days of receiving the cancellation letter if the letter was sent within the 5 day rescission period. However, many scam resorts do not respond to the cancellation letter and try to delay the process as much as possible.
There are some limitations to the service provided by Profeco for timeshare scam victims. First, Profeco has a statute of limitations of one year. Many timeshare purchasers do not realize that they have been scammed until they try to book a vacation or rent their weeks. It often takes timeshare owners more than a year to figure out that the promises made by timeshare companies were fraudulent, particularly if they purchased a biannual plan.
On the other hand, the main limitation with Profeco is that all of the information needs to be provided in writing and normally, none of the false promises used in the sales pitch for timeshare scams are outlined in writing. Timeshare developers have large legal teams that regularly update their contracts to protect their staff. These might include statements for clients to sign, where they agree that they have not been offered any promises verbally. Thus, such owners are caught up in a tricky situation and realized that getting out of their timeshare contracts is much difficult than ever. As most of the timeshare scams arise because of verbal lies and misrepresentations, Profeco will not be able to help clients to resolve their matters, as only written documents and contracts are considered.