This past September, my wife and I went to Cabo San Lucas. I would have to say that the trip was mostly amazing. The biggest complaint I have about the trip was our experience with how they try to sell you timeshares. Although we went to Cabo, the following pretty much applies to any tourist spots in Mexico (I’ve been to Cancun and it was a similar experience. In fact, this can apply to any city/country where timeshares are common.
At some point in your Cabo trip, you will eventually be approached to attend a timeshare presentation. I advise that before you go, try to decide whether or not you are open to (and have the means) to buy a timeshare.
If you want to buy (or are open to buying) a timeshare in Cabo, that’s great. I hear it is one of the nicer places to do so. When you go down there, don’t let them know that you are open to buying. If they think you are undecided, they will throw extra gifts or other incentives at you to try to close the deal. You can certainly get full spa treatment, free night(s) stay at the resort you would be buying from
you get the idea. They are very generous and aggressive with these incentives, so take advantage! Obviously, if they know you are already sold, they will just save the free stuff for the next guy.
Now if you already know that you will not be getting a timeshare, you still need to prepare a little, so as to minimize the headache and inconvenience the timeshare people can bring.
I read from several places online that even some airport taxi drivers will try to take you to a timeshare presentation. I didn’t want to deal with that, so I made travel arrangements with my resort. They told me to look out for the company called “Cape Travel”. When we arrived at the Cabo airport, right after the baggage claim, we were greeted with a guy, “You’re expecting a care service, right? We’re work with the car service company.” At first I was guarded, but he asked to see my printed travel voucher. He looked legit, he even reviewed our voucher and highlighted the reservation number.
He told me that the driver will be there in 10 minutes. In the meantime he was going over the tourist stuff to do while at Cabos. Then he started to talk about a new resort. He wasn’t with Cape Travel, he was just a timeshare salesperson! He wanted us to attend their presentation and offered some free stuff (cruise/tour discounts, Mexican blanket, breakfast) just for attending. They just asked for a $100 deposit to guarantee that we will return for the presentation. I was so mad, but I tried to politely tell them no. I said, “We just got in, we want to relax for now and we’ll decide later”, but they still tried to get us to commit to the presentation. They were so aggressive the whole time (although it was more subtle in the beginning). By the way, they will give you so many excuses as to why you have to decide now, “deal is only good now”. It’s all BS, don’t fall for it. In the end, it took us about 20-30 minutes to get away from them. All because I didn’t want to be rude. Worst part was, our car was there the whole time, I felt so bad.
If you encounter the people at the SJD/Cabo airport (and you probably will because they have a booth), if you don't want to go to their presentation, tell them you will wait for your driver outside (your driver is probably already there). Maybe even tell them they left a message on your cell that they are there waiting.
Although they have no intention of buying, many people attend these presentations anyway to get the free stuff. The timeshare people say it is only 90 minutes of your time, right? Well, the presentation is 90 minutes. But there is more to consider:
1) 90 min - sales presentation
2) 30 min - tour (if not included in their presentation)
3) 40-60 min - transportation (round trip)
4) 20-30 min - free breakfast
5) 20-60 min - sales person will try to convince you to buy
You’re actually looking at giving up your entire morning. If you are OK with this and have no problem dealing with the super-aggressive salespeople, then go get your free stuff! It’s just that I heard a lot of complaints about it taking much longer than 90 minutes and screwing up people’s schedules. Plus I heard that the free breakfasts were bad.
Here are some suggestions on how to get the sales people off your back:
- Many places like their customers to be in their late 20’s or older. Tell them you are too young to buy (if you can pass for early 20’s).
- Tell them you are attending graduate school and need to pay off student loans.
- Tell them you just got married or are saving for your wedding.
- If you are with your spouse, it’s common that both must attend to get the free stuff. Try to tell them you are just friends or siblings. This way, only one person needs to attend, and at least the other can enjoy his/her morning (just a suggestion).
- Don't be afraid to be rude. Being nice will just take much longer. I found that was a waste of time. They simply spend the time trying to change your mind. They don't care about you, they just want their commission. I commonly hear that the salespeople are so friendly, but when you decline to buy, they turn nasty and don't care about you.
Whether you are buying or not, here is a great way to get the most stuff from the presentation. Just tell the guy you will think about it. This works great if the timeshare in question is with the resort you are staying at, you can easily track down the guy who is offering you the free stuff. Actually, they’ll most likely call you back to see if you decided. If see that you cannot decide, they will offer more. Remember, they get commission just for getting you to the presentation.
Good luck. I hope this info helps. Enjoy your vacation.