The vacation season will be here again in a little over a week, and many Belizeans will be making the trip to Cancun, Mexico, where they may be approached by agents of a vacation promotion company, trying to get them to buy into timeshare packages on the promise that they will receive major hotel discounts on future trips to Cancun after paying an initial fee.
However, some of the persons who have been approached by agents for such deals while they were staying at hotels in Cancun have indicated to us that rather than gaining discounts, they have lost thousands of dollars in the process.
“It was a horror story for me,” said one San Pedro resident we spoke with today.
He told us that he and his wife lost $1,400, after they opted out of a deal proposed to them while they were staying at a Cancun hotel two years ago, in August.
The couple were vacationing with their child, and the father told us that rather than spending their time enjoying their days in Cancun, they sacrificed some of that valuable time in trying to negotiate a package for future vacations—which they eventually abandoned after seeing terms and conditions which would have locked them into an agreement which seemed to them like a preapproved loan. He said that the hotels were probably selling the schemes to get money to recover millions that had been lost due to hurricane damages.
The vacationer told us that he got “absolutely nothing” for the $1,400 which he had paid upfront – and in cash.
He said that the sellers insisted on him using a credit card, but he did not have one at the time. He told us that it was suspicion over the documentation they were being asked to sign that caused him to back off.
In a second instance, a resident of Belize City who went to vacation in Cancun last August was also approached, and he told us that he paid $4,000 via his credit card, from which the seller continued to deduct monthly payments. He said that he had to cancel his credit card to stop them from taking payments.
He told us that all the promises made to him verbally were not kept, and he had to pressure the seller to comply with what was in the signed agreement.
The deal offered was to span 10 years at a total cost of $6,000. This would have been good for 10 weeks of vacation in Cancun, but the vacationer would still have been required to pay a minimum fee on arrival at the hotel. He told us that when he did the math, he realized that he would have paid less under the package deal, so he thought it would have been worth it.
However, the promises on paper never panned out, the vacationer told us. He said that the company has refused to give him a refund.
The San Pedro resident who also tried the offer told us that the initial payment made was deemed non-refundable.
“When they present the package to you, they tell you a lot of nice things with very good incentives, but they don’t put all the details on your contract,” the Belize City resident said.
“All the things they told you that they didn’t put on the contract were a lie,” he said.
The vacationer said that were told that they could not stay at the selected hotels during the major holidays, and then were further told that they would have to stay a whole week to get the deal, as opposed to four days, as he said they were initially told.
Then, they were told they had to book a year in advance. The Belize City resident said that it was because of the back-and-forth over the terms of the contract that he decided to throw in the towel.
He said that he had spent $4,000 and had not gotten value for any of it.
He told us that Belizeans need to be warned against entertaining such offers, because eventually, they will suffer losses.
We spoke to two other persons who had difficulties with similar vacation package deals, but they told us that when lawyers intervened, they were able to settle amicably: in one case, the person was given the vacation requested and in the other instance, they received a refund.