A Victoria, B.C. couple talked into buying a Mexican timeshare property is now fighting to get their money back after they say the company failed to deliver on its promises.
Catharine Raig and John Garvey say they were “seduced” into buying a little piece of paradise while vacationing in the resort city of Mazatlan.
“We weren’t even thinking of buying anything but the way they talked and proposed it, it was such a good deal. We thought ‘wow, this is great,’” said Raig.
They paid $10,000 up front to get in on the ground floor of a new timeshare complex, with the promise of a $6,000 rebate. But the rebate never arrived, and they say multiple phone calls and emails were not returned.
“We didn’t have any doubts at all until we got home and read the contract and realized we had been totally scammed,” said Raig.
The couple says they were verbally guaranteed two weeks a year at the La Jolla Boutique Resort, but there was no mention of that in the written contract. The couple admits they never even read the contract before signing.
“They tell you right at the beginning if you don’t sign this deal is off. That’s what they tell you. You can’t take it home, look it over and then come back,” Raig said.
The Victoria couple feels they were pressured and deceived.
A quick Google search of the “Residents Club La Jolla” reveals they’re not the only unhappy customers, with online message boards outlining negative interactions with the timeshare representatives.
The group did not respond to interview requests from CTV News.
The Better Business Bureau says you must do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line when it comes to timeshares.
“My heart always goes out to people who have got caught up into this,” said BBB President Lynda Pasacreta.
“When there’s really high pressure sales — that’s the time where you need to really take a step back and really take the emotion out of it and don’t let anyone steer you down a path you don’t want to go.”
After learning the couple was going to the media, the timeshare company had a change of heart and offered to refund their money in 10 monthly payments starting in October.
There is a cooling off period to give consumers time to back out of deals they were pressured into signing. In Mexico, you have the right to cancel within five days. In B.C., the BC Real Estate Act gives consumers seven days to cancel timeshare deals.
There are other important things to know before you sign on to a timeshare property:
- Many timeshares typically include pricey monthly maintenance fees.
- Make sure you know how many years you are locked into, and find out if there’s an automatic renewal.
- Get all verbal promises in writing.
Click here for more great tips about buying and selling timeshares.
Watch Lynda Steele tonight for a full report, and the warning signs to watch out for before you sign up for a pricey time share property…