BEWARE of the Balboa CLinics in Mazatlan...they are SCAMSTERS who will jerk your credit card and defraud your insurance if they possibly can. They often take passports from tourist patients and hold them against their will, threatening them with arrest if they don't accept the ripoff rates and un-needed procedures they might want to soak them for.
The local English paper runs warnings about them every issue ( http://pacificpearl.com/important.htm )
Consulates have entered to demand passports back. MANY people have filed complaints with the tourist DA (conveniently located right upstairs) but are often threatened to drop suits or leave country--including death threats or being arrested and held by paid-off cops. Don't even THINK about going into these clinics or so-called "ambulances". If your hotel recommends them it's because they were paid to. If you DO end up there DON'T let the "kindly" redneck lady handle your insurance or credit card. Demand an itemized bill. If it's too high, walk.
There are good hospitals in the area, including Sharpes. DON'T be a victim of these vicious crooks.
If You DO end up in this place:
DON'T accept help from the "kindly insurance lady". DO demand an itemized bill. DON'T surrender your passport to them...they have no right to ask for it. DO get billing info straight up front and let them know you will walk if they jerk you. DO walk if they jerk you. DON'T give them your credit card. DO demand a copy of bill if you are crazy enough to submit to them...scan if for catch phrases or inaccuracies they can use against you if you challenge them.
[ Edit: Please read below for the other side of the story! ]
This seems to be a good warning, there must be rip off's of many kinds in many of the tourist sites tround the world, could we have a thread listing rip off warnings, and to balance that all the good and reliable places as well.
One is the taxis at airports and train stations who overcharge and/or take you the long way round.
Another is the guys at these places who will offer to help with your luggage or to guide you to your hotel or hostel and steal some of you kit.
Actually, the Clinica Balboa is a great place to be treated. They have a good clean facility with good quality service. "Watchman" also known as Linton Robinson is on a mission to destroy the Clinic because of some misinformation, he has been accused of libel under Mexican law. He fled his court date in Mazatlan and is now hiding out in San Diego. If you contact people in Mazatlan you'll find out that this man is a convicted assault felon who has served time prison. Beware of this guy if he tries to make friends with you. He is dangerous and was also charged with assault in Mazatlan. In otherwords, the guy is whacko.
Well here we have a dilema - there are scams operating all over the world, we need to know about the real ones - question is how do we find the malicious ones intended to ruin someone's good name as it seems to be in this instance.
I guess Peter with his usual efficiency will delete the problem reference.We would not want TP to be involved in spreading this sort of damaging stuff.
Maybe we could build an information point listing likely rip off's; scams; pickpocket tricks etc. to be aware of rather than identifying individuals without proof as has happened here.
It sure is a detriment to this site when people like Linton Robinson post lies in order to ruin someone's hard earned business. Included in this post are a few websites that tell the real story about the Clinica Balboa and the great people who work there. Their reputation is very good, the service is incredible and they are on the spot when you need care whether it be severe or small stuff. Check out the websites:
Reading the newpaper article again - The Balboa Clinics are not mentioned specifically in this press article he quotes, I had read the article and assumed that he was making a genuine reference for the public good, many others may do the same.
Thanks for telling me and giving the others side of the story.
You are correct, the article does not mention the Clinica Balboa because both Linton Robinson and Mike Vesilik, owner of the Pacific Pearl, are under charges stemming from things they said about the Clinica Balboa.
Thank you for contributing to the thread. I have chosen to leave this thread here for now - readers should do their best to verify the claims (from either side).
[ Edit: edited in an attempt to be fairer. ]
I appreciate you leaving this article up, Peter...though I doubt you would side with the clinic if you were ever in Mazatlan. If there is any doubt in your mind about this clinic, do what I would advise any traveler to do...get hold of the newspaper publisher and ask him. http://pacificpearl.com The wild stories of legal action are bunk. Asking the American consulate is also a good idea. Or any foreigner who lives in town.
The websites that "Lyle" (actually a local insurance scammer named Steve Immel who is in league with this clinic) mentions can be quickly seen to be owned or paid for by the clinic owner, Juan Porras...part of the scam.
But all I am trying to do is bring this to people's attention...I would just urge people going to Mazatlan to think about what they will do if they get sick or injured. By the time you are talking to one of the Porras ambulance cruisers or the paid-off clerk in your hotel, it's too late. There are plenty of good places to get treated in Mazatlan, I would recommend very close scrutiny of the Balboa before going there. I trust people to make up their own mind without arm-twisting.
Here's some further useful info about Linton Hoy Robinson:
5'11", 160 lbs. (weight noted as 200 when arrested in 1999)
Brown hair, Hazel eyes
Several residences in California & Washington
Arrested 1980 - San Diego battery
Arrested 1981 - Simple Battery
Arrested 1988 - Assault with force/deadly weapon (not a firearm), appeared to have been a club & tear gas. Felony conviction, 5 years probation, 270 days jail restitution.
Arrested in San Diego for assault, served 90 days in a mental diagnostic facility - case dropped but 3 strike countable.
Arrested 1999 - Assault with a deadly weapon, NOT A FIREARM, 200 assault dropped, pleads to a batter felony conviction, 270 days jail term & a $300 fine.
This guy is three strike eligible in California & cannot possess a firearm.
My experience with this guy is that he has an extremely bad temper with a complete lack of anger management.. I think he uses the appearance of poor Mental Health as an intimidation tactic and to avoid culpability. He seems to avoid confrontation with a stronger adversary and seeks out victims he feels he can physically intimidate. He uses a lot of verbal intimidation, makes threats and stalks people.
He is currently on the run from the Mazatlan authorities who have two outstanding warrants for his arrest.