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Shopping Rebate in Mexico

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While on our cruise, we had stops at ports in Mexico. On our ship we had a shopping concierge (a lady and her husband) who were employees of the cruise ship (NCL) They both did port shopping presentations before each stop. They were not our personal concierge; they did ship-wide presentations for the whole ship (on the stage in the theater).

 

At every presentation involving Mexico, they touted how great the jewelry prices were, no sales tax AND in addition, the Mexican government gave a 8.9% rebate on your purchases.

 

As we shopped in each Mexican port, we saw signs in every jewelry store advertising the government rebate through "Money back Mexico." We decided to make a significant purchase at Diamonds International (DI), where the sales people also raved about the great rebate. We waited at DI after completing our purchase so that the Money Back employees could fill out the forms for us and make copies of the documents. It was a pretty inefficient process and we wasted some of our vacation time, but we thought it would be worth the money. We got our receipt, were told to wait eight weeks, and off we went.

 

Fast forward SIX MONTHS.... no rebate. So we contacted moneyback.mx by email - twice - no reply. Next we contacted DI who has a person who handles missing rebates. (There must be a lot of missing rebates if they have to employ a person for this!)

 

After phone calls and emails back and forth, we have recently been told that one of the documents that the Money Back person scanned for us and/or on of the forms this person filled out for us is not legible and we will not be getting our rebate. Keep in mind "we" did NOT fill out the forms- they did everything for us.

 

So - be warned. The rebate promised might not ever get to you.

 

If this has happened to anyone else on the message board, please let us know how you resolved it. We are very frustrated!:mad:

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Interesting? We have cruised to Mexico multiple times and have taken land vacations there too. We have never heard of this rebate program until you mentioned it. I wonder if others have had better luck with it or if it is a complete scam??

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My only comment about DI is that don't you wonder why you only find their stores in cruise ports? Even though their owner is a New Yorker you will not find a store in that competitive city. I suspect if we ever walked in there on a day when there are no cruise ships in port, not only would we be about the only customers, but they would likely give us a nice discount not available to cruisers :). On the other hand, we cannot think of a single reason to ever enter that place. By the way, if you do get tired of DI you can try their Tequileria International (for Tequilia) or Tanzanite International, etc.

You might want to look up what the Better Business Bureau says about DI.... It is an eye opener to those who have never previously opened their eyes. Here is a link to that report which you might have to copy and paste into your browser:

https://www.bbb.org/us/ny/new-york/profile/jewelry-stores/diamonds-international-0121-7969/details#Pattern-of-Complaint

 

We assume you are aware that the entire Port Shopping Lecture/recommendations iare somewhat of a con. The lecturer works for a third party company who derives their income from the stores they recommend....with some of that money going to the cruise lines. We have been on some cruise lines when they do disclose that they get promotional fees to recommend stores....but we have been other ships where that is never mentioned.

Hank

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I have never found the deals in Mexico to be good for anything other than locally produced products. All of our family and friends that come from Mexico always spend way too much time at the mall or other stores loading up on things to take home.

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I agree that the only thing we buy in Mexico are local craft items and perhaps locally sourced jewelry like Mexican fire opals.

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We are truly disappointed in Diamonds International. They blame it on the Mexican Government and how they run the program, however Diamonds International STILL has the sales people touting the benefits of the government rebate - in an attempt to make it look like you are getting a lower price - except when the rebate money doesn't come. Do the DI sales people tell customers, "Well, we have this rebate, but you might not get it." No. And that is misinforming the customer. They even have signs in the store about the 8.9% rebate. That is misleading. The DI customer service representative told us, "I am dealing with a lot of people who have not gotten their rebate and it is the Mexican governments fault." We asked if the sales people tell the customers that a lot of people don't get the rebate due to them??? DI offered us a VERY SMALL amount on a coupon to be used on a future purchase at the store. We told them that we be worthless because we will never shop at their store again. Ever. Same for their sister stores (tanzanite international).

 

Avoid shopping at either and if you do shop there- know there is a chance that the sales people may not be truthful.

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Here is another couple of program to try if you want to shop in Mexico and get your VAT back: https://taxfree.com.mx/v1/en/

 

The fact that Costco participates in this program make it seem like it might be legitimate.

 

The VAT refund scheme is absolutely legit. But one must carefully jump through all the hoops and follow the rules and perhaps they will get an 8.9% refund for their trouble. Then again, it is Mexico and most of us who live there do not even waste our time. But, most of us are not shopping at places like DI for expensive jewelry. Why would we? Do you think their jewels are sold at a lower price in Mexico then you can get from a decent jeweler at home (or online)? If its Mexican made jewelry perhaps....but that is not what DI is about.

 

So what about shopping in PV? Having lived there for many years (part time) we do enjoy the many art galleries and also the Huichol Art (very unique). We know others who like to purchase some silver jewelry....but certainly not from DI. I have also heard others talk about purchasing "fire opal" but have no clue to the value of this stone.

 

Hank

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Contact the cruise lines and tell them about the rip off. If they get enough pressure they will pressure DI to do something about it. DI has relationships all over the world with cruise lines and they don't want to make them mad. Personally, I have never found the stone or jewelry prices cheap enough to buy.

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We have some Huichol art(local tribal group) and have just been researching fire opals because some are sourced near Puerto Vallarta. One has to do research before buying any jewelry in any country away from home!

I would never buy such things as diamonds anywhere except from a respected jeweler in my home city.

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I've been researching fire opals and opals in general as a few items in the Opal Mine caught my eye on the last trip. But I also don't want to overpay or buy fakes.

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Contact the cruise lines and tell them about the rip off. If they get enough pressure they will pressure DI to do something about it. DI has relationships all over the world with cruise lines and they don't want to make them mad. Personally, I have never found the stone or jewelry prices cheap enough to buy.

 

 

This is a good suggestion. We did contact NCL Customer Service two days ago and they sent a message to the ship (Pearl) to have the shopping person contact us, but we have not heard back yet.

 

We plan to follow up on Monday (because one has to go through NCL Customer Service to get messages to the ship).

 

When we do hear back we will post an update here.

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The VAT refund scheme is absolutely legit. But one must carefully jump through all the hoops and follow the rules and perhaps they will get an 8.9% refund for their trouble.

Hank

 

We do believe the refund is legit, however just to be clear WE did NOT fill out any forms: the Moneyback Mexico who had a small booth at the DI store in Cozumel did all the paperwork for us. SHE made copies of our information, including our NCL key cards. That was the only hoop to jump through: standing at the counter and handing over the documents they requested to process the rebate.

 

Moneyback Mexico is now telling us the key card copies that the girl made are not legible and therefore they cannot process our claim.

 

How is that our fault that we should be penalized?

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Here is another couple of program to try if you want to shop in Mexico and get your VAT back: https://taxfree.com.mx/v1/en/

 

The fact that Costco participates in this program make it seem like it might be legitimate.

 

 

I cannot offer an opinion on this program specifically since we made our purchase in Cozumel and this program is not offered in Cozumel. Also - we were on a cruise and it looks like with this program Step 3 takes place at the airport.

 

This program probably won't work for most cruisers.

BOARDING

 

 

At your departure, visit us at the Airport with your documents.

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Clearly you were taken. Lesson learned, although a very difficult one at that.

 

 

We like to buy something in the places we travel as a momento of our trip. We rarely go to Mexico for travel, but we can tell you that if we do go again, we will be extremely hesitant to purchase ANYTHING there again.

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We like to buy something in the places we travel as a momento of our trip. We rarely go to Mexico for travel, but we can tell you that if we do go again, we will be extremely hesitant to purchase ANYTHING there again.

 

ESPECIALLY 'big ticket' items. Based on our many years visiting and many trips to Mexico, we are comfortable buying small trinkets and inexpensive souvenirs, but we would NEVER consider making a large expensive purchase there... ever.

 

We love visiting Mexico, but unfortunately the country is rife with corruption, at all levels.

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We like mementos of our trips too. That's why we buy local craft items made by local people. I would not think of buying expensive jewelry there.

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We like mementos of our trips too. That's why we buy local craft items made by local people. I would not think of buying expensive jewelry there.

The sad part is that the cruise ship (in this case NCL) made everything seem so legitimate by having an on board port shopping "expert" who took lots of cruisers around to different jewelry stores. We stayed with the shopping group for awhile, then went off on our own and ended at Diamonds International at the end of our day in port.

 

While we were with this shopping escort from the ship, people were shopping and buying like crazy. Crazy. Tons of shoppers and the stores were packed. When the cruise customer who was shopping would come close to making a deal, they were told (by the escort) to call the shopping escort over so she could hear the price and give her nod of approval (or work them over for a better price, if needed :confused::confused:) She was obviously working for the stores and not for the cruisers.

 

Such a scam.

 

 

I've done a lot of reading (after the fact :mad:) that Diamonds International (and probably other stores KNOW that people won't get the Mexican government rebate but they don't tell customers that, instead they use the "8.9 rebate from the Mexican government" as an incentive to seal the deal.

 

Shame on NCL for allowing a scammer to work over their guests, shame on the port shopping escort for leading guests astray and shame on Diamonds International and any other jewelry store in Mexico who has sales people who don't mention the myriad of problems with people not getting the rebates promised.

 

If you want to do more reading about the Moneyback Mexico program, check out their facebook page and read the comments posted, check out Trip Advisor, check out other posts on Cruise Critic or just google them and share the "news" if you know anyone going to Mexico.

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We like mementos of our trips too. That's why we buy local craft items made by local people. I would not think of buying expensive jewelry there.

 

P.S. A lot of the items sold in the shops and on the streets in Mexico were exactly the same as the items we have seen for sale on the streets/stores in Peru, Panama City, Cartagena, Honduras, St Thomas, Puerto Rico, Aruba, St. Kitts and many many other Caribbean places. Doesn't that make you go "Hmmm"?

 

(We have found unique local items in Canadian, European and African cities.)

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ESPECIALLY 'big ticket' items. Based on our many years visiting and many trips to Mexico, we are comfortable buying small trinkets and inexpensive souvenirs, but we would NEVER consider making a large expensive purchase there... ever.

 

We love visiting Mexico, but unfortunately the country is rife with corruption, at all levels.

 

Spread the word. We may go back to Mexico, but we will not spend money there.

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Spread the word. We may go back to Mexico, but we will not spend money there.

We spend our winters in PV and have also had problems with the rebate program. We had receipts for items that were purchased (Costco etc.) and did not receive the rebate. I would not recommend that anyone count on getting the 8.9% refund.

 

Hope that people will still purchase items in PV from locals. There are some great artists in the area and lots of lovely items to buy. I would steer clear of the jewellery stores that cruise lines frequent.

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There are local artists in Puerto Vallarta who sell their own creations.

The Huichol tribe also makes and sells unique local items.

I do not know to which things you are referring that you see in all those other cities??

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There are local artists in Puerto Vallarta who sell their own creations.

The Huichol tribe also makes and sells unique local items.

I do not know to which things you are referring that you see in all those other cities??

 

We cannot speak to PV until Jan 2019 when we will be there. Can you tell us where we can go in PV to see unique locally made items (that aren't the same as the port we saw before, etc)?

 

You asked about the items we see in all those other cities: We can speak to Cancun, Cozumel, Mahahual, etc and also our trips to other countries in South and Central America and even in the "port shops" in Aruba, St Thomas, St Kitts, etc.

 

Refrigerator magnets, wind chimes, hats, small blankets, T shirts, leather bands for your wrist, etc. etc. It is the exact same stuff we see in the port shopping area in every city. We see the sellers coming up to us on the street and also sitting at their tables/ on the ground waiting for customers but while they are waiting for customers are they working on painting their refrigerator magnets, weaving a blanket or stitching their next T shirt. No. That is because, in our opinion, the items are not handmade, but are mass produced somewhere. How else can you explain the same magnets, wind chimes, blankets in each port city? Perhaps someone paints the name of each city on the magnet, stitches it on the hat, silk screens it on the shirt, etc to make them slightly unique - but perhaps those are mass produced, too?

 

We were just in St John's New Brunswick and there was a local vendor area that sets up when cruise ships are in port. The vendors sold handmade leather goods, carved stones, knitted items, etc and they were all working on their goods while they waited for shoppers. We bought some items because they were unique and we had not seen them in other port cities. It was neat to meet the person who actually created the item!

 

Let us know about the Puerto Vallarta shopping area. Thanks. We look forward to it.

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