Last updated August 17th, 2022
Sandos is a network of resorts and hotels located across Mexico and Spain. They are owned by RCI, the biggest timeshare company in the world, and have properties in several locations including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Los Cabos. The Royal Elite Vacation Club is their official timeshare program. Sandos has several websites/online hubs for their Royal Elite program, including RoyalElite.com, RoyalEliteWeeksRental.com, and Sandos.com/Royal-Elite. You can visit any one of these pages to learn more about the program.
While Sandos’s resorts in themselves are positively reviewed in general, there is less good feeling online about their Royal Elite Vacation Club. Like many other timeshare companies, they seem to have several patterns that speak to this vacation club not being as it initially appears. We found that several people wanted to cancel Royal Elite Sandos Resorts timeshare for the following reasons:
- Use of high-pressure sales tactics in the buying phase
- Unfulfilled claims and false promises
- Little to no customer service in attempts to resolve problems or acquire refunds
- Constantly booked properties
- Overall bait-and-switch practices and fraudulent-seeming behavior
When we looked more deeply into these complaints, we found several negative reviews of the Royal Elite Vacation Club program. These were not with the BBB, as Sandos Resorts has an inactive page and Royal Elite doesn’t have a page with them at all, but we were able to find a few TripAdvisor reviews that spoke to the sales practices behind the timeshare program at a few different Sandos properties.
From one, entitled “Beware of Royal Elite sales persons”:
- “While the resort is great and the staff(not Royal Elite sales) was friendly, I would never step foot on any Sandos property due to the Royal Elite vacation club game. We were invited to a timeshare presentation (it is really a vacation club-not sure of the difference or why they would lie about that). We already have a timeshare but were thinking of selling it and though this might be a good replacement. We knew the sales person was most likely misrepresenting information. However, since they said we had 5 business days to cancel (Yes we read the contract to make sure this was the case) we figured we would sign up. Well, that is what the scam is. … We canceled within 5 business days. They acknowledge that we canceled within 5 business days. It has been a few weeks and still no refund. No written confirmation that our contract was canceled.”
Similarly, the Royal Elite Vacation Club Complaint Board and ComplaintsBoard pages do not have aggregate ratings, but there are several noteworthy reviews and complaints that we thought were worth investigating:
From Complaint Board:
- ““Salesperson claims that the all-inclusive fee is per couple, but in reality it is per person per night. Clients can often book the vacation cheaper online without using their timeshare, than with booking their timeshare and paying the maintenance fees and all-inclusive fees. … claims that they can trade their weeks to RCI points, and use the points to pay for 100% of an airline ticket, when in reality RCI only allows for clients to use points for 33% of the cost of the ticket.”
- “We have had our membership for 4 years and have had nothing but difficulty in making reservations. The staff seem to work hard at being as obstructive as possible. We wish to accelerate the use of our weeks but the resort refuses to confirm our access to the Royal Elite section and services. In addition at our last holiday the resort was crowded and noisy. Staff did nothing to curtail the noisy, screaming, rude guests. We would never recommend this again.”
- “They are absolute scammers! Be aware!!! Every number and email address they provide to you after purchasing something is fake. There is NO way to get into contact with these cowards after they completely RIP you off. Disgraceful company.”
- “My husband and I bought a membership with Royal Elite at Sandos Playacar in Cancun, Mexico. We were promised all sorts of services and amenities. Nothing about the membership that was represented to us has been true. We were scammed out of thousands of dollars and have nothing to show for it but heartache. When you contract with Royal Elite you also are enrolled with RCI and Holiday Systems International (HSI), which assists with cash exchanges for your Royal Elite weeks you don’t use and other travel services, such as 50% discount hotels, airfare, etc. None of it is true…HSI advertisements are also false.”
Finally, we found a well-written post on a blog called CreativIndie, “BEWARE: The Sandos Mexican Timeshare Scam” that went in-depth as to the entire Royal Elite experience, the kinds of problems that typically arise, and why they are such significant problems.
Its conclusion was:
- “The main aim of this post is to warn others away from signing with Sandos Royal Elite or Priority Exchange Timeshare. They use proven sales tactics, and somehow everything sounds pretty good, but their claims were never realized. … a blatant discrepancy like this would be given a clean refund; the inability to refund is a giveaway that something is very fishy.”
Overall, these reviews are highly indicative of fraudulent business practices within the Royal Elite Vacation Club. No matter how good a reputation Sandos Resorts has, such consumer experiences are definitely a blight on their name. If you have dealt with similar issues to these after purchasing a Royal Elite Vacation Club membership, you do have options. It is possible to get rid of Royal Elite Sandos Resorts timeshare.
Royal Elite Sandos Resorts Official Exit Programs
When looking into whether Royal Elite Vacation Club had an official timeshare exit program, we found a page connected to their guest portal with tips on avoiding timeshare resale scams. While all details up to this point highlight that it’s incredibly difficult to get out of Royal Elite Sandos Resorts timeshare solely through customer service, this may indicate the opposite, and that it’s possible to go a more direct route. However, we did not find any pages on their various websites for an official exit program.
As far as working through customer service goes, we did see that a customer service representative posted on ComplaintsBoard so that people seeking refunds and to exit their timeshares could get in touch more easily. Of course, the fact that the Royal Elite Vacation Club felt the need to post online like that isn’t a good sign — to us, it says that it’s far too difficult to contact customer service, which is another scam red flag.
Avoiding Timeshare Scams
Unfortunately, Royal Elite Vacation Club is not unique in its practices. Timeshare scams are increasingly common in the industry. But the good news is that they are avoidable. As with any other kind of company that you do business with, there are red flags that you can look out for in the early phases. That way you can save yourself a serious amount of time, money, and heartache getting involved any further.
Keep an eye out for the following to avoid timeshare scams:
- Promises that sound too good to be true, including incentives for making an initial purchase that don’t seem to have strings attached (because they probably do)
- Upfront fees, including high-dollar deposits or “administrative” fees that are far more than you’d expect them to be
- Pushy sales presentations, especially those that don’t encourage you to take your time in making a decision
Whenever you make a purchase, especially when it comes to vacation properties, always read the fine print, and don’t fall for any high-pressure sales tactics. Taking it slow and knowing what you want — not what someone else convinces you that you want — is the best way to avoid any kind of scam.
When you’re ready to cancel Royal Elite Sandos Resorts timeshare, we’d love to help you find a reputable timeshare exit company who can help. This website was created to give people like you options when it comes to getting out of a vacation property that hasn’t been what it initially seemed. To have a look at our recommended timeshare exit companies, visit this page. And always look for a timeshare exit company that allows you to pay using escrow, so that they don’t get paid until you are completely satisfied. You can learn more about why escrow is important here.
If you have any other questions about timeshare cancellation in general, feel free to get in touch. You can call us at 833-416-8796, submit the contact form on the right side of this page, or initiate the live chat to get started.