On December 17, 2007 we signed a contract with Boutique Resort La Jolla, Mazatalan for 27,500 fractional ownership points. We had an addendum to the contract which made the purchase of the fractional ownership points, contingent upon the sale of our previously owned timeshare in Virginia Beach, VA. The merchant had to sell our VA beach timeshare in six months,or no later than June 17, 2008.
We signed a waiver for the 5-day cooling off period, which we found out later was illegal by Mexican law. The merchant required us to make an earnest money down payment of 50% of the purchase price, with a new application for a Bank of America credit card.
The merchant's bank, Santander Serfin, processed the credit card purchase. Bank of America purchased 24.9% of Grupo Santander Serfin in March, 2003. Making the merchant's bank and Bank of America partners. The merchant sent me an email on December 27, 2007 stating, "that the state law in Virginia Beach complicates things for us a little." I knew then that we were scammed. I notified Bank of America, and they said that I had to make the 1% interest payments on the credit card pending the expiration of the contract on June 17, 2008.However, on March 31, 2008 I received a letter from Bank of America, crediting my payments and the entire credit card purchase. One June 10, 2008, I received another letter from Bank of America stating that they had received a letter from the merchant, and they were re-issuing the charges. The merchant failed to sell the VA timeshare, and we canceled the contract as per our option, that was written and signed by the merchant. We submitted the contract cancelation both by US certified mail and email to Boutique Resort La Jolla on June, 17, 2008. Bank of America refused to credit my credit card, and Boutique Resort La Jolla refused to honor the contract. Boutique Resort La Jolla sent us an email on July 21,2008 admitting,"first of all, you are obviously right, in not being delivered what was promised."
So, even with a signed confession, Bank of America
continued to refused to credit my credit card for the earnest money deposit.Bank of America states that Boutique Resort La Jolla will no longer respond to their inquiries. My Bank of America credit card is a Mastercard. I visited the MasterCard wordlwide network website, and found that Bank of America has arbitration chargeback and other options at their disposal to seek a refund from their partner bank Santander Serfin. Boutique Resort La Jolla requested to be paid the remaining balance due on the fractional ownership points in the July 21, 2008 email. We had to hire an attorney to reinforce our contract cancellation with the merchant. We had to pay the Bank of America credit card charges, or risk being reported to the credit bureaus. We thought that having a written contract would protect our rights. I have submitted PROFECO complaints both directly to the PROFECO office in Mexico City, as well as through the US embassy in Mexico. I have reported Bank of America to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Better Business Bureau of Maryland and Delaware. I have written my Congressman, the Better Business Bureau of Delaware, the Attorney General Offices of Maryland and Delaware. I have been doing my research on the issue of timeshare scams in Mexico, and have found that tens of millions of America dollars are being exploited each year. I plan to exhaust every option at my disposal to obtain a refund of my earnest money down payment. So, just a reminder, to all vacationers, it's not just the timeshare salesmen to be wary of, also be wary of the banks that are in league with them. I believe that Bank of America is equally as guilty of timeshare fraud as is Boutique Resort La Jolla, Mazatlan, Mexico.
Boutique Resort La Jolla and I have reached a settlement agreement, on December 17, 2009.
I have received full reimbursement of my earnest money downpayment on January 21, 2010.
Is the last step, here you will need to have your Customs Declaration Form handy (the form you were given on the plane). Recently Mexico adopted a 'Red Light - Green Light' system for customs. If you have put 'Nothing to declare' on this form, you will be asked to push a button....... If the light is green you can exit without inspection; if the light is red you will be subject to inspection. This is a random system, and therefore there is no way to know whether you will get a green or red light. Consequently you need to be honest on your Customs Declaration and declare anything over and above what is allowed, paying all applicable duties. If you do not, and are caught by a red light, the fines may be very steep.