Wheeling and Dealing in Cabo

March 27, 2017

Every year in which we go to Cabo San Lucas to enjoy our timeshare we attend (or endure, as it were) the “members presentation” which is an excuse to try to sell us more timeshare or membership in a PRC (Private Residence Club). Why do we attend? Because they give us a raft of discounts for spa services, resort restaurants and bars and even some excursions like parasailing or whale watching. In the 14 years we’ve attended we’ve never purchased another unit, or more weeks of timeshare. And every year I explain to them that we’d stop wasting their salespeople’s time if they’d just give us the discount card and call it a day. But they keep telling us that the salespeople are being paid anyway, and you never know, this could be the year we change our minds. Don’t think so.

So our salesman, Paul, did the upfront work and our refusal made way for him to bring out his boss, at which point I looked at Steve and said, “Wait for it. The hard sell is on the way.” Meanwhile I just visualized my massage. The boss asked why we hadn’t converted to a PRC from a timeshare, and of course he had to walk us through the benefits. And the more I said no the better the benefits got. It actually wasn’t a bad deal, but would have required a hefty sum, more work on my part annually in order to take advantage of it, and we wouldn’t be tied to the same week every year but they couldn’t guarantee we could stay in the unit we now have. “Nothing is guaranteed but death,” he told me. How Frida Kahlo of him.

We told him we’d have to think about it and we, of course, got the old “the offer is only good today” speech. I told him he’d know by end of business and we took the notes and walked out.

So we ran the cost/benefit analysis, came up with a list of questions we’d need answered, and then had to decide, even if the answers to the questions were satisfactory, whether we’d move forward. And ultimately the answer was no. For those of you who don’t know this story I’ll provide the Cliff’s notes version.

15 years ago we purchased a timeshare in a quiet, low rise, unpretentious property on a secluded beach in Cabo. It was two second-floor end units with views of Land’s End and the Pacific, with nothing between our beach and the Philippines.

The old Solmar, our units are top floor, far right

Seven years later they decided they could knock it down and build a mega resort with more rooms and higher rates, and as a majority of their timeshare owners’ 25 year leases were about to expire the timing for the resort owner was just dandy. Not so for us, in a number of ways. They decided to spring these changes on the timeshare owners at the members breakfast instead of notifying them ahead of time, so all of us arrived to a surprise that had to be negotiated. And we had just lost Steve’s sister a few weeks earlier and wanted nothing but to grieve, lick our wounds and not think about anything. It was not to be. I negotiated hard for 5 days. I told them I didn’t ask them to knock the place down, that I wanted the view we paid for and the same occupancy, and that we weren’t paying a penny more for it. We got what we wanted but supposedly someone lost their job over it. And what we have is amazing, with the same view from the end building on the second floor. So having fought so hard for this unit I cannot imagine going there and not staying in the place I worked so exhaustingly for, or looking at another view.

The new Grand Solmar, our unit is second floor, right two stone arches

Our View at Sunrise

So we went back to the sales office and told the boss, “No.” He was astonished, but he shook our hands and we walked away. But the negotiator in me really wanted to ask how much better the deal would be if we paid cash.

Just askin’.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Octavia March 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I can imagine doing quite a bit to retain that view…including a nice firm “No” every year. Good for you!


Linda Beazley March 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm

This is my second try to write a comment. Don’t know what happened.
We have been through 2 of. those high power sales presentation…one in the Poconos and one in Williamsburg. No sale at either one. I actually got very annoyed at one man who thought he was funny making a snide comment about our juried membership with The Pa State Craft Guild. It was a big NO for me right there. They sure are rehearsed and predictable. Good for you, Deb & Steve.Hold your ground and you got what you wanted.
We are in Clearwater Beach, FL now for 8 days to see some Phillies games. We fly home on Wednesday. We’ve had. Beautiful weather all of our days….low 80’s no rain.
Sending love to both of you,
Linda &John


sam March 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Great story! We have sat through a few of these meetings over the years but have never bought into one… But oh how I hated the hard sells- stress right in the middle of my vacation… Hahaha – And somehow it is not surprising to me at all that you came out on top of the negotiations with the new place which is beautiful! 🙂


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