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How do Cabo Timeshares Work?
By Wendell Cayton
Local columnist
Posted July 14, 2008

Our request was simple: "Where are the raisins?" The clerk in the Mega grocery store in Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico, gave us a smile and picked up his radio. Up popped a manager, Pedro, and thus began our vacation and education in the world of Mexican timesha

Pedro helped us find raisins, all the while charming us with his smile and great English. As we checked out he invited us to have breakfast the next day at a nearby beautiful resort, and offered discounted activity tickets in exchange for sitting through a 90-minute time-share presentation.

As an OPC, or "Off Property Contact," his job was to get us to attend. For a referral, OPCs earn about $20, a good day's work in Cabo.

The next morning Pedro met us with a cab and delivered us to a gorgeous resort on the beach. Here we met our "liner," Gabriel, whose job was to show us the resort and make the initial presentation. Handsome and charming, he told us about playing professional soccer in Seattle and his friends in Cashmere.

Gabriel assured us we would get breakfast, and our "gift" of two tickets to swim with the dolphins, all for an investment of a mere 90 minutes of our time.

Four and a half hours later, after lots of charm, breakfast and incredible high pressure, we were shown the back door by Ricardo, who could have come straight from the set of "The Sopranos." He was the fifth "closer" who unsuccessfully offered us a better deal than each one before as we did battle against the classic "take over" system of sales.

Breathing a collective sigh of relief upon our escape, we were taken around to the front of the resort. Here we met Vanessa, who claimed to work for the Department of Tourism. She asked our impressions of the experience, which I supplied in my best Marine vocabulary. "Terrible," she said. "But all resorts are not like this. If you go to one I represent, they will give you a nice breakfast, I will give you $200, and after 90 minutes you can walk out their door and swim on Cabo's nicest beach."

No lie, we took her up on it!

We had just been taught a class in advanced sales technique as practiced in Mexico. Prospects are gathered by the OPCs, charmed by the liners and sold by the closers. There's not an objection to buying they can't overcome. At each no, a new closer appears with a better deal. The experience has been known to leave prospects in tears — hence the "buy or cry" motto of the more aggressive salespersons!

For enduring two days of high-pressure sales tactics, we were treated to two nice breakfasts, one lunch and $200 in cash. We got to swim with the dolphins, go zip lining and drive wave runners on the ocean. We also met a lot of very friendly, hardworking folks at the various resorts. And in the end, I learned a lot about the Mexican economy in a resort town.

In communities such as Los Cabos, time shares are important to the economy. In Cabo, the goal of the local resort association is to see that no one leaves Cabo without buying. Tourist dollars make possible the employment of many hardworking, skilled craftsmen and hospitality staff.

Despite the appearance of a freewheeling, caveat emptor business, OPCs, liners and closers are regulated and licensed. The time-share contract contains a five-day right of rescission clause buried in very small print (bring your readers), but generally honored if one follows procedures. Complaints can be filed with a national consumer protection agency, PROFECO.

The opinions expressed are those of Wendell Cayton, a Registered Investment Adviser in California and Washington, and not those of any company with whom he is associated. He may be contacted at wma@wealth-mgt.net.


Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 6:49 AM by Nick Fong

Comments

Someone in the industry said:

You think OPC's make $20? try somewhere around $100 or more.

# June 30, 2009 6:22 AM
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