In 2005, I and my wife went for our vacation to Cancun, Mexico. Our first vacation in Mexico turned to be probably the most expensive one for one week stay.
We booked all inclusive week in Gran Caribe Real in Cancun.
Our introduction to a Mexican scam machine started as soon, as we left the plane. The Airport Tourist Info employee was the first exposure (but definitely not the last one on the very first vacation day in Cancun) to Mexican scam. He tried to convince us to attend next-day a meeting-presentation in one of Cancuns hotel in exchange for some freebees.
Leaving the airport was almost like entering a tank full of hungry sharks ready to bite as much of foreigners tourists wallets and eventually bank accounts as they could. Our baggage and no Spanish was the blood attracting these swindlers offering things too good to be true. Being aware of these scam methods, we showed no interest in any of the offered goodies.
Knowing the first was SCAM, I still do not know how then in the world I could become a victim of the Premier Holiday Travel rip off? I guess, I and my wife allowed ourselves to get into an excitement state boosted by getting a deal too good to be true. Anyway, if I allowed myself to think too much about the Mexican experience resulting in signing a contract with Premier Holiday, I am very close to punching myself for being so stupid.
I guess the question that is disturbing to me is: Why some of the most luxury hotel chains participate in such a rip off? To me, seems like none of these Resorts or Mexican Government have a real interest in protecting visitors to Mexico.
Let's get back to the events that we experienced prior signing the contract. This, I hope could help others to avoid becoming a victim of Premier Holiday Travel (PHT) cheat. As soon as we arrived to the Hotel, we were told that we had to attend a meeting-presentation and as such, we were assigned a day and told that it is requirement for all guests staying in Gran Caribe Real.
The meeting itself that was supposed to last no more than half an hour, turned into almost whole day bombardment/brain wash by PHT agents who used all possible intimidation factors to sell the nights in Premiers hotels chain. We wanted to leave the room but as soon as we made a move there was already somebody stopping us. It felt almost like being kidnapped.
Anyway, I really do not know why I and my wife, quite reasonable people did not leave that meeting before making a purchase of the nights for $3000 + $500 administration fee + $99 a year membership fee for 15 years. I guess, we felt guilty that these sales agents had to work soooo hard or maybe it was a thrill of bargaining.
The bottom line is that after many hours of pressure from agents representing PHT, we bought the nights offered by them. The deal seemed to be logical and reasonable and we were promised that if we could not use purchased nights by ourselves, we could sell them. This would mean getting our investment back in one year.
It was interesting that they started with 20,000 USD and at the end the price dropped to 3,000USD. This drop in the price itself should give us a wake up call to stay away from that deal (it was too good to be true) but instead, we became happy owners of nights in the Hotels around the world.
We faced the reality of our purchase three months later, back home in Canada, as we received a letter from Premier Holiday asking for additional $900 'assessment fee' for whatever reason. My wife contacted them and the only thing we could hear was that if we do not pay the fee then we would loose our right to the nights we purchased. We tried to get our nights as per contract or refund as the contract was breached by PHT, of course, unsuccessfully. No response.
With the threatening notice requesting extra $900, we knew right away that we could not get the service we paid for and that we got ripped off and lost our money. Knowing that, paying any extra $$$ (i.e. assessment fees, yearly fees) would be even more stupid on our part. At the same time we found that there are many others like us who lost their money being cheated by Premier Holiday Travel Co.
For 3 years we haven't heard anything from PHT, until yesterday (Nov 20, 2007). We received the letter from Monterey Collections (MC) in Carlsbad, California requesting a payment of $306 to cover yearly membership fees. Far away from being intimidated by that letter, I was curious what other methods PHT would be trying in order to steal more $$$ from already ripped off sufferers.
Thus I called (MC) and talked to the manager Steve Orr or rather I should say listened for a moment to his screaming monolog ordering me to pay my dues. Truly, I even doubt if the letter and the firm (MC) itself is legitimate and not another scam form pulled by PHT to get more money from people.
Anyway, Mr. Manager from MC tried to frighten me threatening ruining my good credit history etc. I basically hung up on him after listening for a moment to his blaring. I really doubt that he will or even can do anything to me or others he screamed at (actually, I am sure that they are going to do nothing because with the methods PHT used, it would be like opening Pandora's Box.
I hope my letter will be a good tip for those who are going to Mexico to have a good time enjoying every moment of their short vacation and not a (long-term financial and psychological) nightmare.