ED Magedson – Founder
Grupo Mayan, Great Vacation Club, Grand Mayan, Mayan PalaceMayan Palace/Mayan Riviera Mayan Riviera, Select State/Province Mexico
While on an 18-day visit to Playa del Carmen Mexico, we were approached at a store on 5th Avenue by what appeared to be a worker in the store asking where we were staying. When we told him, he asked if we would be interested in taking a tour of the nearby Mayan Palace, Mexican Riviera located between Playa and Cancun. We told him that we had no interest in time shares. He said that they only wanted us to visit the resort, which could offer a lower rate than where we were currently staying, so we would consider staying there on our next visit. For attending, he offered a tour for 2 to Chichen Itza, 2 round trip tickets on the water taxi from Playa to Cozumel, 2 Mexican blankets, a bottle of Taquila, a bottle of Kahlua, a $100 gift certificate to Diamonds International, and a free shuttle back to the airport at the end of our stay. So reconfirming that this was not a time share sales pitch tour, we booked the tour with them.
We were picked up at our hotel by a Mayan Palace shuttle van and driven to the resort. Once we arrived, Bridgette was our designated "tour guide"...a friendly woman in her late twenties who said she was previously a nurse in the states. Once we completed our complementary breakfast and a tour (we must admit that the place is beautiful!), the pitch began. It seems that the Mayan Palace (and probably other similar resorts) have taken time shares to a whole new level, called fractured ownership. So while technically the sales person in Playa didn't lie, the truth was bent almost to the breaking point. Apparently the difference between a time share and fractured ownership is that with the former, you buy certain weeks and unit sizes, and with the latter, you only buy a number of weeks and unit sizes. That is the only difference with the Mayan Palace fractured ownership scheme.
The supposed 90-minute tour turned into a total of 5 hours of our time. Bridgette was training a new "tour guide" (salesperson), so she was sharp as a tack, drawing her multi-layered boxes of unit sizes and weeks, along with the associated prices. By the time she finished, she was trying to get us to buy four two-bedroom weeks and they would give us four weeks additionally...all for a mere $149,000 US (not including annual maintenance fees). Of course, they had obtained info from us up front about how many weeks we usually vacation each year and how much we spend annually on vacations, so she was crunching numbers to show us how we were actually going to save money on our "investment" with the Grand Mayan/Mayan Palace. Trust me, there was no money to be saved. Once we refused to buy, she started re-working the numbers and the boxes, showing us how if we did not use our weeks, they would pay us annually $1700 for each unit. So they were actually going to offset our investment costs. To good to be true? You bet!
So after multiple refusals to buy, Bridgette and her trainee left the table and they were replaced by a gentleman who reviewed what we had been presented by Bridgette, and then proceeded to tell us that they only had one shot at us, and that was while we were there. Visions of past time share sales pitches came ringing loud and clear in our heads. He went on to draw yet more boxes and figures, until he had us down to $9680 for a studio for 2 weeks (and they would give us an additional 2 weeks "free"), and they would pay us $700 a year per unit per week if we gauranteed that we would not use the weeks. He explained that the sell to about 50% of those who come for the free tour, and that the Mexican regulations governing what they do allow them to rent out of give away free stays in their units only if the units have owners.
He said in those cases, their sales rate is much higher. He said that while we looked like nice people, their goal was to sell us weeks and never see our faces again so they could use our purchased units to have others stay there so they could sell to them. I only wish I worked for the goverment regulators as he detailed to us how they could circumvent the law if we would buy the units! Not wanting to be part of such a scheme (scam), we refused continually as he kept redrawing his boxes and recomputing new numbers. He was getting visibly and verbally frustrated and irritated with us. Finally he got up and told us to go to the other side of a wall separating the big sales room to a much smaller one where we were greeted by yet another person who said that she was not a salesperson, but rather someone who had an entirely different role from the marketing team.
Perhaps she had a different role, but her job was the same...to sell us weeks. We suffered through yet another round of box drawing and number crunching, this time with a price tage of $9680, multiple payments to us each year for not using the units, 10 years enrollment into their exchange partner agency, and increasing irritation at our continued refusals, which became more forceful because of our lack of desire not to be involved with their scheme to circumvent the law by using our weeks to draw more victims...excuse me, potential customers... into the resort.
Finally they gave up and sent us to another building to obtain our "gifts", which were hardly worth the 5 hours that we spend with them. Now to the gifts...the $100 gift certificate to Diamonds International that was "good as cash" could not be used with other promotions. We went to 3 different DI locations, and they mark down literally everything, so you can't use the certificate. If you asked to use it without the "promotional price" they give on everything, you end up paying more. The DI salesperson complained about the Mayan Palace and their use of the certificates to promote the tours, but admitted that DI did provide the certificates to them for that use.
The tickets, liquor, and blankets were as promised. We were told to go back to the salesperson at the store who hooked us into the tour to book the shuttle to the airport. We talked with them on Tuesday to arrange for the Thursday morning departure. Our original person had disappeared and the new person (Miguel) said they hadn't seen him in days. We went back on Wednesday evening just to make sure the shuttle was arranged for a 10am pickup. Miguel said "Don't worry my friend, it's all arranged." So we made arrangements for me to meet him there at 9:30am and the shuttle would pick up my wife and our bags and go to the airport.
I arrived at 9:15am to the store, which was closed. It opened at 9:35, but no Miguel. A person who spoke English showed up at 9:40, and said Miguel would arrive at 10am, which means that we likely would miss our plane, since I was envisioning problems once he arrived. 9:50am, another Mayan Palace salesperson showed up, saying that he would call Miguel once I explained what we were told. He walked away and out of sight. He returned about 10 minutes later saying that there was no transportation today. I told him that it had supposedly been arranged two days prior, and he offered to give me Miguel's address and a baseball bat to hit him with. After a verbal exchange with this new person, I had to leave so we could arrange alternate tranasportation so we didn't miss our flight. His parting words were for me to open the window of the plane on the way back.
So the long and short of it is, beware of any "non time share tours" with the Grand Mayan/Mayan Palace. It is not what it seems, and not worth the time. Don't get sucked in by the beauty of the resort and the initial friendliness of the "tour guides" there. They are only looking, by their own admission, to skirt the law to their advantage. You will just be a tool to enable them to do this...and you have to pay dearly for the abuse.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/09/2010 06:16 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/grupo-mayan-great-vacation-club-grand-mayan-mayan-palace/mayan-riviera-select-stateprovince-/grupo-mayan-great-vacation-club-grand-mayan-mayan-palace-stay-away-from-mayan-palace-551415. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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