Reviews of the timeshare industry by the owners...
At the Cancun airport near the baggage claim area, stand people dressed in uniforms who falsely misrepresent themselves as government officials. One of those people offered his assistance in providing traveling tips for Cancun. This person told us that they worked for local Mexican-owned resorts in Cancun to promote their businesses to American travelers. We were offered a no-obligation tour with a resort called Fishermen’s Village, which operates under a business entity called the Sunset Group. They asked us to take a van ride to the hotel, eat breakfast, and take a look at their facility. In return, we were offered a free day-trip ticket to Chichen Itza, or other destination. We paid a $40 USD as refundable deposit to ensure we would show up.
The tour assistant insisted we bring at least one major credit card, as those major credit companies are the "sponsors" of their promotion. We subsequently discovered that those companies are not related to the Sunset Group’s promotion.
At the agreed time the next day, a van driver came to our hotel and took us to the Fishermen’s Village Resort. We were greeted by a hostess who asked us to show her our major credit cards. We were then introduced to a salesperson, Maureen Kimmel. Subsequently, Maureen told us this is a timeshare presentation, which we were not aware of until then. She asked if we own any timeshare properties and we said no. Maureen called her manager and said he would "authorize" Maureen to proceed with the tour even though we don’t own timeshare property. We wouldn’t have wanted to get involved if we knew that this was a timeshare presentation before this time.
Maureen showed us rooms on the top floor with an ocean view. Obviously, being on the top floor and having an ocean view, the units were the best ones. Then, Maureen brought us to the sales office. The timeshare she offered us was very expensive, and we said no immediately. Then she called in her manager, Neil Cooper, and they brought out another offer called an “investment package.”
They showed us how we could make a profit if we rented the property through their agent, Resorts International Marketing Corporation, with a one time processing fee of $549. We were promised that our timeshare would be rented out at $1,700 per week and would pay for itself within five years. Neil said it was a 'no lose investment.' They also insisted that buying a membership in the Admiral Yacht Club would significantly increase our ability to rent our timeshare. We were not told that none of the amenities of the Admiral Yacht Club were in Playa del Carmen - they are all an hour away in Cancun.
When we refused the timeshare, Neil offered to remove three VIP weeks from the first four years of the contract to lower the price. He also continued to promise rental income so we could afford to take our four children on vacation. After being placed under such duress, we finally agreed to sign the contract.
When we agreed to sign the contract, Maureen and Neil opened a bottle of champagne and offered us glasses of it. Thus, we were under the influence of alcohol at the time we reviewed the contracts and signed them. When we reviewed the contracts, they sped through the paperwork saying “you don’t have to even read this now.” We were never notified of our five-day right to cancel the contracts.
Upon returning home, we reviewed the contracts carefully and realized that many promised items were missing, including the promised rental income. At the time we signed the contracts, Maureen and Neil promised us that the timeshare would increase in value and could easily be rented or sold. After doing Internet research, we discovered that Sunset Group timeshares cannot be sold at any price. Nor can they be rented, even when offered at the standard maintenance fee. (See eBay.com and Google.com). They also told us we were investing in fixed price travel. However, the Sunset Group can and does raise its maintenance fee 6% or more each year.
In June 2006, we sent Sunset Group a letter terminating the contracts. Now, they have sent our account to a collection agency, Resort Management International (RMI). RMI has called my parents and us repeatedly, yelling at us and threatening us if we do not pay for the rest of the contract. They have also sent us three notification letters trying to collect.
Submitted by: Rich And Erin Otterstrom