WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman and her seven-year-old daughter watched in horror as the girl’s father was roughed up and threatened with death after being duped into looking at what was billed as a time-share while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Earlier this month, Sue, who has asked only to be identified by her first name, and her family were on the popular beachside boardwalk at the Pacific Ocean vacation destination when they were approached by a man who offered them a $300 US “gift” to attend a time-share presentation.
He said he was from a company that owned the resort where the family was staying, which they had booked through a time-share trading service, Sue said. After some convincing, the family finally said OK.
The next day, as arranged, they met a taxi and were given most of the money promised – about $230 US. The rest would come after the presentation – and the cab took them on a narrow, winding road up a hill, past gated properties to the resort.
It was only after giving their home address and credit card numbers to three different representatives that the couple learned from the salesman what the property was – and wasn’t.
“This gentlemen went on to explain that it wasn’t (a time-shares) … these are condominiums that are being sold to potential residents who want to live here or tourists who want to come for the winter,” Sue said.
When they explained they wouldn’t be able to buy anything, the salesman told her he did not want to waste anyone’s time so he would find the family a cab, said Sue.
Soon after, Sue said another employee approached the couple and suggested they return the cash “gift” for going to the presentation because that’s how staff make a living.
“You shouldn’t make agreements, lying to people and just curl up and give the money back. It’s wrong,” she said.
The employee then said he wouldn’t call a cab, so the family started walking down the hill. The man followed.
“He came in a white pickup truck, pretty much drove in front of us to keep us from walking down this hill, pretty much blocking our way, got out and was yelling profanities at us and calling us every name known to man, in front of our seven-year-old daughter,” Sue said.
Sue handed him some of the money.
“We’ve done nothing wrong but here’s ($150) back. We think that is more than fair considering we’ve been lied to, you’re scaring my daughter, you’re scaring me,” Sue recalled in her interview with QMI Agency.
He took the cash and left. Moments later, a black pickup truck pulled up and another, larger man got out.
“(He) rushed straight for my husband, grabbed his shirt, twisted it up by his neck, grabbed his throat and told that him he would die if he didn’t give the money back, and that his family was going to go to prison and that he worked for the police,” Sue said.
She stepped in and handed over the rest of the money. He took it and, fortunately, left without asking for anything else, Sue said.
The family eventually found a bus stop and with the help of a local resident, safely made their way back to their resort.
The experience hasn’t completely ruined Mexico for Sue, who says she would travel there again. Her husband, Don, isn’t so sure.
“The taste for Mexico is definitely lost. I don’t think I’ll be going back.”