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Timeshare Tactics Exposed: Puerto Vallarta Sales Pitch Gone Wrong

Vacations are meant to be a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, offering a chance to relax and recharge. However, for Pete and Susie High of Auburn, California, their vacation to Puerto Vallarta turned into an unexpected ordeal that would serve as a cautionary tale to others. Approached with an offer to attend a timeshare presentation at Puerto Bahia Villas and Spa in exchange for $450, the couple anticipated a brief, 90-minute commitment. Instead, they found themselves trapped in an eight-hour saga that epitomized a timeshare nightmare.

The Presentation That Turned Into a Nightmare

When Pete and Susie High accepted the offer to attend a timeshare presentation at Puerto Bahia Villas and Spa, they pictured it to be a quick pitstop from their vacation plans in exchange for a $450 reward. However, what transpired was far from the 90-minute commitment promised to them. An eight-hour marathon awaited them, testing the limits of their patience and resolve and transforming a minor inconvenience into a full-blown ordeal.

➤ The Onslaught of Sales Tactics

From the beginning, it became evident that the sales team was not merely interested in presenting their timeshare option but was determined to secure a sale by any means necessary. The Highs faced a barrage of persuasive techniques designed to break down their resistance. These tactics ranged from emotional appeals highlighting the once-in-a-lifetime nature of the opportunity, to aggressive comparisons underscoring the financial foolishness of passing up such an offer. The salespeople exhibited a profound understanding of psychological manipulation, switching tactics fluidly when they sensed resistance, and doubling down when they perceived vulnerability.

➤ The Persistence of Pressure

Despite the Highs’ steadfast refusals and attempts to conclude the presentation, the sales team escalated their efforts. The sales team passed the couple from one representative to another, each introducing a new angle or a supposedly better offer in an attempt to wear them down. This relentless cycle created an environment of psychological exhaustion, making it increasingly difficult for Pete and Susie to maintain their decision to decline the offer.

➤ The Unsolicited Introduction of Alcohol

The turning point of this ordeal arrived at the six hour mark of the presentation. The unsolicited serving of alcohol—a glass of red wine for Susie and an already opened can of beer for Pete—marked a toxic turn in the sales strategy. This move was calculated; the introduction of alcohol under such circumstances was not a gesture of hospitality but a deliberate attempt to impair judgment. The timing was no accident; it came at a moment when the couple’s energy and resolve were at their lowest, making them more susceptible to influence.

➤ The Psychological Impact

The effect of the alcohol, coupled with hours of sustained pressure, had a noticeable impact on the Highs. Susie began to feel sick, a physical manifestation of the stress and alcohol, while Pete described feeling like he was in a trance. This state of compromised judgment and increased susceptibility led to the couple initialing pages of a contract for a new timeshare, an action they would have opposed under normal circumstances.

Looking back, the eight-hour presentation at Puerto Bahia Villas and Spa was more than just a sales pitch gone gone; it was a calculated exercise in endurance and manipulation. The sales team’s relentless pressure, combined with the strategic use of alcohol, created a coercive environment designed to strip away the couple’s ability to make clear, informed decisions. This nightmare experience serves as a stark reminder of the extreme lengths to which some timeshare companies will go to secure a sale, highlighting the importance of vigilance and resistance in the face of such aggressive sales tactics.

The Aftermath and Battle for Resolution

The ordeal that Pete and Susie High endured during the timeshare presentation was only the beginning of a prolonged struggle that followed them home, casting a shadow over what should have been a fond vacation memory. The aftermath of their decision, made under duress and influenced by alcohol, unveiled the complexities and challenges inherent in rescinding a timeshare agreement.

➤ The Immediate Regrets and Attempts to Cancel

Upon realizing the gravity of their situation, the Highs immediately acted to reverse their decision. They encountered a complex web of procedures and resistance, seemingly designed to thwart their efforts, at every turn. Their regret deepened as they realized that they had unwittingly entangled themselves in an unwanted and potentially burdensome contract for years to come.

➤ Seeking Help from Consumer Protection

In their quest for resolution, the Highs turned to Profeco, Mexico’s consumer protection agency, which presented a glimmer of hope. Profeco‘s involvement was crucial, as they offered guidance on the legal avenues available for timeshare contract cancellation within Mexico. However, the path to actual cancellation proved to be fraught with obstacles, highlighting the disparity between the promise of consumer protection and the reality of its enforcement against well-practiced corporate strategies designed to retain timeshare owners.

➤ The Onslaught of Collection Efforts

Parallel to their legal battles, the Highs faced an aggressive campaign aimed at enforcing the contract. Collection calls began to inundate their daily lives, each call a reminder of the predicament they found themselves in. These were not mere reminders but threats of legal action, designed to intimidate and coerce payment. The psychological toll of this constant pressure was significant, adding a layer of stress and anxiety to their post-vacation reality.

➤ The Role of Investigative Journalism

It was at this juncture that the investigative efforts of Kurtis Ming and KCAL9 became a pivotal turning point for the Highs. Ming’s investigation into Puerto Bahia and the broader practices of timeshare presentations in Mexico shone a public spotlight on the Highs’ plight. This external pressure was instrumental in compelling Puerto Bahia to re-evaluate the situation. Ming’s persistence and the subsequent media attention provided the leverage needed to prompt action from a company that had previously seemed indifferent to the Highs’ appeals.

The intervention by KCAL9 led to a breakthrough, with Puerto Bahia finally acknowledging the cancellation of the timeshare contract. This acknowledgment was more than just a procedural victory; it represented a significant emotional and psychological relief for Pete and Susie. The cessation of collection calls and legal threats allowed them to finally close a chapter that had been fraught with stress, regret, and a feeling of helplessness.

Conclusion

Pete and Susie High’s experience serves as a warning to vacationers enticed by the prospect of timeshare presentations. Their story underscores the importance of caution and due diligence when faced with such offers. It also highlights the role of consumer protection agencies and investigative journalism in advocating for those wronged by predatory sales practices. As the Highs’ ordeal demonstrates, the allure of a quick reward can quickly turn into a nightmare, emphasizing the timeless warning to approach such deals with skepticism and informed caution.


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