I am yet another victim of the timeshare scam perpetrated by Mayan Group/Grupo Mayan and The Grand Mayan Vacation Club at their Grand Mayan and Mayan Palace resorts. From my perspective, the timeshare sales program at these resorts is nothing more than a criminal enterprise designed to separate foreign tourists from their money. There is nothing these people won't do in order to make the sale. Then, they are trained to give you the run-around and offer you crumbs when you approach them about their unethical sales practices. And, unfortunately, there is little recourse against these unscrupulous people, since U.S. law is of no help, the credit card companies side with the fee-generating business, and the Mexican consumer protection agency has no teeth to impose a resolution.
My story is a familiar one. In December, 2008, I was traveling with my extended family in Mexico and agreed to attend the sales presentation at the Grand Mayan resort in Cabo San Lucas. At the conclusion of the presentation, I stated to the Grupo Mayan sales representative, Alex Lehan that I was not interested in purchasing a Grupo Mayan timeshare because they were for properties located only in Mexico and because they were expressly unavailable during school vacation periods. I mentioned that the only interest I had was to travel together with my extended family, during school vacations, to high-end properties around the world, not just in Mexico.
At that point, Brent Underdahl, another representative of Mayan Resorts/Grupo Mayan, joined us. I again repeated the reasons why I had no interest in purchasing a Mayan Group timeshare. Mr. Underdahl explained that even though the Mayan timeshares being offered were not available during school vacation periods, they could be exchanged for very high-end properties located throughout the world that would be available during school vacation periods. He bragged that the Mayan Group was associated with the best exchange companies who were connected to the finest properties in the world. He asked me if I was familiar with and would be satisfied exchanging Mayan Group timeshares for properties known as the Residences that are affiliated with the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton and the St. Regis Hotel chains. I am familiar with and am satisfied with the quality of the Residences affiliated with the Four Seasons and Ritz Hotel chains, having been solicited to purchase them in the past.
Mr. Underdahl repeatedly assured me that the Mayan timeshares that were unavailable during school vacation periods could be readily exchanged for Four Seasons, Ritz or St. Regis Residences, on a one-to-one basis (a two bedroom Mayan suite for a two bedroom suite at Four Season, Ritz or St. Regis Residences), at any time throughout the year, including during school vacation periods. He also told me that each Mayan Group timeshare could also be sold each year for a guaranteed $2500.
Unfortunately, it was not possible for me to check the truthfulness of Mr. Underdahl's statements while I was in Mexico because information about the exchange programs, I was told, would not be available until after I registered as a Mayan timeshare owner. Mr. Underdahl stated that we would have to wait to exchange our Grupo Mayan timeshares for a Four Seasons or Ritz Residence timeshare for the Christmas 2009 school vacation period until we were enrolled in the HSI and Registry Collection exchange programs, which could take up to 45 days.
When I returned to the United States and received some of the exchange program materials, I attempted to exchange the Grupo Mayan timeshares for timeshares known as Four Seasons or Ritz Residences. It was then that we discovered that no such exchange opportunity existed and that Mr. Underdahl had lied to us.
These statements of Mr. Underdahl, which led to my decision to purchase, were not true. There is, in fact, neither an ability to exchange the Mayan Group timeshares for accommodations at the Four Seasons, Ritz or St. Regis Residences, on a one-to-one basis throughout the year, including during school vacation periods, nor is there any guarantee that the Mayan Group timeshares can be sold each year for a guaranteed $2500. Mr. Underdahl deliberately lied to me to induce me to purchase Mayan timeshares, knowing that I had no interest in making the purchase unless I could rely on the truth of his representations.
I have tried to engage the Grupo Mayan company in a dialogue about my experience and unhappiness. They have made a few half-hearted offers that only compound my unhappiness with their business practices. Grupo Mayan obviously believes that making the sale is more important than resolving bona fide disputes with customers. They have no interest in amicable resolution of disputes. It is sad that I am forced to engage in an information campaign to share my horrible experience with others in an effort to discourage others from falling victim to this scam. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THESE PEOPLE. They cannot be trusted.