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Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort

An all inclusive resort north of Cancun, Mexico.

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$260 for a couples massage almost cost me $10,000 in fraud

  • Aug 16, 2010
  • by
Here's the situation.

One our product guys here at, Andrew is on his honeymoon down in Mexico at Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort.  I thought it would be nice to get he and his wife a couples massage as a gift.  So i called the hotel, got to the spa and explained what i wanted to do.  They told me that i needed to fax a copy of both sides of the credit card along with my driver's license to them for payment.  I thought that was a bit extreme, so i questioned the woman as to why.  She explained it was for MY protection.  That was obviously the answer we was told to give and after i pressed her on it a bit, she could only offer the same response.  It was obviously a fraud protection mechanism for the hotel so that they don't give out a bunch of couples massages only to find that the charges on the card didn't go through. (side note:  are there a lot people using fake credit cards to book couples massages?)  I told her she could run the card today for the $300 (i included a tip) so they know they will get paid and the couple could get the massage tomorrow.  She didn't buy it.  If i wanted to spend money at their hotel i needed to play be their rules.

My only saving grace was that this woman, Leticia, promised me she would get the fax herself and make sure all of my information was safe.  I believe most people are good and i don't think that she was out to get me, so i begrudgingly  faxed my information down to them.  I called back 15 mins later to see is she got it but she was gone for the day i was told.  Hmmmm... got a little concerned, but not enough to worry too much... what's the worst that could happen?

Well, early the morning i got an email from the AMEX fraud department to call them ASAP.  I called and they asked if within the last 25 minutes I purchased 3 songs on itunes, two first class tickets on Turkish Airlines (London to Istanbul) and 2 first class tickets on Emirates Airlines.  I let them know the stupid fax i sent the night before and they canceled my credit card and stopped the charges.  We assumed that someone at the hotel got a hold of my fax and sold my information to a group who commits this type of fraud.  The three itunes charges to see if the card worked was a give away. 

So my thoughts after this experience:
1.  Don't fax your credit card information... that was dumb... i knew it when i did it.
2.  If you are hotel like Excellence Resorts, have better controls on this stuff.  I'm sure the resort is beautiful and there are a lot of really good people that work there, but it only takes one bad apple to tarnish your reputation as well as tarnish the reputation of all resorts in Mexico.  Not only that, but it hurts your bottom line because i was going to spend $300 with your hotel.
3.  Kudos to AMEX for being on it so quickly.  But then the larger societal impact of this type of fraud struck me.  We as consumers are ultimately paying for this in the fees that we pay to the credit card company's to detect this type of fraud, or the merchants who have to pay the credit card companies and we have to pay more for products when we buy them.  All in all.. it's theft... its a crime...and it's a buzzkill to everyone but the thief.
4.  Consumers shouldn't be as stupid as i was and make this crime that much easier for people to commit.  Sorry guys (society)... i won't do it again.
5.  I hope Excellence Playa Mujeres took care of Andrew since he didn't get my wedding gift now.

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August 18, 2010
Horrible to hear this, but great to hear of your generosity and your own honeymoon, and may the wedding go (have gone?) splendidly. Bacon wrapped hot dogs aren' t bad!
August 18, 2010
What a nightmare! And here you are just trying to do something incredibly nice. Agreed that it's nice to know AMEX was on the ball and got a hold of you asap. A good lesson to be learned!
August 16, 2010
What a pain in the butt - but at least it got resolved without leaving you massively out of pocket. Another piece of advice that I learned the hard way: always have a backup credit card with a really low limit (~$500) that you can use for these kinds of transactions. That way, any fraud tends to get declined immediately.
August 16, 2010
that's a great call. I totally should have used a different card. I"m leaving for the my wedding tomorrow without my main credit card. My guests my be stuck eating bacon wrapped hot dogs unless i can get this figured out ASAP.
August 16, 2010
AmEx should be able to overnight a card to you directly to the hotel... well, at least they sometimes do this depending on your card type and spending range, etc. Otherwise now might be the time to start the Lunch Visa card!
August 17, 2010
yeah... they will have one here at the office tomorrow and my brother will be bringing it down. Shipping one to Mexico takes a little more time. But AMEX is solid with stuff like that.
August 17, 2010
Ditto James AND CONGRATS on the wedding!!! Hope you've a great trip and honeymoon! In addition, do yourself a favor, get a few credit cards from different banks with different credit limit ;-)
August 16, 2010
WHAT??? No way! Working in a jewelry store, I've worked with several different credit card machines, and several different credit companies, and none of those ever required that we have a copy of the customer's credit card or ID on hand in order for the transaction to go through. Mind you, many of the purchases were in the thousands of dollars range and there are other safer ways to verify things.  Like, um, calling the credit card company directly.  There's always a number on the machine.

My brothers and I actually got our parents a couples massage on a Mexican cruise earlier this year and I remember the people there only asking for all the standard stuff that I would fill out if I were buying something online -- credit card number, security code, address, etc.  I've never had anyone ask me for a copy of this stuff before, but I'll remember never to comply.

Thanks for the heads up, and so sorry for the hassle!
August 17, 2010
China may be backward in some areas but when it comes to credit cards, I thought it was so great that they added another protection level but incorporating passwords into the cards! The banks certainly have learned their lessons well! :-)
August 18, 2010
Whoa, passwords on credit cards? Is that kind of like a debit card?
About the reviewer
J.R. Johnson ()
Ranked #2
If you're looking for some more company related stuff about me... it's on my bio page here.      Also, here's a family surf video from our recent wedding. Family = good … more
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About this hotel


Excellence Playa Mujeres is an adults only luxury resort in Cancun. Other Excellence Resorts: Excellence Riviera Cancun, Mexico & Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – Adults only All Inclusive Resorts.

At the all-inclusive Excellence Playa Mujeres resort, luxury surrounds you in a setting of lush Caribbean beauty. The newest luxury resort destination in the Cancun region, Playa Mujeres is situated on an untouched 20-mile peninsula, secluded and serene but conveniently only 25 minutes north of Cancun International Airport.

The all-inclusive Excellence Playa Mujeres is an adults-only romantic resort nestled on two miles of powdery white sand beach, in a resort community that boasts an inland marina, world-class spa, and a spectacular Greg Norman signature golf course right on the Caribbean. This all inclusive jewel of Cancun offers spacious rooms and suites furnished in elegant contemporary decor and outfitted with the latest amenities. Here, everything is taken care of and nothing is left out. So you are free to create those moments you dream of. and memories you'll have forever.

At all-inclusive Excellence Playa Mujeres, all inclusive luxury is more than a label, and excellence is more than a goal. It is who we are. Every day, every night, for every guest.

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Address: Prolongacion Bonampak, S/N, Punta Sam, Lote Terrenos 001 MZ. 001 Sm. 003, Zona Continental de Isla Mujeres, 77400 Quintana Roo, Mexico
Phone: +52 998 872 8600

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