Authorities warn against ghost travel agencies booking trips to Cancun

CANCUN — Dozens of people have been defrauded with trips to the Mexican Caribbean.

The Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) issued an alert against 15 ghost agencies for offering trips to the Mexican Caribbean that ended with defrauded clients.

Profeco authorities say that during the summer months, these ghost agencies have defrauded people in trips that range from 15,000 peso to 90,000 peso ($830 to $5,000 USD), offering direct travel to nonexistent Cancun and Riviera Maya destinations.

They are warning consumers to be aware of fraudulent online travel agencies. The federal organization says that approximately 65 percent of travelers to the Cancun – Riviera Maya area book their trip online. This high level of online reservations increases the risk of travelers falling into the hands of these fraudulent travel agencies.

Hotel Association advisor, Alejandro Alvarado Muro, notes that tighter rules need to be applied. He says that the hotel sector has the full support of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies to rectify this problem. 

State Congress is in the process of approving new laws that offer better monitoring and tighter regulations to help control this level of fraudulent activity, adding stricter legislation for travel agencies. 


Alvarado Muro says that these agencies have the potential to cause “serious damage” to the Mexican Caribbean and that “these agencies are trying very hard to be formal vacation clubs, but they are neither vacation clubs or timeshares, so they try to combine the two and call themselves a travel agency. These ghost agencies generate a bad image, so it is urgent to legislate on travel agencies”. 

The state of Quintana Roo comes in second nationally for the number of tourist complaints concerning services and products. Ernesto Némer Alvarez, head of Profeco, says that nationally, they currently have about 7,000 complaints to deal with.

He adds that most of the complaints received include timeshares, restaurants, entertainment centers, travel agencies and car rentals. The largest reason for the complaints range from lack of proper pricing to mandatory tipping, exclusion policies in restaurants and breach of promotions.

Other states with high tourist complaints include Mexico City, Baja California, Guerrero and Michocan, all of which have high hotel infrastructure.