Many of the largest players in the timeshare industry are based in the United States. Wyndham Vacations, Marriott Vacation Club, and Westgate Resorts are just a few of the North American power players in the industry. American companies, however, are not the only players in the timeshare game.
In Mexico and Latin America more broadly, Vidanta Resorts are a popular choice. Run by Grupo Vidanta, a Nuevo Vallarta-based company that also specializes in cruises and golf courses, Vidanta Resorts are located throughout Mexico — from Puerto Vallarta, to Acapulco, to Playa Del Carmen.
The Mayan Palace in Cancun, for example, boasts beautiful beaches and even a resident Cirque du Soleil show called JOYÀ. For people who prefer the west coast of Mexico, there’s the Grand Mayan in Los Cabos. Just looking at the resort hotels, you might think they sound like a perfect vacation. Unfortunately, Mexican timeshares are no better than American timeshares.
In fact, there are even some extra issues with Vidanta that you wouldn’t necessarily have when dealing with an American timeshare company. Remember that you, as a consumer, are often giving away almost all power and control to the mega-corporations you contract with. A foreign resort is going to make the rules that favor it, not you.
Getting out of a Vidanta timeshare unit, then, can be challenging. In this article, we’ll first look at some of the reported problems that have arisen with Vidanta timeshare owners. Second, we’ll discuss the unique legal situations that arise when doing business with a foreign company like Vidanta. FInally, we’ll look at how Centerstone Group can help you with your exit strategy.
Based on its website and marketing materials, Vidanta appears very similar to its American counterparts in the timeshare industry. Like Marriott, for example, the Vidanta name appears on a great number of travel products apart from timeshares. The partnership with the popular Cirque du Soleil helps establish it as a trusted travel brand in the minds of consumers.
There are, however, some reported practices of Vidanta that can make their products more difficult to stay away from or get rid of. First, there are reports on the internet that Vidanta has representatives stationed in airports advertising timeshare presentations. Once they have your attention, they take you directly to their resort — a process referred to by some as “kidnapping.”
(Also, if you manage to make it out of one of those sales presentations without purchasing, good luck finding your way to your hotel. People report that Vidanta has then failed to give them transportation to their actual hotel once the unsuccessful presentation is over.)
The promise usually is that it’ll just be a one-hour visit to the property. Maybe you tour the rooms, see the swimming pools, and visit the restaurants. Vidanta presentations, though, have been reported to go on for as long as six hours, like this one at the Grand Bliss and Grand Luxxe resorts.
As with American timeshare companies, these long presentations are filled with high-pressure pitches to buy a piece of their “world-class” resorts. If the luxury amenities and plunge pools are in fact so amazing, you should wonder why the resorts have to work so hard to sell you on the idea of having access to them.
Unlike American timeshare companies, Vidanta operates according to Mexican law. The first place you may notice a difference in this regard is the incredibly short rescission period for your timeshare contract, which is typically five days. The rescission also generally has to be done and delivered in a very specific way.
Unless those directions are followed, it just won’t work. And that even assumes Vidanta will honor the request, which they have not always done.
Another peculiar feature of Vidanta at many of their properties is that they have “usage fees” rather than “maintenance fees,” with the representation that you only pay fees based on the amount of time you use at the resort. These fees, however, can be steep, costing $1,000 per week or more. Fees like that make one wonder what the purpose of Vidanta “ownership” is.
Another serious issue with Vidanta timeshare contracts is the fact that Grupo Vidanta is based in Mexico, not the United States. The objection is not nationalist at all. The fact is that when you contract with a Mexican company for real estate rights in Mexico, you are necessarily giving up many of the protections that you are taking for granted under American law.
For example, buying real estate in Mexico is very different than in the United States. While it is true that Americans can own real estate in most of Mexico, that rule is not true within 50 kilometers of the coastline and 100 kilometers from international borders. Guess where Vidanta’s beach resorts are located?
In this case, then, you would not be getting a deeded real estate interest the same way you would in Florida or California. Instead, you’re getting a “right to use” the land at the resort. Typically, that right to use will last a finite amount of time, like 100 years. While you can still probably buy and sell that right in theory, it will necessarily become less valuable over time.
But now, imagine what might happen if you have a legal dispute with Grupo Vidanta. Were you envisioning suing them in an American court? Maybe you should think again.
Because Vidanta is a Mexican company doing business in Mexico, it can be very difficult for an American court to get personal jurisdiction over them for a lawsuit. And even if you can get past that step, you’d probably have to convince an American judge that it wouldn’t make more sense for your lawsuit to be heard in Mexico, which is exactly what Vidanta would want.
Even assuming your lawyer could fix all that, keep in mind that your Vidanta timeshare contract probably restricts where you can take legal action. And if you were Vidanta, would you want any legal action to be brought in Mexico where you live or in the United States? Check the contract: It’s almost certainly Mexico.
Now, that is a lot of bad news to hear, particularly if you are currently a Vidanta timeshare owner. But that doesn’t mean your case is hopeless. Centerstone Group, with its collected decades of experience in the timeshare industry, wants you to be aware of the difficulties and risks upfront, but it also has ways of addressing those problems.
Centerstone Group’s dedicated professionals are here to look at your Vidanta contract and membership from all possible angles.
Yes, a legal action on your contract might be necessary. But it’s not the only way. Centerstone Group has a proprietary Mexico-specific release process for exactly these types of situations.
When we get to work on your Vidanta timeshare exit, we work with our exclusive agents in Mexico, as well as several Mexican consumer protection agencies. Without these key steps, other timeshare companies simply will not be able to deliver the results you need.
Maybe we can get the resort to agree to buy you out. Maybe we can arrange another type of transfer that relieves the burden of your timeshare. Foreign companies like Vidanta require an innovative approach when devising a timeshare exit strategy. Centerstone Group will examine your contract and the facts of your case to determine the best way forward.
Timeshare presentations promise perfect vacation experiences in some of the most beautiful places on earth. While Vidanta’s luxury resorts are indeed beautiful, the vacations are anything but perfect. And indeed, once you have cut through all the salesmanship and legalese of the contract, you may not even be clear just what it is you are supposed to own.
If you, like other Vidanta timeshare owners, are unhappy with your purchase, let us help. We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have an excellent reputation, as reflected in the reviews by our satisfied clients. Contact Centerstone Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.