A “timeshare” is a type of property that is associated with divided ownership or rights of usage. They are typically properties that people rent or acquire for the use of seasonal vacation homes, often in areas involving high tourism traffic. Mexico timeshares are such properties that are located in the Mexico region.
They are often comprised of resort condominiums, often near beaches or other popular tourist attractions in Mexico. They may be managed by U.S. companies, but many Mexico timeshares may be owned or managed by companies in Mexico.
Thus, if you are considering buying a timeshare in Mexico, you need to be wary of various types of timeshare fraud. It may help you to understand the different legal protections you can get from both the United States and Mexican legal systems. Since Mexico is generally not within United State’s jurisdiction, it may be hard to enforce your legal rights if you are the victim of Mexico timeshare scam.
The laws in Mexico that govern timeshares can be somewhat complex. For instance, Mexican property law only allows foreigners (non-Mexican citizens) to own timeshare properties within 50 kilometers of the coast, or within 100 kilometers of an international border. Also, timeshares in Mexico are restricted in that you are only given the right to use the property, not own it.
This is in contrast to the United States, which allows for an ownership interest or deed in a timeshare. The right to use allows you to use a timeshare for a certain amount of time during the year, for a certain number of years (for instance, every November through December for a period of 5 years; exact terms will vary with each case).
Even if you are formally considered a United States Citizen, U.S. property laws generally do not govern the right to cancel a Mexico timeshare purchase. However, under Mexican law, you generally do have a right to cancel a timeshare purchase within 5 business days. This right to cancel cannot be waived.
You may cancel a Mexico timeshare purchase by either cancelling the contract or by asking directly for a refund. To cancel a contract, you simply follow the timeshare company’s policies or rules.
Alternatively, the developer of the timeshare property may issue you a refund. If the developer refuses, then you may pursue a claim with Mexico’s “Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor” (Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer).
If you are delinquent on your timeshare property payments, you will generally not face foreclosure on the property. This is because Mexico is only granting you a right to use the timeshare, not own it. However, the timeshare resort can still report your delinquent payments to credit agencies.
They may then decide to turn your case to a collections agency, in which case you will need to deal directly with the outstanding payments.
As mentioned, one of the issues to be aware of when dealing with a Mexico timeshare property is the potential for a scam or timeshare fraud scheme to arise. Since these are dealing with properties of an international or cross-country nature, specific fraud issues can arise.
Some common examples of timeshare fraud may include:
- Misrepresentations Regarding the Nature of the Property: These can include falsifying info about the property’s dimensions, availability for rent, location, history, and other important factor for consumers to consider. For instance, if a Mexico timeshare is listed as a beachfront property, when in fact it is not, it may be considered a type of fraud;
- Falsifying Documents: Timeshare fraud can involve the use of falsified documents. For instance, this can include timeshare contracts that are ambiguous, vague, or hard to read. It can also involve documents that have been forged, illegally copied, or printed or used without authorization from a proper Mexico real estate company;
- Agent Misrepresentation: Mexico timeshare fraud schemes can also involve misrepresentations regarding an agent’s background, certification, education, or other credentials.
Thus, timeshare fraud can be accomplished through a number of different ways and schemes. In order to prevent timeshare fraud from occurring, be sure to double check that the property company and any agent that you are working with are properly licensed, certified, and are dependable and reliable.
If you are unsure of any documents or credentials, you may wish to have your timeshare contract reviewed by an attorney before you sign it. This can help ensure that there are no aspects of fraud involved in the transaction.
If you think you are facing a timeshare legal issue, scam or if you have defaulted on your payments, you may need to contact a real estate lawyer. A property lawyer near you can help address your problems to avoid any negative impacts on credit scores, and to obtain what is rightfully yours under law.