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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Product Reveiw-Club Mahindra Holidays Timeshare Membership

Post Revised on Jan 1, 2011: This article tells you why this writer feels investing in timeshare holiday memberships may not be a wise decision (with all necessary analysis and evidence), with Club Mahindra's Timeshare life membership as example. [Only personal and analytical perspective here. Individual experiences may vary.]


Major update: Club Mahindra has given Official Response to the concerns raised in this post. Read the complete interview with Club Mahindra Sr Manager to get got both side of the story so as to take unbiased judgement.

Quick in post Navigation: Pricing* Seasons* Disclaimer*Comments (490+ comments so far) * Club Mahindra Escalation Points *


Club Mahindra (Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Limited) is part of Mahindra Group which is a 6.3 billion enterprise). Club Mahindra primarily own about 30 resorts across India and sell life memberships priced about 2-9lakhs + annual charges, under which members get to stay (Only if vacancy exists-No Commitment from Club Mahindra on this) for around 7 days a year at any of their resorts for next 25 years.

Before I go on to state why it’s not a good option to enroll for their life time membership, let me list what they claim to offer:
Club Mahindra As per Club Mahindra, by becoming their life member you get (refer CM ad/website) following benefits:
*7 days inflation free holiday at any of their resorts once an year for 25 years (Own a week at any club Mahindra resort for a week)
*Free 3 year membership to RCI and ability to enjoy international holidays at economic rates due to RCI affiliation.
*Flexibility to upgrade seasons and apartments
*Usually some entry gifts like Sony Bravia TV or free 3D/2N stay or other offers

*Invitation to member only events

Now this is what exactly they offer:

1. It is not a holiday package. All Club Mahindra offers is accommodation at their resort (subject to availability) for few days. You’ll have to pay for travel, food, site seeing and every other expense you might incur during your holiday. For a typical holiday, accommodation is only a part of the expense. So despite the membership you'll have to spend decent amount every year for holidaying.

2. Owning the resort for a week? I’m an owner if I have absolute power over something. I own a house if I have absolute power on the property (to sell, to lease, to rent or even to destroy). At Club Mahindra resort you’ll be one among several other guests. You're just allowed to use the rooms and don’t own anything there, sharing common utilities with other guests. There's absolutely no commitment if you'll get your yearly vacation. All depends on availability- how soon you can book and outsmart other members who'll be aiming for same unit.

3. Inflation free holiday !!!???: Mind you, the club mahindra timeshare holiday is not inflation free. Every year members will have to pay Annual Subscription fee (irrespective of usage, even when resorts r full and you're unable to get your week). This amount is is over and above the regular member ship fee which is in lakhs, described later and ranges anywhere between Rs. 8994 to 17717 (depending on Studio, 1BR or 2BR). This annual subscription fee may increase every year depending on Consumer Price Index and Wholesale Price Index. So the price a member end up paying will obviously keep increasing every year. (between 2007 and 2010, ASF has increased from Rs 6647 to 8994 for Studio Apartment and  13094 to 17717 for 2BR, roughly 10% increase every year-this provides for inflation and you'll have to pay for travel, food and other expenses at actual anyway).The Rs 9000 ASF might eventually increase to Rs 20000 an year say after 10 years. Hence, for the record, Club Mahindra membership is NOT inflation free.


4. Club Mahindra claims to offer five star accommodations but this can’t be validated. (only 5 resorts are RCI Gold crowned) If an ordinary well furnished apartment/Hotel unit is passed off as a five star accommodation how are you going to prove that it is or it is not a five star? Further, most of the Indians choose five star hotels only if the expense is reimbursed by their company. When they have to spend from their own pocket, they often choose basic economic accommodation. Staying at a five star place doesn’t make it a holiday and staying there may not be the sole objective behind holidaying. 


5. Why 25 years? 25 years is not lifetime! If I’m 25 today I may live upto 85 years and I may wish to holiday till I reach the age of 75. But Club Mahindra terminates my membership by the time I reach the age of 50. By life membership I should get benefit as long as I’m alive. Else it’s not lifetime membership. To be fair, even life time validity of a sim card is 20 years and life imprisonment offered by Indian court is not really till death. So may be we should not complain on this.

6. Why there's no commitment from Club Mahindra regarding minimum time required to ensure guaranteed booking? Why there's no compensation policy if all their resorts get fully occupied and members are unable to take holidays even if they have planned months in advance? (While a member can't expect CM to get him confirmed booking within 15 days notice during a popular season and at a high demand resort, CM shouldn't expect its members to plan their holidays 6-12 months in advance. If Club Mahindra has enrolled more members than the capacity of resorts, some of them will be guaranteed to be disappointed every year.  There has to be a SLA governed mechanism to ensure that all members get their share, without holidaying with Club Mahindra membership will be kind of luck based and equivalent of gambling.

2008 Data: For some 700 odd units Club Mahindra already had over 63000 members, which is nearly 2 times the capacity of resorts (No. of units (i.e rooms) * 52 weeks should be the max permissible member count, to ensure accommodation for all)) Also t
here were 51 Customer complaints pending against Club Mahindra amounting to Rs 5.62 million (As per detailed filed by Club Mahindra at SEBI for their IPO-Read full prospectus), mainly about false promises made by sales staff and not able to get accommodation.


7. Their commercials and sales staff are often known to mislead unsuspecting prospects by not revealing factors like ASF, how difficult it is to get a booking, cancellation terms, additional expenses etc. This is not a good, because many aren't familiar with the concept of timeshare membership, its pros and cons. They get fooled by exotic resorts shown by marketing staff and by the time they get complete picture, it will be too late to pull out of membership. (None of their pront page ads mention ASF...)[an example here ]

CM agents are known to collect contact numbers of prospects in malls promising a lucky draw. Everyone will be called to the office later in the disguise of they having won a holiday, and elaborate presentations will be made to sign them up as members. 


To your left is an old image of Holiday Coupon given to prospects. Many have stated that they could never utilize it.


The actual cost of Club Mahindra lifetime membership Go to TOP

The amount is fairly high from a middle class perspective. Refer the image below for the official Club Mahindra rate chart.



Club Mahindra April 2012 rate card

Club Mahindra April 2010 rate card



View Club Mahindra Old Price lists: August 2008 rate card * January 2008 price chart * CM 2006-2007 prices * You'll get an idea how membership costs and ASF are increasing every year. 



The official Club Mahindra website doesn’t mention how much their membership costs. The executives will not reveal the price till last moment. All these is probably because they’re sure the price will scare people away.

The Club Mahindra lifetime membership costs anywhere between Rs 3,85,000 to Rs. 12,64,000 (and more, because this calculation is based on current ASF which keeps increasing every year). That is, Rs.1,60,311 to Rs 8,21,040 as membership fee (The exact amount depends on the season you choose to travel, the type of accommodation, number of EMIs etc) plus Rs. 2,25,000 to Rs 4,43,000 in annual subscription fee (That’s 9000*25 years to Rs 17,717 *25 years). In total, you’ll end up paying anywhere between Rs 3,85,000 to Rs. 12,64,000 all for accommodation, 7 days * 25 years=175 days. Meaning you’ll be paying Rs 2200 (during least popular tourist seasons with basic accommodation for 2 people) to Rs. 7223 per day of stay (in peak season for 2 bedroom apartment). Actual cost will be more than this as ASF increases every year. This is a relatively expensive deal because of reasons listed below

1. With the amount you pay as annual subscription fee (Say Rs 9000 per year), you can get a decent accommodation in hotels for 7 days. Why should you pay rest of the membership fee for? (say Rs 5350 every month as EMI for 36 months)

2. When you go on a holiday, most of your expenses will be on Travel, followed by food and accommodation. If someone is trying to sell accommodation as holiday package, better be aware.

3. While you have to pay lakhs of rupees as membership fee and keep paying ASF (irrespective of usage), Club Mahindra will provide confirmed booking only "
Subject to availability". They have no commitment what so ever and no refund/compensation policy. There's nothing you can do if they say "Sorry No vacancy. Better luck next time" . Ideally they should have an SLA (like if you book say 45-60 days advance you must get confirmed booking or else should get some compensation like extending membership by another year, waiving ASF etc). But dont expect all that with Club Mahindra.


4. Assume for 5-10 years out of your 25 year tenure you don't get to holiday with them (when they say all their resorts are full-which may even be vacant for those non members who pay cash), any cost advantage you may be having in becoming life member will easily get eroded.


5. I saw recently in a full page newspaper ad (ClearTrip or MakeMyTrip I can't recall), travel agents are selling holidays at Club Mahindra resorts at quite low rates. As a member who has paid several lakh rupees decades in advance, you would expect a lowest price guarantee and a minimum service assurance. Without these, you may regret later.


6. You may not need the luxury of a resort every time. Homestay industry is picking up fast and for a fraction of cost, a home stay in a remote place can give great holiday experience. (Club Mahindra has also entered HomeStay Business with ClubMahindrahomestays.com)


How are the Club Mahindra Resorts?
I've experienced Coorg and Binsar Resorts. This and several other resorts are really good and offer a unique experience compared to typical hotel room. Because of the location and ambiance, they do make considerable difference in the user experience. However not all resorts are said to be of same standard. [I've also visited Munnar and Yercaud campus. Good ones again]

Other things you should know:

Seasons
Club Mahindra has classified 52 weeks of the year into 4 seasons
Pink: Extremely popular timings and seasons: Like New Year eve at Goa. The pink season is not open to members and are sold at premium rates. There’s no way you can plan a holiday if the time and destination combination is Pink. [Update: Observed that No of purple weeks are going up steadily- click here for 2012 week classification]
Club Mahindra week classification
Red: All popular tourist seasons are classified as Red. If you want to visit their resort during these popular seasons either you’ll have to pay extra or reduce your number of days of stay.

White: Normal seasons

Blue: Least popular season-The cheapest option but if you go to a place in blue season you’re likely to regret as you wont be able to make best of your holiday(for example you can’t enjoy in Ooty during rainy season)
Club Mahindra week season classifications
Red and pink seasons make up nearly 50% of the year and only rest 50% is open for you if you’ve opted for white season.

Flexibility: If you increase the number of people, you’ll either have to pay more or will have to compromise on number of days of stay. If you’re going on vacation during peak season (say when children would be having holidays) again you’ll have to pay more and or reduce number of days. This doesn’t make economical sense as the choice you have is very few.(You can carry forward your holiday, advance your holiday, split your holiday).

Once you commit, you can’t cancel or pull out.(Initial 10 days within which cancellation in allowed will be lost before you face reality) You can only send someone else in your place. For the amount and duration involved in the contract, I feel customers should get time till they experience their first holiday, before cancellation time ends. Club Mahindra should offer some commitments from its side w.r.t cost and availability, without which
this membership is a long term obligation which doesn’t make much practical sense when you can just check in into any of the hotels with much ease. Taking one time vacation with Club Mahindra might be a risk free and better option than choosing a life membership.


Assess your style of holidaying:
What does a vacation mean to you? Some of us prefer intensive backpacking travel on shoestring budget, others prefer a remote place inside a forest, few might prefer a relaxed stay in a resort. The concept of relaxing at a resort is yet to gain popularity among Indians. For Indians, holidaying often means traveling a lot, visiting places of historic importance or places of tourist attractions etc. So evaluate all possibilities and options and decide if Club Mahindra Resorts are ideal for you.

Below diagram shows room layouts at few Club Mahindra resorts.
The verdict: Club Mahindra is not a comprehensive and all inclusive holiday option. Don't fall for their temptations like Sony Bravia. There's no commitment to limit the membership in proportion to resort capacity. No commitment that week classification will change unfavorably for members, no commitment that if quality of service drops some compensation will be given. So after say 10 years, you'll have to plan holiday not as per your convenience but as per the availability of their resorts.Sales staff make all promises under sun, besides hiding negative factors, to convince you to sign up. It is your responsibility to stay off the trap. Proceed with caution.

Disclaimer: All information provided here were as available at the time of composing this post (Jan-Feb 2007) and updated where possible. Check with Club Mahindra for current rates. I am not a Club Mahindra member and this analysis is purely from a 3rd party view. Please use your discretion.


All images and information courtesy: Club Mahindra.

Updates: Promoters of time share membership often claim that by subscribing to their schemes you get to enjoy tomorrows holidaying at todays expense. i.e. they claim hotel stay expense will increase over time and if you pay a lump sum amount and subscribe to their membership schemes right now, you will be protected from these hikes. However, there's no reason why hotel rates shouldn't come down after sometime. For example, air travel today is far more affordable than it was say 5 years ago. Similarly hotel stay may also become cheaper (like concept of no frills basic stay at minimum amount is already catching up) but Club Mahindra is unlikely to pass on such benefits if any, to you. 


So considering advantages and disadvantages, my recommendation is "AVOID". If you're still tempted to become member, try this first before committing lakhs on life membership: Find a known person (friend/co worker/relative) who is a member and take his/her opinion. Else take their one time holiday, visit their resort, talk to other guests there who might be life members, take their opinion and judge your own experience there and then decide. DO NOT take on the spot decision irrespective of what temptations their salesmen create (Like this offer expires today midnight)...

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Related:
eNidhi's Brand Building suggestions to Club Mahindra (My suggestions to CM to secure member satisfaction)

While most of the readers have agreed with me, few say they are very happy with CM. If you’re lucky, if everything happens as promised great. But my primary concern still remains: What do I do if I cant get confirmed booking even when I plan several months in advance? Why there’s no SLA or compensation policy from CM on this? While I stick to my stand readers are under no obligation to take my opinion and are requested to use their own judgment after reading this post and comments.


Updates: Wish to BUY/SELL a used Club Mahindra membership- Visit this page
1. My review of Zest Breaks-A new venture by Mahindra 2. This article has got over 100 comments now and these comments have been analyzed in a different post here Be sure to check it. 3. Detailed review of Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley (Coorg Resort)



Club Mahindra Escalation points
If your concerns are not addressed by your local CM Rep or call centre, below are the escalation points you can make use of:
Other popular and related articles by this blogger: Wish to BUY/SELL a used Club Mahindra membership?- Visit this page

Bhupesh, a Club Mahindra member, has created a Yahoo group for CM members to interact. You may wish to join the same:

Subscribe to ClubMahindra Member' Yahoo Group


Similar posts:
Business: mGinger SMS advertising* Pros and Cons of Dell * Magic Holidays Timeshare
More Product/Service Reviews * Real Inflation Free cost of CM Membership (Bhupesh's post) * Buy/Sell used timeshare membership* CM Resort Reviews: Kodagu Valley Coorg * Binsar Valley *


Travel: Skanda Giri Bangalore * Yercaud * Wayanad * Binsar * Talakona * Singapore * Thailand * Chile Malaysia Srilanka *

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557 comments:

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Shantanu said...

Club Mahindra Sucks... I agree . I hold a white membership in club mahindra and it is extremely difficult to get a room in club mahindra ,even if you are a member .

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Shanthanu,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Fact is that they are not increasing capacity of their resources but blindly increasing member base. Note that your booking is subject to availability and there's no commitment from Club Mahindra on an assured holiday, but you have to pay your ASF in any case.

So all these are not making any logical sense, so I suggest people to stay away.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

*resorts not resources...sorry! [IT industry side effects]

Deepa said...

I was thinking of a membership but my husband strongly opposed. And your blog just re-confirmed to me as well that he's right. Good info. Thanks

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I'm glad my work helped you in your planning and saved your hard earned money..

Anonymous said...

Mr. Srinidhi,
Well Said. I hold a club mahindra blue membership and am trying to sell it off as I feel it is not worth. I took a wrong decision and am unable to come out of it.
I appreciate your cautioning the public and I totally agree that its an expensive affair and added to it, may not be very useful for our kind of holidaying.
VIJAY

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for leaving your comment Vijay...While taking lakhs of rupees, club mahindra is not giving any commitment on guaranteed holiday and even if there's no vacancy, no refund, no waiver of ASF or no other compensation, something not fair...

Milan said...

I have been memeber of this resort since 2001.Never managed to get my season's booking(Purple) without a fight.This is a money sucking business of Mahindra family. Just stay away.They sell our time and make money.Inspits of making Rs.79cr they have incresed the ASF.Don't fall for it.All the memebrs come together and sue them.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

HI Milan, I dont think one can sue them. They have not made any commitment in the membership form (Note: Subject to availability). When signing up you have agreed to keep paying (note: irrespective of usage)... Got the trap?

A B said...

This happens in almost all Resort Memberships....then why single out Club Mahindra only???

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Whatever I told is generic to any club membership but specific to Club Mahindra, because it is the leading and most expensive one. It is advertising heavily to increase member base and many unsuspecting people fall into the trap, just because they are not aware what all can go wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrinidhi,

Actaully, I'm a Club Mahindra memeber since 2003 and for a change :) I'm loving it; not only me, my husband too loves it. I think they have excellent properties in Coorg, Munnar and Goa (that's where I've visited till now). Actually, Club Mahindra resorts are for those who wants to relax; who have got bugged up of their busy schedules; want to have time just for the family. that's why I believe they have resorts in Munnar or Coorg rather than proper Cochin or Bangalore, B'coz these palces donot have much of a sightseeing; you just go there to relax and enjoy the nature.. And believe you me, if you stay at a 4 star and above property in India anywhere, you end up paying 4- 9 thousands for a night whereas we are getting good decent facility in Club Mahindra Resort for 1000 bucks a night.
I stayed at a RCI resort in US for a week for just 8000 INR; which was no less than a Palace, Shrinidhi, you had to pay 43,000 INR for 7 nights stay there. But I got it so cheap becoz I got a RCI membership when I got Club Mahindra membership and that resort is an RCI affiliated resort. so, I'll suggest go there once and go to switzerland once.. Saara paisa Vasool ho jaayega Boss!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Finally we have a positive comment on Club Mahindra and I'm happy to see that.

As I already said, staying at a resort whole day with family for one long week is not the way most of the Indians are used to Holiday. If this concept suits you and you find Club Mahindra is better option compared to others, fine.

I'm aware 4 star hotels cost Rs 5k +. But if all you need is a place to sleep, is it worth? Club Mahindra doesn't commit any availability, though you need to keep paying irrespective of usage. At hotels I pay only if I get my room confirmed.

Honestly, I've not researched pros and cons of RCI affiliation.

Glad to see that you're delighted with club mahindra, wish other members will get equally lucky as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Srinidhi,

Nice post. But I have a different point of view.
Obviously, your post makes sense if you only think "you need a place to sleep". Few years before, I was also like that, but now it's changing. With family, you would surely like to go for 3+,4+ start hotels.
I went ahead for the offer, because I was planning for an internation holiday, also was planning to buy a camcorder for papa. So I believe, with two Overseas two trips, it would be paisa vasool.
Also, for india, you can be happy for a sleepover place, but when you are going to a foreign place with family, you would prefer a 3+ star hotels. So why not exchange your one week in 12K for a good hotel in swiss, US or Mauritius.
Yes, I agree with most of people's comments that customer support sucks at Club Mahindra.

Regards,
HP

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dear HP,

Probably its time we classify our holidaying as Holidaying for Relaxation and Holidaying for Masti (outdoor activities)

If I'm not mistaken, RCI membership is available directly as well, not solely through Club Mahindra.

And my primary concern still remains: Club Mahindra doesn't give any minimum service guarantee. If they're unable to confirm booking for the given year they should refund the ASF and extend membership by another year. This issue will grow exponentially when they add members disproportionate to the capacity of their resorts.

Anonymous said...

http://www.epinions.com/content_3426787460
One more detailed review. Exact style is followed by Club Mahindra.

Satish said...

Hi nidhi,

Your blog on club mahindra is well analysed & with clear facts which are generally hidden in fine prints of colourful brochures & attrractive talks of sales executives.Many years ago I had also taken a membership by paying up for a membership.But moment the sales executive left our house the realisation dawned & wiser counsel of my wife prevailed on me ,forcing me to take back the money.After reading your article I feel I did the wisest thing by heeding to my wife's advice.I was very instinctive in my decision.

Keep up the good work.

SATISH KARANTH

Srikanth Eswaran said...

Hi there,

Well written article. you should perhaps ask some paper to print it out! like Bangalore mirror for example!

keep up the writings!
Sriky

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@ Satish Karanth:
You took a wise decision I must say.

@Srikanth: Print media is unlikely to publish this article. They get money by the ads issued by Club Mahindra and M&M vehicles. Since this article gives negative verdict, it might mean loosing advertisement revenue, hence papers may not publish it.

Anonymous said...

They promise one week stay at their resorts to all members.

If they are increasing members without increasing resorts, is it legal.

Do mahindras run other such rackets ?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@ Anonymus:
I dont think there exists any law to term it legal or illegal. Since their statement is very clear: "subject to availability", onus is on the members to take necessary commitment/precaution.

I dont think we can call it a racket or crime. They are mis using the trust of unsuspecting members (or rather shall we say, they're desparately marketing a holiday concept not much suitable in India?)

There're no issues with other M&M ventures like their Automobile or IT business.

Shant said...

Amazing post. They simply lure the customer when they are poaching him but moment they are done they will show all kinds of problems to the customers. I have faced a number of Problems with them

1. My free two weeks with them were not granted.
2. They had promised that the last two installments will be returned on full and final payment. That has not happened despite complete disbursal of the membership fee.
3. Even if you have not used the previous year's days but have paid the ASF charges still you will not be able to book the holiday this year without paying this year ASF.

I think they just make a fool out of people and this whole time sharing concept is meant to only cause inconvenience to the customer rather than convenience.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Shant, Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope you make best of rest of your membership years.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
One more thing i would like to add on, that they call people and offer 2N/3D Free holiday package but that is merely to fool people.Since , even the members struggle to get the reservations, u will never get a booking against these free gift voucher. Also these people are experts in fooling people, so beware of them.

Anonymous said...

i 100% agree with u. The sales person does not even bother to pick up your call once u are the member. I am Red season member and even after that I am not getting booking in my season.i dont understand that why are they taking members of red season, as they are not able to give accomdation even if u try to book some 4-5 months in advance. I dont think most of the travellers plan their booking years in advance ?. LIke in 2009 we will go to munnar and 2015 we will go to Manali. Secondly they have a bad policy of cancellation of booking. Because of it many people just book the holidays and Sell it to travel people. So u dont get the accomodation and the person who is not the member gets the accomodation.

Anonymous said...

One thing can be done. Club mahindra members should make a Union and give proposal and fight against the irregularities and problems faced by them

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anonymus people consider leaving your name behind. DOnt worry, no one will chase back to you for your comments...

There're club mahindra communities in orkut. May be members can join there and share their concerns.

Paid members wont get holiday, will free winners ever get?

Yes, Club Mahindra holidays are sold openly in ebay and elsewhere...

Veena said...

Hi! Shrinidhi. I agree with you 100% and am thoroughly displeased with my Mahindra membership. However,I am glad to note that the likes of you at least share my resentments and bad sentiments against Club Mahindra. Good work on that article. Like you said, the one's stuck are stuck for 25 years of life. So at least we can do good by advising others how not to become suckers! The greatest Con artists in this world are masquerading behind the Club Mahindra Banner! I too would like to reassert here to the unsuspecting prospective members- Never Ever fall for the Club Mahindra trap, it's nothing but Crap!!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Veena for commenting...

"The greatest Con artists in this world are masquerading behind the Club Mahindra Banner"

What a statement!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrinidhi,

Thanks a lot for the excellent details you have covered up in your article. This instantly helped me to decide that i don't have to go for a Club mahindra membersip, something which i had been contemplating for quite some time now but was not very sure of whether it would be a wise descision.

You really saved my lot of time which otherwise I would have wasted discussing the club Mahindra offer and more importantly the hard earned money!!!

I will always prefer to have the flexibility of the time I wish to travel, place and hotel where I need to put in, people I wish to go with and spend a few extra bucks then falling prey to groups like club mahindra for my entire life(25 yers is a big period, and 7 days /year is too less)

We all should join hands to totally disown the agencies like club mahindra who fool innocent people by clicking a rosy picture and robbing them of there hard earned money. Implications are clearer only later when innocent public can only repent for the wrong descision.

Their business will go down the drain and cann't flourish if those who have already suffered warn others well in time.

Cann't we bring them in media limelight?

Thankfully your blog is only 2nd in list of google search for club Mahindra.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

In places, they claim it is a resort but it is actually a third party cheap hotel.

rajiv said...

hi i had by my stupid mistake applied for white studio appartment membership .immediately after few hrs i asked club mahindra people to kindly not to process my membership file as i am not interrested at all but despite this they did what they wanted.they have swolled mw hard earned money. almost a month is going 2 pass no refund yet . they say that first visit our properties and you might change your plans . pl help me out of this mess

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Rajiv, I assume you paid only one EMI or some initial payment and not the whole amount. White Studio is cheapest of all.

Not sure what legal actions you can take to recover the money. If it is just one EMI time and effort spent might not be worth.

Let me know your mail ID, I'll see if I can suggest something.

Rebellion said...

Very very informative post Nidhi, I'm really impressed! I landed here on a search for club mahindra. My search was only for one particular holiday but the post is useful bcoz I'm planning to take up RCI membership.

Frankly speaking, I'm not very clear on the subject but I'd like to ask you, is your post against Club Mahindra specifically or against RCI membership?

I'm actually planning membership to the Country Club who's clubbing an RCI peak season membership to me at a good price. Now, after reading your post, I'm getting a bit confused & doubtful. Does RCI charge ASF too? Can you help me on this please?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rebellion: Thanks. My post is very specific to Club Mahindra Life Membership only. I'm yet to analyse RCI membership related matters and have nothing to offer on that at this moment. Check with RCI for pricing details. Now that you know what all can go wrong, be extra cautious to ensure that you dont suffer such inconvenience there at RCI.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I think your write up is a bit biased, some problems that you have highlighted are not wrong though.
You are all of 23 and hence your take on life and investing in resorts is very different....however, as you grow older and with more responsibilities, you will start appreciating a resort like Club Mahindra and its facilities. I have been a member for 8 years now and am in White season but seldom have had a problem with getting a place of choice. Yes, you have to plan a bit in advance- atleast 2 months but so is the case to get a cheaper airfare as well. It is certainly not for impulsive traveler and as you become a family person, you cease to be impulsive as things need to be planned ahead.

And some of their resorts are quite brilliant (Coorg, Binsar, Munnar and Goa) and hence you feel that you have got your value - they treat you like a king at the resort and what more do you want.

So all those who are reading this, shrinidhi is giving you one point of view, do check all details before you enroll....its not that they cheat you...you readily sign in knowing about the annual charges that need to be paid and so on. So if you are ok, then go ahead.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Appreciate your comments.

There is no biasing involved. I felt huge difference between what their sales force promise and the ground reality. Hence this post, analysing the scheme listing pros and cons. I gain/loose nothing if anyone joins/doesn't join Club Mahindra. Readers are at their discretion to take an informed decision.

You're quite lucky to get confirmed booking and treated like a King. May people have commented here that they were not that lucky.

Their fine print is quite clear and there's nothing illegal in their business, but members often feel cheated due to what advertisements promise and what they end up getting.

Thanks again. Do read my latest post on Branding tips for Club Mahindra.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nidhi,
Went through your article. First of all i wouold like to ask you, have you experienced the services of Club Mahindra personally. Iam Member of Club Mahindra since last 4 years, frankly speaking since then meaning of holiday has changed for me and my family. Iam into business, before to this i never had that wonderful time with my family, however Club Mahindra had made it possible. I dont deny that i didnt go of holiday before joining Club Mahindra- But never had that wonderful time with my family. My kids never had such time before. We used to go and stay in a good hotel, go out in the morning for sightseing, come back tired and sleep. But at Club Mahindra Resorts my kids never go out - because they have so much to do within the resorts itself. Swimming, TT, lawn tanis vedio games gym and lot more. Resort acitvity team keep them busy in different activities. Last time when we went to GOA - they made so many new friends. Iam thankful to Club Mahindra for giving me such fantastic time with my family. Why am i earning its for my Family. And paying ASF (as i used to sepnd more than this amount before), i feel iam paying a very small cost, against such a wonderful time i spend with my family at CLUB MAHINDRA resorts. Readers - Mr. Shrinidi Hande has written his point of View, which he cannot impose on others. I do not care for any body except my Family, if
Club Mahindra is providing such wonderful holiday to my family- Then in that case, its the BEST holiday club for me.
No hard feelings Nidhi, you might have got some bad experience with Club Mahindra, But for me its the BEST.
Thanks
Mathew.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for sharing your experience here Mathew.

I'm glad you are extremely happy with Club Mahindra and wish other members similar experience. One question: Why is that some members get treated like king while others never get to enjoy their membership? On what factors they differentiate members? Why cant they commit some minimum service assurance to all members? Why is that so many people have commented here that they are not at all happy?

My review is totally based on the factual information available at the time of writing this post. Readers are recommended to use their discretion

Indoor activities like TT, video games etc are available everywhere. Why do one need to go all the way to a CM resort for that? (Just wondering...)

No hard feelings again. Readers-you're not bound to take my advice. Please Use your judgement.

Anonymous said...

Nidhi
this is your response to Mathew...dont understand why you are trying to find needle in haystack? 10-15 years down the line, I am going to ask you (if this blog is still alive) why TT, indoor activities are important...I mean you simply dont seem to get the feelings of family people....its seems as if you have been hired by somebody to sling mud at Club Mahindra...yes, there are some issues with it and I agree some of the things that you have suggested to improve service....but your stance is just too extreme. But then nobody in this world is totally perfect...so why singularly point out CM. And why is it that the good/ positive feedback does not find its way right at the top in this section?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Give me couple of days time. I'll be updating the review with positive feedback on top.(latest by 16th Aug) Trust me, I'm not paid for any of this. Blogging and business analysis is what I enjoy doing and this review is an outcome of that. I've not yet studied CM's competitors, so it may appear I'm targetting CM alone.

My primary concern still remains: What should I do if CM says "Sorry no vacancy" after paying such a huge money?

No offence is meant. I'm speaking purely based on theoratical probablities and factual information available.

sairitesh@yahoo.com said...

Hi Shrinidhi

In all quandry of SERVICE INDUSTRY ,you would never find any body 100% in customer satisfaction ,same holds true with CLUB MAHINDRA ......,MINOR ABBRATIONS ,HERE AND THERE ,on the contrary to your views,i found CLUB MAHINDRA SERVICE LEVELS FAR ,FAR AHEAD THAN most of the renowned brands.... being one of the oldest member from 1998... i have always found there service levels improving over the years

i would recommend people to join club and and enjoy holidays ,,,,

thanks SAIRITESH

Shrinidhi Hande said...

SAIRITESH, Agreed. Some tolerance is always possible. But consider this: If I say "you pay in advance for the cab but I cant assure you that I will send the cab...if possible I'll send one, else you're on your own, dont ask any refund..." How does that sound? There's lot of gap between 100% and 0%. Out of 25 years say 5-10 years a member fails to get bookings, that will erode any cost advantage one might be having by becoming life member...

Any comments?

Alfa Neuve said...

Dear Mr Nidhi

Its nice that you have strong views and you wish to propagate it through this medium, but do you ever understand the consequences?

You may be right partially about a company and its services, but maybe you should find out more through the company. Maybe they are striving to do better and breaking their backs trying their best to ensure the best for their customers.

As for Club Mahindra, they are already on an expansion phase with 6 more resorts in the pipeline. And then there is capacity expansion in terms of the number of rooms. As for lack of inventory, thats a big misconception. True that resorts like Munnar and Goa are generally overbooked because of its popularity, but there are other beautiful locations that people tend to sideline, and which typically do not get much of the bookings.

Remember, it does no good, if its some kind of vendetta. The Vice Chairman, Mr. Anand Mahindra is a venerable business person, and his vision of Mahindra Resorts was to provide a memorable experience to members. More than profits, he wants the Club Mahindra brand to reflect a wholesome, enjoyable family experience.

The benefits for a life-time member will only accrue and multiply manifold. Trust me, the experience and service is only going to get better and better.

The number of customers with unpleasant experiences is a very small percentage, but the team at Club Mahindra are constantly on their toes trying to bring that down to zero and ensuring the best experience overall.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dear Alfa,

Thanks for that detailed comment.

With all due respects to Anand Mahindra and his team, I have nothing personal against anyone.

When I wrote this simple analysis 7 months back it was another routine article and I had no idea one day it will top search engines and will upset some people who are quite happy with CM.

Let me belive that CM team is trying hard towards 100% customer satisfaction: My question is, why cant they provide me with some minimum assurance? Something like "If we cant give confirmed booking under so and so conditions we'll compensate you with this this and this". Without that assurance it is like gambling-I may get best holiday experience or I may not get anything at all.

If it can go wrong, chances are that it will go wrong. All I'm looking for is an answer: What do I do if I fail to secure confirmed booking?

Your statement: "The number of customers with unpleasant experiences is a very small percentage"

I request you to check out reviews about various club mahindra resorts on Mouthshut.com, a consumer review website. Also check http://www.mouthshut.com/product-reviews/Advice_on_Time_Share_Membership-925062944.html for what others have written about CM. I feel negative feedback is more than positive one and I dont want to take a risk. That simple.

Sandeep said...

I read Mr Hande's article and really enjoyed going through the strong reactions - whichever way they were. What Mr. Hande did was a piece by piece analysis of what you pay for the holidays. It sounded a little bit biased, to be honest, but many reactions were going to extremes.

We can go on arguing but we can not really dismiss the numbers. And the fact that this analysis has distilled out is that you pay more for these holidays and loose all the flexibility. The question is - are you really getting value for your money ? And this value can be measured differently by different people, as evident in the responses.

The real question is what alternatives would you consider if you have to spend the same amount for the value you want ?

And what this blog helps us is to consider those alternatives.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Got a supporting comment after quite a long time. Thanks for that Sandeep...

I only wrote my opinion and analysis. Readers are at their descretion to make their own judgement. Their Money, their choice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrinidhi,
First of all, thanks for making this attempt of posting comments of CM on the internet for the benefit of the people who wish to join. I cannot post my views now 'coz have just subscribed to their membership a day before. However,instead of posting your comments on the net, don't you think that if you are so sure about your research on CM's cheating tactics, it should come out in the open and be printed in the newspapers for all to read (especially those who do not have the privilege of surfing the net). Atleast through this, it might be possible that any of their MDs or authorised persons might give some clarifications on doubts like compensation , non-availability of rooms etc. By reading your comments, I am still unable to make my decision of going ahead or quitting, as there are a few people who have also given positive reviews. And if you are talking about the comparisons with other hotels providing holiday packages, I believe its only for a 3N/4D or 2N/3D and not more. Anyways, advise you to take up this matter into press or the TV-media who can actually manage to get some response from the higher authorities of CM.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I wish you get to enjoy maximum benefits at Club Mahindra and do not suffer any inconvenience. Please drop by and leave a comment after an year or so when you get to experience their service.

Print media gets lots of advertisments from Club mahindra and other Mahindra businesses, hence may not be interested in my article. Since their terms and conditions are clear, there's nothing illegal against which you can sue them. Members are knowingly falling to trap, mainly because they dont take fine print seriously or fall pray for the lucrative picture created by sales staff and fail to ask themselves what Plan B do they have if something goes wrong...

Ray Rajat Nath said...

I was interested in Club Mahindra,but your article was really illuminating.I am also a member of a time share with wide affiliation but getting reservation is tough.Most of the resorts are pretty far off so even if one saves some money on the accomodation one has to pay a fortune in taxi fares and one is forced to eat at their prohibively expensive restaurant.

Anonymous said...

A quick google search throws up some newspaper coverage on Mahindra Club

What they said in April 2005 to Business Line Newspaper
1. "has already set up 14 resorts in different parts of the country"
2. "plans to acquire a property in Sri Lanka"
3. "Mr Arun Nanda, Chairman of Club Mahindra Holidays, elaborated on the company's plans and said it was looking for tie-ups or acquiring properties in conformity with the regulations of other countries to expand its network abroad.
He said the US was an important destination for Club Mahindra."

one year later, in September 2006, they said (again in Business Line Newspaper)
1. "plans to set up theme-based resorts in Kumbalgarh in Rajasthan, Lonavala in Maharashtra, Kollam in Kerala and Corbett in Uttaranchal, expanding its resort offering to 19 from the existing 15"

One more year later , what is the truth now ? 19 resorts ? Resort in Sri Lanka ? Resort in US ?
Or as Srinidhi said in the first post ... 15 own resorts.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nidhi
Still awaiting to see the positive feedback earlier on in the posts as promised by you earlier (you had said latest 16th August)

Vishnu said...

Hi E Nidhi.

Your name is quite unique and also the way you described yourself, “A Professional Amateur” a perfect oxymoron if ever there was one.

I came across your blog dissuading people from going in for a Club Mahindra membership on the net and I wanted to share my views on it.

To begin with, I don’t think you have ever been on a Club Mahindra holiday. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and your post seems to be more on the basis of hear say and sans the benefit of experiencing the product.

I have been holding shares of the Mahindra group companies for many years and I must say that it has been a wise investment. My savings have increased several notches and I have received kudos from friends and family members about a good investment decision.

The reputation of the Mahindra group (the turnover numbers you have put in reinforces it) was one of the main factors that made me go in for a Club Mahindra membership. Any product from their stable would always put the customer and the customer’s interests ahead of everything else.

I have been a member with Club Mahindra since 2002 and I must say, that I am very satisfied with the product and the service I have been offered. After going through your post, I have come across certain factually incorrect statements from your side and I would like to correct your views on them.

1. Club Mahindra does not sell the promise of owning a resort for a week, by virtue of buying the product, a customer buys into the option of holidaying for 7 days a year for 25 years. What you get is one week every year and not ownership of the resort.
2. An inflation free holiday refers to the room rent alone. The cost of the membership covers the room rent component across the entire resort network (I have been receiving communication about new destinations being added to their network on a regular basis) for the duration of 25 years.
3. As you rightly pointed out, the annual subscription fee is based on the consumer price index and it does increase year on year. This definitely does pinch the pocket but the holiday experience has overshadowed this fee. I have holidayed 5 times at Club Mahindra resorts across the country and they are well maintained. On the whole, Chalta hai boss.
4. The point you made about the hotels and time share apartments is not quite right. The apartments in the resorts and quite roomy and my kids had a nice time running around and amusing themselves while it was raining outside. Had it been a hotel room, they wouldn’t have had enough space to move about and would have been frustrated. There are 3 types of apartments available in Club Mahindra resorts, you have the option of upgrading to a larger apartment than what you are eligible for. I did this during one holiday when my parents accompanied us. They have apartments that are inter connected. This gave us the necessary privacy and also ensured my family members were just a knock away. You also have the option of cooking in the apartments. All of these are not there in the case of hotel rooms.
5. Food is one of the most important part of your holiday, I noticed that special diet requirements like deserts without eggs, jain food etc are available at the resorts.
6. There are holiday seasons that are broken up into 4 types as mentioned by you. Club Mahindra sends out communication on a regular basis to members showing availability across resorts for the next 3 months. This clearly gives me as a member the chance to see where accommodation is available and book accordingly. This gives me the chance to plan my holiday well in advance and there is no disappointment.
7. In any kind of a hospitality set up, you will have to pay more if there is an increase in the number of people. The apartments in Club Mahindra resorts have sofa cum beds and can sleep 2 kids comfortably, this is not the case in the hotels that you are referring to.
8. Whilst the Club Mahindra membership gives you the option for holidaying 7 days in a year, there is no compulsion that 7 days have to be taken at one stretch. You can go in for a shorter break if needed (will come in handy when you are holidaying with your mother in law perhaps). You can also accumulate your week and avail it during the subsequent year.
9. I have holidayed 3 times so far in different Club Mahindra resorts, each holiday has been memorable and all of us had an absolute blast. I have also sent my friends and relatives when they wanted to go. We have come back and told many stories to our friends and relatives about the great time we had. The range of extra curricular activities on offer along with the entertainment options made sure that there was something new and exciting to look forward to every single day. The superior service levels and energetic attitude of the staff, has ensured that each holiday has created everlasting memories.
10. Another interesting point you put forth is about the membership duration of 25 years. I am happy with the duration, an option of holidaying every year for the next 25 years, this is good enough for me, but there could be consumers who would be happier with a longer duration.
11. A holiday club membership provided by Club Mahindra is for those who want quality and don’t mind paying the premium it deserves. Take one holiday with Club Mahindra and you will realize what I am talking about.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Ray Rajat Nath:
Yes. Travel and food expense will be quite high, primarily because you have no alternative.

Anonymus: Probably their plans didn't workout...

Anonymus 2: Consider leaving your identity behind. I may not choose to answer anonymus comments hereafter.

I have updated the post asking people to use their judgement. I've also added adequate disclaimer and have said few people are quite happy with CM. Have added in the very first paragraph that individual experiences may vary. If you're expecting me to change the title itself to Go For Club Mahindra etc, sorry.

Vishnu: Yes I've not taken their holiday and this review is based on the information provided to me while I was considering a membership. I felt I shouldn't join and this post explains the logic that went behind it. I cant risk lakhs of rupees when no one can give me an answer to my very basic question:

"what do I do if I fail to get bookings year after year, despite planning months in advance".

While I dont expect CM to get me confirmed booking 15 days in advance, CM should expect me to book 6-12 months in advance. There has to be a mechanism to ensure all members get their dues or atleast get compensated appropriately.

I expect an answer to the above concern from anyone who recommends Club Mahindra.

Clarification and answers:
I do NOT dissuade people. They are requested to use their own judgement and are free to make their own validations and enquieries before reaching a decision.

Experience as a shareholder and experience as a lifetime member are two different fields altogether.

Pointwise response:

1. Perfect. But their own promotiona material says "own a week at our resorts 7 days every year". Since it is subject to availablity and other terms, above statement is misleading.
2. Doesn't make sense...Why cant Cm declare this in their ads? Only room rent is inflation free. We'll charge you proportionately extra in terms of ASF if inflation goes up and if prices fall, we'll not pass any advantage to you... For me as a whole how much I spent on the holiday counts...

Also can you address the comment above about print news 2 years ago regarding CM growth plans?
3. Ok.
4. Good that you're getting the rooms and resorts of your preference. What am I supposed to do if I can't get? How advance do I have to book to get confirmed booking?
5. Good. And pricing?
6. Thanks for that input. What am I supposed to do if the information says "All resorts are full for the season...Try next year"?
7. Yes.
8.I'm aware of that. Min is 2 days...
9. Excellent.
10. Personal views vary. 25 years is not life membership for me.
11. -Sure-Try that, At your risk

All: Since this post has crossed 50+ comments, some comments are quite similar and repetitive in nature. I may not respond specifically to such comments every time and also may not choose to respond to anonymus comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I agree with all of u, THe customer care is very bad in CLub mahindra, They are just cheating people and taking away the money. They create so much problems even after we cancel the membership. They are so cheap

uday savur said...

Dated: August 10, 2007

From
UDAY SAVUR
Office: Manager Administration - SHCIL ,44/1Mehra Estate,LBS Marg,Vikhroli-W, Mumbai- 4000 79.
Residence :Flat No8, BldgNo 2, Mineendia CHS, Off Mahakali Road, Andheri - E, Mumbai- 4000 93.
Resi Tel : 02228388578. Office Tel : 02225795305. Cell: 9820094177.
Email: udaysavur@rediffmail.com, udaysavur@stockholding.com

To
The Consumer Services Grievance Cell
Mumbai

Sub:Compliant/Grievance-Registration with Club Mahindra Holidays-Membership No 308577.
We wish to bring to your notice and register a complaint about the modus operandi operated by Club Mahindra Holidays for memberships and the subsequent After-sale Service status of the customer once he is in their clientele dragnet.

In response to a full page Mumbai Mirror advertisement for the Club Mahindra Holidays, a sales executive Mr. Vaibhav approached our residence on a Sunday evening for a PowerPoint presentation on the holiday scheme which happens to be a 25 years bonding with the company for our holidays arrangement.

The executive having explained the merits of the Club also only the rosy side of it leaving out the major future liabilities leaving unexplained, went ahead to explain the incentives attached with their package schemes which included a Samsung DVD Recorder+Rs 8000 worth accessories free all given to understand a cost of Rs.29000(MRP)+ odd amount, against the same day registration besides some other couple of international couple of weeks free international holidays as against the package we had opted for under the Red Studio Apartment membership which meant only a single room accommodation provided to us during the peak seasons for a total value of Rs 2.49 lacs payment. He also mentioned it as an extended facility provided we join the same day, since the next day the rates were to be hiked up by few thousands. The down payment advised us was around Rs.38000+ against which we made a HDFC Bank Credit Card payment of around Rs.29000 & the balance in debit card/ chq payment against the balance amount. This was done by his swiping the card in front of us & collecting a Xerox of the same, which we were told would be serving good for that debit only. After having debited our Credit Card , the executive went on to our future obligations we are expected to pay which was majoring around the Annual Maintenance charges of Rs 7200+ & odd which would increase with the dollar rate, & renewal fees after 3 years. We were also not explained the other currency exchange rate differentials & other up gradation facilitation differentials which we are supposed to pay in case of change or upgrading our packages.

We had been assured of getting the DVD Recorder within 15 to 20 days of time, and that we had nothing to loose, since we could later opt for either continuing the scheme by advising them the remaining payments either through balloon payment or installments of our choice of 1, 2, or 5 years which would be conveyed to them later after we have enjoyed their free stay of holidays satisfactorily. A month later we recd the DVD recorder through their personal courier, & subsequently a membership package detailing the contract specifics & surprisingly the debit split-ups of the remaining amount spread over 5 years of installments of Rs 5200/- per month which would be debited to our HDFC Credit Card Account, which they had swiped the card. Having contacted him again for clarification it was given to understand & confirmed, that they will not debit our cards for next 3 months & only after having received our full satisfaction report of having enjoyed the holidays that they will initiate the deduction at our choice of installment phase outs.

But the following next week we were aghast to see our credit card debited for Rs.5,200/- after which we tried making calls frantically & other means through emails for which there are no personalized replies except auto mail replies of getting back in 48 hrs for the same. We had approached the HDFC Bank who also retorted that they were helpless & we will have to either cancel the credit card or approach Club Mahindra to stop the payment & reverse the already paid Ist installment. All such organizations have a fantastic foolproof coverup way of dealing impersonal with the acquired clientele leaving them more frustrated & disgruntled lot to give up their anger pursuing futile, once having entered into such unhealthy tie-ups leaving to fate. They do not waste their valuable manpower staff on but automate standards or outsource it to mechanical robots to do the needful, & preserve them for luring more add-ons to their client lists. Since they know that they can defy the retention strategy used for regular products for continuity in such case of life memberships, having paid upfront for life, & assurance of non drift to competitors without incurring major losses.

Having got into the fray already, we were wanting to avail a holidays with them for Bangkok trip also to know & experience their services to which the executive promised us some bypassed trip of some other client whose passport was rejected for Rs 18,000/-for me and my wife & Rs. 8,500 for my 8 yr old daughter initially to which we agreed & asked him to book for the slot of 11.08.2007 TO 16.08.2007 well in advance. Till 06.08.2007 we had no signs of positive confirmation of neither the airfares nor their room booking confirmations from them. Then it was casually revealed to us by the same person that there were additionally hidden costs were another Rs.13500/- Taxes & Rs 3500/- Daughters stay expenses totaling up to Rs 43,500/- which was the normal package costs which are incurred for a 4 days holidays to Bangkok. Having aborted that offer, we asked them to book for the Goa Package 4 days only having arranged for our air booking on our own, they could not assure us till 11.08.2007. But having both the trips gone sour, we managed to go ahead with our trip to Goa through my office booking through the Sterling Resort arrangements last minute booking at a far off resort for which we had to spend a bomb on the local travel in Goa.

We have requested the Club Mahindras to reverse the first installment, for which there was no response from any of them & also to HDFC Bank Credit Card to make a stop payment for the same.

We wish to highlight this cheap methodology of marketing dynamics, attracting the client memberships by revealing the half information of the schemes & our future obligations we are expected to pay in addition to this initial fat sum of monies which we think is an insurance against all our 25 yrs of travel & comfortable holidays local and abroad. These supposed to be customer friendly service providers display contrary after sales services to the promises made & are hand in hand with the other service providers, bankers and financial outfits for making the customers more helpless in dire situations of this kind, who want to correct their impulsive drag-ins to their schemes.

This should be highlighted that such major business houses like Mahindras get involved in such Super Specialty hospitality services for diversification and the modus operands they adopt are highly detrimental to the consumerism by diligently adopting a combination of only revealing the much appreciated rosy & other merits, pros and not revealing the cons & demerits which outweigh the former. This leads to mistrust and shaken confidence of the investor who is always taken for granted by all the service providers whether it’s the bankers, financial institutions, entertainment, or any other industry product or service providers. A question arises, that the marketing strategy of luring the clientele into the dragnet differs from organization to organization, but the major common thread of having a divergent pre & post sale strategies of customer servicing, & the feeling of a cheated scapegoat make, & loss of piece of mind having experienced by the customer even after spending all the upfront & unforeseen contingent liability contracts entered into for his anticipated assured comfort and luxury.

Having felt cheated over about the whole thing, I wish to file a compliant to your good offices, whom we look forward as the custodians, repository of our consumer faith, & insurance against cheats, to take appropriate steps to restore our promised justifying valueworths service against our payments made ; & if possible make good for some compensatory liabilities penalizing such organizations who misuse consumer trust & confidence, which in the long run would spell restore it positively for the social cause also.

Looking forward positively for helping us to reform our status & also alert the other investor groups through your media or channels to highlight this malpractices & taken for granted-laid back attitudes of these anti-consumer service blogs on the services industries. I can be contacted at the following contacts for any further clarifications or specifics of the same.

Thanking you.
Yours Truly,
Uday Savur

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Uday, we regret for the inconvenience caused. Hope your mail triggers some response...

Keep us posted. All the best.

Anonymous said...

thanks for amazing review.. your review about CM has helped me make my decision. The booklets and brochers looked so nice.. i was giving this club a thought.. it better to pay tour company everytime you travel.. thats leaves us so of choice and of course better rates..

Thanks again !
God Bless You !
Nehal

veena said...

Dear Mr. Shrinidhi
Just yesterday I met one of the Holiday conulstant of Club Mahindra holidays. After reading your comments i have decided not to go for the life time membership. I can as well put the membership fee in shares or FD and use the interest for my travel needs. Anyways thanks
Veena

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Nehal and Veena, thanks for sharing your thoughts...

Bhupesh said...

I am Club Mahindra member my observation of the membership are as follows....

1) Wrong target customer, It is a luxury item sold to (higher?) middle class claiming that you are paying middle class price for 4+ star facilities.

2) High Growth expectation and High profit margin expectation (Company seems to achieve both of these before their awaited IPO). This forces company to spend high amount of advertisement and commission so value to the customer reduces.

3) Breakup of holiday up to minimum two night trip, must be causing low utilization and higher demand of weekends so unavailability.

4) Extra purple season (RCI does not have purple season) makes availing holidays in high demand season very costly and difficult.

5) Club Mahindra marketing staff does not hesitate to exploit lack of knowledge of Timeshare concepts of their customer.

6) Their booking system is not much transparent to the members.

But I believe Club Mahindra should be the best timeshare company in India, but still it is not good enough for value conscious customer and for others booking problem will make them unhappy.

For more lively one to one discussion with other members one can visit yahoo group.
(clubmahindra@yahoogroups.com)

Can you please give a refer this group in your this blog post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Those points were really helpful. Thanks Bhupesh. Good sum up...

Sohini said...

Hi all,

The one worst decision of our lives-club m membership! A farce, a joke, a scam, its comparable money going down the drain...Probably drain is better! Hand it to them, they do sell well that people like us are fooled and impressed. If you manage to get them on phone, you are put on hold 29 min(my experience) and then told that availability is not there..Hello! one cant plan holiday six months in advance... Most of their resorts are understaffed and to say the services are poor is an understatement...Stay Away! Donate if you wish to but dont add to the numbers at Mahindra...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sohini, We regret for what you went through and hope others wont suffer like that...

Anonymous said...

Hi Nidhi,

Just want to congratulate you on this well researched article.
I see that some of the readers say that they had pleasant experience with Club Mahindra.
But, I feel that point you are trying to put is that even if one customer faces any issue, it holds meaning.
There could be 99% with pleasant experience, but what if I am one of those in remaining 1%.
Money is hard earned and just by saying that 99% had good experience, club mahindra cannot shrug off their responsibility of remaining 1% with bad experiences.
Its like saying that i have failed in 1 subject, so what, I have passed in remaining. Failing even in one means fail, not pass.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks.
Yes, when lakhs of rupees are involved, the risk profile needs to be very low and there has to be a foolproof mechanism to see that everyone get the minimum promissed service.

Manish said...

This is very informative article.
My own personal experience , I was offered this deal around 2.5 yrs back when I was about to get married and looking for honeymoon options. At the time CM came around and offered me free honeymoon package to one of their resorts . It looked good but

1) There could always be better hotels with less rents and more accessible and ofcourse it also enhances the quality of stay ( because every hotel would want the guests the next time) , provides more competition.

2) and what if CM screwed up my honeymoon like backing out / bad service ..... its gonna be my only honeymoon to remember .

3)Can I and my wife always find leave when CM can give us our free holiday. We cannot do that , we want our freedom to choose when and where we are going on a vacation.

and lastly does anything in life comes free ?

sushmita said...

Interesting post. Can i quote you on it in a story for Money Today magazine?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Manish,

Thanks for the comments and your points are valid indeed

Sushmita: Thanks and yes you can quote me.

KinKin from Mumbai said...

Hi shrinidhi,

I WANT ALL READERS OF YOUR BLOG TO READ MY REVIEW ABOUT ACTUAL PER NIGHT COST ON CLUB MAHINDRA. Read
www.mouthshut.com/review/Advice_on_Time_Share_Membership-123078-1.html for full details and understand what's ACTUAL per night cost for Club Mahindra.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Kinkin,
I've read and rated your review. Good one...

Manjusha said...

last weekend i went to kodai coakers villa with my family. this was my first experience with club mahindra. i say it was an 50-50 experience.the view from the resort is breath taking. the rooms and the facilities were good.but the maintanence was bad. the people cleaning the rooms were serving food during meal time. somekind of multitasking was going on. also the room was not cleaned properly, the kettle had a sediment,the toilet was not cleaned.they tried to serve a lot of items during lunch and dinner but clearly one could say that all that was served was not freshly cooked...due to which we had a tummy upset.
after going thru this article and my own personal experience even i have doubts about taking up the life time membership

Shrinidhi Hande said...

To the "Anonimous" commentors: I had to delete your comments as they had links to some pages selling stimulant drugs. Such comments will not be approved.

Manjusha, thanks for sharing your experience here.

MHRIL said...

Hi,

I fully agree with you.

MHRIL is doing what they are not suppose to do, at least what I have never thoght Mahindra as a group would do.

Very clearly the positive comments seems to be coming from their present or ex-employees. I have worked with them and can recognise a few names. For example Vishnu is in thir Finance department.

They are definitely overselling and not having enough resorts. Also as there are seasons classification, they may not be selling in the correct ratio of the same.

They are only trying to maximise on theor existing resorts and have added rooms in every resort without adhering laws, CRZ, environment, etc or to the minimum common facilities to be provided.

And now with IPO on their mind I am sure they will just keep selling not worrying about anything else so that they can show good results and have a successful IPO.

Well god help the Mahindras and for the Club Mahindra members I am not sure who can help them as they will keep paying ASF which increases year on year and not be sure of getting holidays while CM sells them to non-members or gifts the same away to prospective members.

It would be good if someone official responded to this and clarified their position. By not doing so they are agreeing to what is being said in the blog.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

MHRIL, those comments were very much informative. Thanks.

Yes, I wish some one responds officially.

Anonymous said...

Hi Srinidhi,

Nice to see that you studied club mahindra in such detail...As per my understanding goes, if someone wants to surrender the memebership, he gets nothing out of it. Almost all the money paid goes to club mahindra. In this case, if people approach consumer forum, will this help in getting back their money if they wish to cancel the membership.

SAFDAR.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

SAFDAR, I'm doubtful if consumer forum can get your money back. Fine print clearly states you can only send someone else in you place and can never get anything back...

Even if they fail to get you a cofirmed booking, they have no compensation/refund policy.

Yogesh said...

Hi Shrinidhi,
Your analysis is very interesting and informative. I agree with you.I was seriously considering taking CM membership but thanks to blogs like yours and mouthshut.com, i have decided not to take the membership. I also did a Net present value (NPV) analysis and CM turns out to be much costlier proposition when compared to spending even Rs.10,000 /- per night for 6 nights over next 25 years. So why get restricted and trapped with Club Mahindra when you can avail holidays from other providers. Club Mahindra sales guys are fooling people by forcing them to sign up as soon as they finish their powerpoint presentations. Thanks to blogs like these, people are saved from parting with their har earned money.

- YK

Shrinidhi Hande said...

YK, can you explain the NPV analysis you did?

Thanks for the comment.

Swadeshi said...

You are right all Indian companies cheat consumers. We must stop these imperialist capitalists and go back to License Raj. Lets not get swayed by competition and have only PSUs around. Life was much better then, you didnt have to work hard, have lifetime employment and enjoy the benefits of bureaucrazy

Nishu Kohli said...

All,
I must say i am writing at this site really frustrated with this thugs : club mahindra that is.I fell in their trap : and big one at that : red season studio membership in 2006,and soon,reality prevailed when effort after effort of mine to get a booking in resort of my choice went in vain - even when I was trying 2 months in advance- while at the time of purchase,this guy was most confident in saying that 10-15 days in advance of your holiday dates, in your own season would get you a booking.And RCI,which was another major motivation in my taking clubmahindra was an even bigger hoax.Bookings at RCI are like you are sitting on a timebomb- you call them up,and most certainly you won't have your choice available even months in advance,and if they give you some stupid offseason choice(even though I am a red season member),if you call again after another 5 minutes,they'd say that even that resort is gone !! I have paid more than a lakh in membership fees and have not been allowed to utilize a penny's value,and wisely have stopped the remaining fees.But my repeated calls to them to refund my money have yielded nothing but callous representatives and executives denying in the name of company policy - as if it wasn't their policy to provide me (mostly atleast if not always) with my choice of holidays ? A friend was willing to buy my membership (i explained him the whole scenario of the quality of the membership,but he still is willing to take a chance),but they are not even transferring,saying till i pay entire amount,they won't transfer.Considering the huge membership fees,neither me nor my friend would be able to pay off that money upfront (my friend has to pay off on top of the remaining membership fees,whatever i have paid to clubmahindra aswell!!),and the bunch of crooks don't allow this saying till i pay off my dues- funny that they call the remaining amount as my dues -while it is clubmahindra owing me all that money (and the interest on that !!). I am not sure what to do now - consumer forum is something i keep thinking of - but i hope that all the clubmahindra hit ppl over here get together here and that way ,the case would be stronger. I am willing to die to bring these thugs to book :) ..herez calling clubmahindra sick ppl to unite :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Swadeshi,

Can you please elaborate your view?
I'm not against privatization or allowing competition...

Nishu,
We're sorry for the stress and pain and loss you went through...
Hope others wont suffer such pains.

Anonymous said...

i am an unfortunate member of this club due to tall promises given by the salesman. I was cheated by this company which also is a breach of condition of the contract. I have asked them to cancel my membership and return my money paid so far but after initially acknowledging my email they have stopped answering leave alone replying. I would be grateful if I could get the email address of Mr Anand Mahindra

Ravindra said...

I am an unfortunate prey to this club's aggressive and false promises. After realising that I was duped on promised gifts I asked them to cancel my membership on the basis of breach of condition of contact. After initial reply they have stopped acknowledging my emails let alone replying. I want to contact Mr. Anand Mahindra directly. Could you please give me his email address.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if anyone has been fortunate enough to cancel his/her membership of club mahindra on account of being cheated on the tall promises given by their salespersons. for the past 6 months i have been struggling to get my money paid so far but to no avail. i want advise on how to make them act and pay my money back as i can ill afford to waste so much money

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I do not have emaill address of Anand Mahindra. Sorry. (Even if you manage to get official address it is most likely to be manned by his staff and message may never reach him)

Ravindra and other 2 annonymus commentors: I hope some other readers here may drop a comment helping you out.

Sandy said...

This looks more like a "commie-congregation" to me :-)

I have been a CM member for 3 years, and have been using a friends membership for 2 years before that. It is outstanding value provided
1. You vacation with family (its perfect for small kids, great to take extended families like parents, in-laws, brothers family etc)
2. You need to use at least 5 days a year (this will require some planning, its not a hotel after all).

Yes there are loads of issues - no transparnecy on sale of rooms to corporates / groups, older rooms not in great shape, having to book long in advance etc etc but for those who are new to these pin-pricks all I can say is "welcome to India" ... everything is evolutionary, learn to grow with it. Or else you'll resemble a returning NRI.

A few other things that go for them .... I;ve been to Varca beach Goa 6 times in the past 4 years (we are a family of beach bums). Also been to Coorg and Munnar ... the rooms are super, the service is awesome, food is real cheap if you take their package, property is very well maintained and kids have a blast.

I too complain to them regularly and need to twist their arms to get my way many times ... again ... start learning to do it in India or else leave and return in another 15-20 years when we have evolved.

Bottomline - the customer isking and you cannot fool all of the people all of the time .... CM's membership will not be growing if they were even half as bad as majority of the blog seems to imply.

Just wanted to provide a balancing perspective ...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sandy,

It is great to know that you're quite happy with your club Mahindra membership.

Yes, some of the indian traders often break their promises, try to cheat...But Club Mahindra being a big corporate, is expected to show a higher obligation towards its commitment...

Regarding your statement: "CM's membership will not be growing if they were even half as bad as majority of the blog seems to imply"

Membership has grown mainly because of misleading promises made by sales staff. Check how many members have come through referrals. Or give existing members an option to exit and offer proportionate refund-check how many people will surrender their membership...

Bloggers usually write their personal opinion and experience and observation and are more likely to highlight negative side of itas they wont have much commerical intent. Whereas commercial websites will have a business motive and will always try to create a good picture by writing only positive stuff.

Let me know if there's anything else I can clarify.

Nishu Kohli said...

Hi,
I request ppl to form a combined case against club mahindra,to get your money back,and bring club mahindra to book.Please contact me,as i am a big victim of theirs,and want my money back.For those,who are planning to become members,my advice - DON"T FALL IN THEIR TRAP -- THEY ARE THE MOST BOGUS COMPANY ON THE PLANET.
regards
Nishu Kohli

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dear Nishu Kohli,
There're Club Mahindra member communities in Orkut which you can make use of to meet others who might be facing similar situation.

If you're serious consider filing a case of cheating at a police station and check how things go on.

Nitin said...

Hi,

Thanks for your post.

I have recently committed the folly of signing up for the Zest membership. To my dismay upon talking / discussing with the company's customer care, a picture diametrically opposite to what the sales man painted is emerging.

He had told me the following:
1. The food for a couple at a resort for a day will cost Rs. 350 inclusive of all taxes. (Actually it is Rs. 1200).
2. He had told me that for the 1st year I will get 1 weekend, 2nd year 2 weekends and so on.(Actually one can get only 1 weekend for entire tenure of 10 years.)
3. He told me that Zest resorts are exclusively for Zest members. (I found that Zest is sharing the properties with CM in Ooty and Kodai, I don't know how they will accommodate all the members).
4. There are at least 2 - 3 more such items where I was absolutely mis-informed.

I have told them to refund my money as I have not availed any of their facilities or vouchers yet. I really do hope that it comes through.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Nitin,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Unethical Sales force seems to be the root cause of all these problems...

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody,

I had a very regretful experience with Country Club India similar to some experience of Club Mahindra Members.

Country Club India Ltd - http://www.countryclubindia.net/home.html is claiming to have RCI affiliation and called me and wife for a presentation and enticed to take membership through credit card payment with lot of promises. Later they even manipulated the credit card charge slip to their convenience to secure money after finding out the initial credit card payment was going beyond the credit limit in the card & got declined and then I had to pay the balance amount via other means having got into the fray. They offered facilities via tie up with 2 other clubs in the city which turns out to be a fake promise. They offered a piece of Land in their club premises around 25 KM from Bangalore city, which is also fake.

After waiting for 2 months, as I was not receiving any of their facilities or promises not honoured, I requested for refund of money. But they just don't reply for my requests in email. Later I found lot of complaints and fraud carried out by them in the below sites of ebay and mouthshut.

Please see the complaints below.
http://forums.ebay.in/thread.jspa?threadID=600000192&tstart=0&mod=1140672267084
http://www.mouthshut.com/product-reviews/The_Country_Club-925050374-page-1.html

I am exploring the ways to get the refund.

It is surprising how these guys are able to continue to cheat the people.

Sanjeev said...

Nice article. Any finance professional will tell you that annual interest cost of Rs. 2,76,000 works out to a minimum of 30000 per year even if you put this mney in bank fixed deposit. Rs. 30000 is enough for you to have a nice vacation at your choice of location and date anywhere in the country !

Sanjeev

esskaycee said...

I agree to certain facts highlighted by shrinidhi. Their marketing policy is not very transparent and devious. When I joined two years ago, they offered me Jet Airways vouchers worth 10k and one week free stay at their resort. Well the 10k vouchers never saw the light of the day even after paying hte minimum amount required to be paid in order to claim the freebies, until I made had to write three times to their head office in Chennai and also had to make big noise (including some choicest #@$%!&*) to their local mumbai office. As for the one week free stay, when I called them to claim it, they conveniently steered me away saying it was offered by RCI. I called RCI and they said CM space was not available and I could avail some other resort for additional payment. Again big noise and letter writing to CM Chennai office did the trick.

But on the other hand, CM operations guys are extremely good at their job and once you land at any of their resorts, they make sure you have a great time.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anonymous: Thanks for sharing your experience on Country Club. Some of the readers who wanted to know if COUntry club is better than CM might get an answer from your experience...

Sanjiv: Yes, your observation is true.

esskaycee, thanks for the comment. What is the use of an excellent operational team if you never get to go to the resorts (I mean when you dont get confirmed booking what do you do???)

Vikrant said...

Hi - Just bought the membership yesterday - the red one - only one real purpose - to use the RCI membership - because it is most useful for holidaying abroad where some of the good hotels abroad are really quite expensive- of course the reason I bought the red membership was because most of the RCI resorts are tagged red the whole year so other membership levels are unlikely to ever be accomodated
Had seen their resort in Goa - so if in India will stick to some of the better resorts - given that the Taj Hotels rates are approx 20 K per day during peak season ( and would likely be closer to around 60-80k per day) - the cost of their rooms would work out to around 20k (as of 2008 and will be close to 50k per week in the 25th year from now) -
so there is cost saving there - the thing to consider is this - are you somebody for whom holidaying is important - and you are not a budget traveller
This business makes money - and will continue to do so - the only risk to take is on the availability ie whether you will get the booking when you want it or not - the people I asked - who were red members said that was not much of an issue - of course with the kind of work schedules they have they usually will holiday whenever they get a chance so it is possible that they booked during the off seasons and not the peak seasons

Nikhil said...

Dear Shrinidhi,

I have taken membership in June 2007. Paid Rs. 35000/= so far. I realized shortly how I am fooled. All the promises made by sales person are denied by Member relation people. It is impossible to use free holidays (Special offer), air tickets and Gift coupons ( Free holidays) as assured by them. Realizing that I am being fooled I applied for cancellation in September month. Now they say I will not get any refund.

I have not used any of there facility, air tickets, not a single day holiday…..etc. Will I get money back?

I can see several such complains and worried about my refund. I can not see any e-mail addresses so that we can communicate. My e-mail id is nik_65@yahoo.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Vikranth,
I wish you good luck and hope you'll have a great experience with CM. Do comeback and tell us about your experience once you take their holiday.

RCI membership is for only few years I guess. Some people have commented here about lots of flaws in that as well.

Also I am really not sure if you can compare Taj Hotels and CM.

Anyway all the best.

Nikhil,
I am sorry, I am no position to help you in getting your refund. Try selling it on ebay or to someone else at a discount.

Anonymous said...

Very good information , Keep it up.

shobhit said...

I totally agree with your view about the club mahindra's ...they generally go for mall surveys and ask people to fill up the forms...and the respective people are called some place for a presentation...and on reaching there you find out that its some private travel planner....this is my experience which i had 19th oct.....its very sad for club mahindra they are into a kind of forgery now and its even worse to see the plight of indian traveler, how holidays turn to disasters.

shobhit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashish said...

Dear friends,
I wish I would have visited this blog before joining CM, sales Rep made all sort of falls promises to me she told me that I will be getting four return tickets to any destination in India, I received tickets however only one way four tickets now they are saying they were promising four one way only and there must have been some misunderstanding from my side where as I left there Malaysia offer for two because I cannot go without taking my children along and was about to leave without buying holidays, at that time she and her Manager said they have taken special permission for me and if I purchase the holiday today I will be getting holiday plus return air tickets for any place in India and now they say all my choice destinations are full and I will be getting only one way ticket. They have guts to lie in your face. CM really sucks

With Regards
Ashish

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thanks for a well written post. I am being a club mahindra member I can see all the problems.

Booking a resort in Club Mahindra is extremly difficult, if you are a member. I am not kidding. A few months back I tried to book in their Munnar facility. It is a perfect non-season (First week of July) and am holding a purple membership ! Their call center claimed that there is no accomodation available. Then I posed myself as a non-member and called the facility directly. The receptionist there said rooms were indeed available. I went a little further and told that I need booking for 15 of my team members. And don't be surprised, they still had the bookings available !!!

I have a strong feeling that many of the Indian companies have "cheating" as an important part of their business plan. Club Mahindra is surely one among those companies.

CM used list their affliate properties as their own. Masuri was one among them. Quality of their Masuri property, in my opinion, was lower than that of a normal 2-star one.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dear all, glad to see this post receiving more than 100 comments. I'll analyze all these comments in a different post soon.

Anonymus: Thanks.

Shobit, Yes, the difference between what salespeople promise and ground reality is, is the primary cause for all the pain. They need to correct their approach.

Ashish, thanks for sharing your experience and alerting others and we regret for the inconvenience you faced.

Anonymus: Yes, lack of transparency is another key factor shared by many readers here.

Nishu Kohli said...

Folks,
Again calling to unite and file a single case against these crooks club mahindra. I have 1 lakh plus locked with them for over an year now :( .. Mail me at nishu_kohli@hotmail.com ,and we could take it on from there

lavkesh said...

Hi Srinidhi,

I am Lavkesh. nice review article. Just few days back I got club Mahindra offer and I denied to accept but I did n't read ur review article. Nice decision. One more thing they have offered 3D & 2N stay free at any resort across india, what do u say abt it will they give accomodation. reply...

Bye...

Anonymous said...

Where do you stay, I want to meet you in person and understand. Just notes might not be positive. People might have greviences on personal front and mess up the entire lot.

Anonymous said...

Where do you stay, I want to meet you in person and understand. Just notes might not be positive. People might have greviences on personal front and mess up the entire lot.

If you choose to delete this, then your comments will not be valid. I do not want to show my identity.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Nishu,
I wish you goodluck. Will highlight your comment in my next post. Stanby.

Lavkesh, try your luck at that free accomodation. Tell us if you get positive response from them. All the best.

Anonymous: You do not want to disclose your identity and want me to mention where I leave? Sorry. I do not have anything to discuss in person. Drop a comment whatever you have got to say.

Meanwhile see if you can elaborate on your words: "Just notes might not be positive. People might have greviences on personal front and mess up the entire lot"

I wont delete your comment. Do not worry.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hande,
This is extremely unfortunate that you had to seek your blog identity to tarnish the corporate image of a leading industry player. And Im surprised that a business analyst can get fooled for a proposition that involves serious thinking and deliberation and when did we allow the sales force to take over our senses and convince us of losing our money on a proposition. Doesnt it leave us thinking on who is a bigger fool?
And while you have gathered your bits of knowledge on the company, its extremely obvious that you donot carry any information on the timeshare industry and its dynamics and therefore the bitterness in your experience.

Though you've been able to influence decision making powers of other people, it would just be sad that you robbed them of a world class holidaying experience as I did and a lot of them I knew did!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Please be informed that my post is an independent third party observation of the business model adopted by Club Mahindra and highlights the drawbacks in it, which if ignored may lead to severe disappointment to the members. I am not associated with Club Mahindra or its parent company in any way (such as but not limited to member, competitor, employee, promoter etc). My disclaimer is very clear that this is my personal opinion and readers should use their own judgement/verification. If possible give specific responses to the concerns I’ve raised and to comments other members have written sharing their problems… How do you call that a world class holiday experience?

Anonymous said...

May I ask which 'service-experience' in India are you totally happy with - ICICI credit cards ? HDFC home loans ? Maruti service centre ? Citibank personal loans ? Airtel mobile setvice ? BSNL broadband ? You new home builder ? new TV, fridge purchased ??

For all these, you need to go with your eyes wide open, seek a lot of info, take a trial if possible (CM offers you days .. try it out and then do the math and make a decision).

Bottomline, if you bash CM, you can get pretty much bash all the co's I mentioned above ... and a lot more.

And please - do not blame the poor sales person earning his living on commission or the corporate who's paying them their salary for selling .... blame yourself for getting into it with eyes closed or semi-closed.

Bye !

PS: And for the 'older' members, this is a tranferable membership .. sell your membership and redeem your money ... if you bought it a couple of years ago, you can even make a neat profit !

Anonymous said...

i am totally on ur side.I hold a red studio apartment but to book a holiday ,I have to do it 6months earlier.The apartments are also very simle with nothing to say of 5star facility.Since I am a member they dont provide us an apartment with a view.It is like as though they want to get over with us that too after paying so much of money.I am totally disgusted with Club Mahindra nd would not recommend it to anybody.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anonymous 1:

Money involved in Club Mahindra is relatively huge-so we need to be more informative and cautious here compared to a mobile connection.

Regarding selling the membership:
Why cant club Mahindra allow surrendering of membership and give direct refund to members? Currently onus is on the member to hunt for a buyer, negotiate a price and then approach CM for transfer. Assume I'm extremely unhappy with CM, can I ever sell it to someone if I tell the truth: I'm selling because their service is very poor? If I have to sell in all probablity I'll have to lie to the prospect (that their service is good, I'm selling because of personal reasons)-That will be compromising on my credibility.

Why cant CM give a member direct refund and sell it on its own?

Every profession has ethics-salesmen need best of them. It is possible to fool everyone once or one person all the time. It is not possible to fool all people all the time. Hiding material information is outright fraud.

Also thanks for agreeing with me indirectly that CM service is bad and their salesmen mislead.

Anonymous 2: Thanks for sharing your experience and agreeing

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 again ... I think your first para pretty much summarised this entire blog. Reserach well and make a decision. Like for all services there those who signed up, some happy, some not .... the choice is yours. And for those who chose wrongly ... tough .. welcome to capitalism .. buyer beware !!

As for wanting CM to buy back .. again .. say hello to capitalism and goodbye to socialism !!

Let me suggest one option to make this blog more constructive ... those unhappy with their memberships, why don't you offer it for sale here ... let me start with a bid .. I offer Rs 1.75 lacs for a red studio used max 3 yrs old. Any takers ??

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Welcome back:
Yes-I have put forward my observation. Readers are welcome to do their own cross checking, get a second opinion etc before taking a final call.

Also it is relatively easy to get rid of one service provider and shift to another (say from Vodafone to Airtel, or Bank A to Bank B etc) when you're not happy with their service. But with CM, once enrolled one can't reverse that decision-One is stuck for life... (There's a 10 days cancellation option-that is ineffective as 10 days will be lost before one realizes the negative aspects.)

Regarding your offer, let us see if anyone comes forward.

Anonymous said...

Very well written article. I agree completely with all the points. My husband and me had been lured to one of their presentations thrugh their "free" trip bait. And one has to admit the places look beautiful in the jazzy presentation they show us. We ended up paying about 10% that day as also signing up for future payments on my credit card. But the very next day I was somehow very uncomfortable with the amount of money we would be paying. I checked out some sites like mouthshut in which people had written about their horrific experiences. Immediately I contacted CM and said I want to cancel my membership due to personal reasons. They had mentioned at the time of presentation that I could cancel upto a week or 10 days. They tried to delay my cancellation for a week to try and say that it was too late. But I had the mail that I'd sent immediately. Thank God, as a result I did'nt lose any money to those swindlers. People please stay away from CM!
--SS

Ashwin said...

Well Excellent Review there man!

I was going to go for Club Mahindra But ur experience has cautioned me

Thanks man :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

SS,
Thanks for sharing your experience and good that you acted in time. Many people pass the cancellation period before they realize the mistake.

Ashwin,

Its not my experience, just observation and analysis.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Shrinidhi,I had paid 10% advance to the smooth talking marketing representatives who paint a very rosy picture without mentioning the cons.I am planning to cancel my membership as most of the posts on mouthshut ,yahoo groups and other sites have horrer stories of members with regards to the booking process.CHM properties are good but what is the use of spending lacs of rupees if you can not take a holiday when you want to.

Anonymous said...

hmm....I agree that inspite of being a member getting through a booking with Club mahindra is a huge task....especially my efforts to get booking for the free week at Coorg,RCI RCI was futile....But I did manage to get thru the Club mahindra booking at coorg...Inspite of these hurdles I loved the property at coorg....its beautiful and the staff are very well manered and honest....its a wonderful place to rest and rewind......

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

As per the comments received here most of their properties are excellent. We can agree...

This post is specific to their life time membership and doesn't discourage anyone from taking one time holiday...

Parag said...

Hi Shrinidhi,

Thanks for your analysis & google.

I am a middle class per & was thinking to take CM membership but I won't. I would like if you can analyze which club membership is beneficial for travel, it will be great.

Also do u think that instead of taking club membership, is it wiser decision to pay money for travel agency to njoy holidays?

Thanks,
Parag

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Parag, I do not see any harm in taking one time holiday with popular travel agencies or resorts (Club Mahindra included)

Investing in timeshare may not prove to be beneficial if there're not enough mechanism to ensure you get what you should get.

Verdict: Do not expect to make huge savings by buying timeshare. Invest money wisely elsewhere and take one time holidays as and when you want..

Joyofblog said...

Good review and an interesting debate.
I was doing a research and stumbled upon this blog. What I can conclude is that.

1. If you have made up your mind and don't mind paying the amount its good for you. Others who think in the middle of the payment schedule get taken for a ride royally as they are stuck with it.

2. If I invest Rs 3 lakh (assuming premium CM membership) in MF it can give me a minimum of 90 k in returns (assuming 30% return.I did 40% :-)) in a year. After tax you have 60k and with an average 7k room you spend abt 50k in India for a week. If you have an international vacation in US/Europe it will cost a decent 1000 to 1500 USD (for stay) a week which is still under 60k.

3. And who knows with the dollar rate falling the international vacations might become even more cheaper for Indians.

4. You also have flexibility in choosing your location for eg. I can go to 'Nature Nirvana' in Chikmagalur without having to worry about affiliations.

5. Overall if you have the time and patience its better to plan your own vacation. (Over the last 2 years I spent Rs 1.3 lakhs in planning 5 vacations for 19 days of vacation in Udaipur, Ooty, Chikmagalur, Goa and Alleppey. My expense includes travel and food as well :-)).
Agreed that when I have kids my expense will be higher, but I am hopping for the bullish travel industry to give me better deals in the years to come both in India and abroad.


Wonder if anybody thought out this way or if there is any major flaw in my thought process. Independent vacation has helped me plan my vacation even 36 hours in advance which can only be a dream in CM.

The assumption here is that MF investment repeatedly gives you the kind of returns. But I have known people who have made better returns.

The icing on the cake is that the Rs 3 lakh will remain with you unlike with the CM where you lose it in the first place.

Brickbats are welcome

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Joyofblog,

Those were quite informative points. Thanks.

For those who can manage their money well, your suggestion is extremely valid and worth exploring.

Anonymous said...

Hello ,

Your article is fabulous and absolutely true.I want to get rid of the membership.The entire amount has been payed and none of the holidays have been utilised.Could you help me out how to go about it?
You can email me at helois_23@gmail.com

Thanks,
HD

Shrinidhi Hande said...

HD, I am sorry I do not have any specific advice in mind now... you can consider selling it at a discount at eBay or to your collegues/friends who might be interested.

You'll need a No due certificate from CM and transfer charges cost Rs. 1000.

If possible try utilizing your holidays. If everything works fine you might get to enjoy the holiday too...

Anonymous said...

Firstly, if I am a member, I expect them to give me rooms when I want it. Secondly, it limits my choice of destinations. A few more points.

Inclusive of food and expenses, a trip to Goa, can be had at a similar rated restaurant at the same costs.
Even if were to deposit 2 lakhs in a bank FD, I'd probably live off the savings at 9%. So even if I include the costs of travel, I'ld still have a surplus exceeding what anyone can promise me.

If it is limited to a 25 year span, people are either nuts or have lost sanity to invest in such schemes.

Harshavardhan

Ash said...

Very informative, Guess it saved me from Getting ripped off.. Was actually thinking of buying timeshare from CM and logged in on google to visit their site, when i found this blog...

Thanx a ton. keep up the good work.

A.K.Merani

2dayz.review said...

Couldn't think of a better place to put up these Club Mahindra related woes to get noticed -

you can read my blog @ http://screwyoucustomers.blogspot.com/

Content placed in line here


Disclaimer: This is entirely personal opinion. But opinion based upon facts and experiences. My own experiences (read nightmares) with Club Mahindra.

It all started on July 14. I went for a marketing session for the first time. For those few who do not know what these sessions are, Club Mahindra manages to fish out some mobile numbers, much alike many other organisations do. And they perhaps employ some marketing agencies to sell their membership. So you might very well, very soon receive one such calls inviting you to attend a session of around 90 minutes in which they go over the membership details. And at the end of it, you will get a gift voucher for free 2 nights, 3 days stay at one of their resorts. Does sound appealing! Moreover the videos that they show during the session are indeed breathtaking. So coming to what happened on July 14, we went through all of the above, and the high price (obviously I couldn't shell out so much) prohibited us from going any further with the membership. We just walked out with the gift voucher.
Then started trouble :-) According to the instrucitons we just need to scan the voucher and send an email to reservations@clubmahindra.com. providing your preferences for when and where you want to go. Well that voucher has to be used within 6 months from the date of issue, not that this makes much of a difference. So I sent an email and got an auto response that Club Mahindra "assures" a response within 48 hrs. Funny I thought it was when I got a reply after about 10 days; and interesting I thought when my original mail was dated to have reached Club Mahindra on the 14th of Sep. I had sent it on Sep 4th!! Frankly there was nothing, ABSOLUTELY nothing that I could reason for myself about this 10 day delay in email. As far as I know, you either receive emails or you dont. period. I haven't seen such issues ever. Well I sometimes even thought that the person replying to that email changed date to "assure" that they STRICTLY follow their SLAs (remember their 48 hrs response window!). Nevertheless the response was encouraging! They said that the resort I had requested for was available! What else!? I just put behind their delay etc and immediately replied asking for confirmation of the same and that we wanted to use that holiday. So I didnt want to wait for some more time and have unnecessary delay. I immediately called up the number provided... And they had to bluntly cut it all saying - "sir we can do these gift voucher reservations only by email. no entertaining any phone calls. sorry". So I got back to the good old mailing business. And then following it was a long wait. No response. I called them back after couple of weeks. And they said no email was received! I immediately forwarded my last mail from my sent folder. Thankfully I use gmail which automatically stores everything in sent folder. And this time I didn't wait that long. I called them back in less than a week. But these passing weeks changed nothing at their end. They still have the same response that my mails aren't reaching them. Everyone I speak to on their board line reads out that previous email which had the good availability news as my last mail. And then finally one cleverer or knowledgeable soul asked me one right question... After sooo long! Thankfully. He asked me if I had received any autoresponse emails for the mails that I was claiming I sent. I actually didnt receive any for the last two. I realised that their mail server or some mail filtering software seemed to be a culprit. It took them so long to even point me to a probable problem. Then I sent mails from both my yahoo and gmail accounts, with no response. During this entire episode, I had sent mails to feedback@clubmahindra.com from my gmail (before I realised the problem). And no one ever bothered to reply though!!
Finally this is where I stand, I created a new account in rediffmail and sent couple of mails. They did respond within their SLAs. And both had the same responses. That they were sorry for unavailability of the resorts.

To cut it all short -
1. Club Mahindra seems has mail server issues. Either their server or their filtering software SUCKS. To the extent that when people are talking about some cutting edge technology stuff in every way, they are unable to get emails and respond to them properly. Screwed up souls! I get soo pissed off thinking about how long I had to wonder why mails wouldn't reach!!
2. The people sitting in their reservations department and the member relations teams have such minimal knowledge of anything at all. No one was ready to own the problem, and I am sure months and years down the lane, Club Mahindra would still lie in the same ***t of mails not reaching them and people not knowing why it might be happening... just because the people behind the scenes are s**tty and they dont own a problem, for Godssake.

Just remember. When Club Mahindra calls you the next time, if you do not want to get into all of this headache, just ask them to F off. Really you would be saving a lot of time and headache for other more useful things.
Club Mahindra has been utterly unprofessional in every way. And I still cannot wonder how it survives despite this ghastly service. The only hope is that I am alone in all of this. But if there is anyone else who has faced similar woes, I only wish we can all spread this word and help others from falling into the trap. And if anyone at Club Mahindra is willing to listen, and even cares, I hope they change their mail server/software and more importantly their attitude.

Screw you Club Mahindra! This blog didn't take a hundreth of time that I spent trying to make a booking using your gift voucher.

Dias said...

Hi; i want to sell off my Club Mahindra Membership due to some personal financial crisis. Can you please help me. I'm greatly in need of cash & this membership is all i'm left with. I request you to please help me.

Santosh said...

Dear Dias,

Please do let me know what kind of membership you have RED, White, blue or purple.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dias,
I do not deal with buying and selling of things. You can try your luck at eBay etc.

Btb you have an enquiry from Santosh: Please give him the details.

All the best.

2dayz.review: Thanks for sharing your detailed experience.

AKM, Thanks for the complements

Harshavardhan, yes.

Pranit said...

Thanks a lot Shrinidhi. Yesterday I was presented with a beautiful power point presentation by CM sales person. At the end of the presentation, they forced me to enroll for the systems. But somehow I managed to postponed it to today evening. Since morning I was searching on google about the CM policies and workabouts. Gone through all the posts and web sites. After going through al these, at last, I have decided that I will not go for it. Afterall, it is my hard earned money. Thanks a lot to you as well as all the people who wanted to warn people like me.
I have seen two/three of the people telling on behalf of the CM (Not the one who were happy customers). It seems, one way or other they are related to CM Management Board. If you can, please send them to me, I will screw them left, right and center, on behalf of all the people who fell pray to their unethical business policies.
Anyway, thanks a lot for opening my eys.

Rakesh said...

First of all Thanks to Srinidhi for posting this informative blog. After reading all the comments I am going ahead with the Red studio membership tomorrow. I had been to coorg CM two weeks back and thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

Why I am going ahead.
1. I want to have a week of relaxed holidays every year. (With minimum sight seeing involved).

2. If I could use 2 weeks of RCI holidays abroad, would get half of my money back.

3. Out of 2.5 lacs I have paid 40k, rest 2.1 lacs I would invest in mutual funds to pay their installments. (hoping to get 30% returns)

I will call up couple of my friends regarding getting reservations. This is crucial for my final decision. I can plan 3 months in advance not more.

Those who are still making decision:
1. Visit any of the CM resort.
2. Note that people who have had good experience generally do not search for info and post comments.


I feel club mahindra is not for people concentrating on sight seeing, using accomadation just for spending the night.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Pranith and Rakesh,

Hmm, two conflicting comments...

Goodluck both...

Loy said...

Hi,

I holding a club mahindra red membership.

Is it possible to get out of Club Mahindra mess that i have got myself into?

If yes, can you give me some pointers on how to do this.

Regards,
Loy.

Anonymous said...

Most of the negative comments for CM are correct.
1. They never entertain you in Purple season.
2. After taking the membership you always feel cheated as you dont get the reservation at the resort for which you plan.
3. i am member from last one year and went to kodaikanal hill country. the resort is not CM's franchise. You feel cheated after going thare
4. i think only 3-4 resorts in india are good and you will not get reservation for those resorts.
5. Customer care really sucks.
6. I hope some senior associate of CM will come to public with some explanation

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Loy, I'm sorry, there's nothing much I can do to help you.

You may either try get a buyer for your membership and sell it over to him for a discount,

or try to enjoy rest of your membership...

Anonymous:
Thanks for agreeing and sharing your views.

Anonymous said...

1 more point : They claim that we will get RCI membership, but fact is, if u cancel club mahindra membership, RCI membership also gets cancelled.
CM always do the false commitment, even they never paid me my ref commission, around 4 to 5 K.
For cancellation they are not respondind at all.

Bhupesh said...

Please do not post footings from interview with CM official here on this page. Let reader of your blog read it separately and comments on these separately .

You may provide link to these section in this post.

This is my strong opinion.

Chandrasekaran said...

Hi,
I attended one their briefings today and was asked to make on the spot decision which I clearly avoided as no-one gives a committment for making 3L investment after listening to some sales pitch for 2 hrs.

Then I opened this blog and got good and bad points out of this. The main crux of issue is non-availability of resort. I tried to do a bit of analysis on this on CM's website towards what is actually their member-base and capacity in all resorts put together. In the absence of clear numbers from them, this is what I gathered from their website

Resorts and their capacity
asthamudi 30
auli 10
bkk 6
binsar 32
coorg 62
corbett 40
dharmsala 23
goa 197
kodai 26
kumbalgarh 54
manali 33
munnar 104
mussorie 40
pattaya 6
povar 30
yercaud 10
binsar-villa 6

Total rooms : 709
Total vacationable weeks : 709*52 = 36868 (assuming 100% occupancy)

total member base : 55,000 (from their own website)

That means only 67% of members can really get a week holiday. while 33% will be rejected for their bookings if everyone avails their 1 week. I believe people buy this to take that week break and hence it is a fair assumption that everyone will do that

This clearly shows they are undercapacity and do not understand why they are embarking on such membership drives to make the problem worse

There are 3 new resorts being planned and the capacity will be outnumbered by the rising membership.

RCI exchanges are exchanges and hence for this calculation they are considered as people utilizing their own home vacations (instead)

I can afford to get this and I am interested to get this. I like to take relaxing holidays. However, what drives me out of this is that I pay 3.5L and cannot take a vacation due to this undercapacity with no option or recourse

I would like to hear from CHM on where am I wrong in this analysis. Otherwise all of you know you have only less than 70% chance of getting any accomodation (notwithstanding your wanted slot / resort) at all.


I guess for new potential members like me this is fairly obvious what the problem is

I would like to hear CHM speak about what actions are they taking to address this undercapacity. If suitable response is given, I am open to consider taking this up as I am not really concerned about the other issues too much

thanks - Chandra

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Bhupesh, below are the reason why prefer to retain the interview snippets:

1. I've given option to skip a Q&A-Readers can skip and contine reading actual post with a simple mouse click.

2. Many feel I'm funded by CM competition to write this. Since that is not the truth, I see no reason why I shouldn't deny Club Mahindra a chance to express their response.

3. Readers will not blindly trust my opinion or CM's response. If CM's resonse is not convincing enough readers will decide against CM.

Hence I'm retaining those lines for time being. Let me know what you think.

Chandra, your argument is extremely valid.

Anonymous: Thanks for sharing ur observation.

Amar said...

On Sunday the 4th of November someone wrote that he will offer Rs. 1.75 Lakh for a Red Studio Membership. I am ready to offer mine to him. I have taken this in 1999 and it is valid till 2032 (33 Years) with 28 days entitlement as of today. If serious call 919866155967

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Any takers for Amar's offer people?

MK said...

Wow, good analysis, this sucks. lucky a guy has been chasing me to buy this, now iam noway going to buy even if he going give me discount of 100%.

I have an offer of free RCI TravelCLubHolidays card offer(from a HDFC), its free, so iam taking it, will post on that once i have details.

yash said...

hii,
i also a member of club mahindra, my view is that, like every product has its own negative and possitive points. its depends like everybody have its own choice, like in market there is different brands for clothes and cars, if we all like the same bands for this then we all wear same colour clothes , and use same cars. i mean its actually a fantastic things, it depends upon person to person. i think mr. shrinidhi you should first buy this then you use it in a proper way then you say..

Anonymous said...

I am also a CM member.Initially I was also frustrated with membership since I could not get the booking on first instance. But after learning about the procedure to be followed and planning well in advance, I am fully satisfied. The membership charges may be slightly on a higher side but it still has an advantage that we compulsorily go on a holiday every year. I have been to Goa Munnar and Binsar and can vouch that the staying at these resorts is a memory to be cherished for a long time in your life. Booking is not a problem if planned and booked well ahead. 2 days back I have booked a week at Manali in May 2008.

Anonymous said...

I am also a CM member.Initially I was also frustrated with membership since I could not get the booking on first instance. But after learning about the procedure to be followed and planning well in advance, I am fully satisfied. The membership charges may be slightly on a higher side but it still has an advantage that we compulsorily go on a holiday every year. I have been to Goa Munnar and Binsar and can vouch that the staying at these resorts is a memory to be cherished for a long time in your life. Booking is not a problem if planned and booked well ahead. 2 days back I have booked a week at Manali in May 2008.

Mahendra 9322263544

Shrinidhi Hande said...

MK,
Thanks

Yash: Sorry, I may not consider timeshare unless they fix the drawbacks in the systems.

Mahendra: Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

I am a Club Mahindra member since 2000 and have 5 weeks outstanding precisely due to
1) No room is available for the week chosen
2) since you are asking for a holiday in higher season, you can reserve only 15 days in advance
3) since your ASF has not been paid for current year, we cannot reserve accomodation even against the weeks due to you from previous years though you have fully paid the ASF for those years!

Finally their claim of proportionate refund in case of termination of memebership has the following deductions:

cancellation charge 40% of membership
liquidated damages (30% for cancellation after 6 years)
that adds up to 70%!
Plus a host of other charges, fees etc. which need to be read from member agreement

surejosh said...

I am a Club Mahindra member since 2000 and have 5 weeks outstanding precisely due to
1) No room is available for the week chosen
2) since you are asking for a holiday in higher season, you can reserve only 15 days in advance
3) since your ASF has not been paid for current year, we cannot reserve accomodation even against the weeks due to you from previous years though you have fully paid the ASF for those years!

Finally their claim of proportionate refund in case of termination of memebership has the following deductions:

cancellation charge 40% of membership
liquidated damages (30% for cancellation after 6 years)
that adds up to 70%!
Plus a host of other charges, fees etc. which need to be read from member agreement

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Surejosh,

Thanks for sharing that info. Charging over 70% for cancellation is simply not fair.

Prabhat said...

Hi Shri,

Unfortunately I am among those who fell in their trap. On August 15, 2007, I became a member by paying Rs. 18000/- downpayment with remaining to be paid in installments of Rs. 3022/month. Now I realise my mistake and have requested Club Mahindra today only (03.01.2008) to stop deducting EMIs and refund the already paid sum of around Rs. 28,000/-.

For last 3 days I am in touch with my Holiday Consultant, Mr. Moti Ranjan for this cancellation and refund and he kept promising (on phone) that my money will be refunded in full. But, today when I faxed them my request for cancellation and refund, the concerned department told me that mine is a ZERO REFUND case (though they are yet to revert officially).

I feel I have been cheated for Rs. 28000/- by Club Mahindra. Can you help or give some advice so that I may recover maximum money out of my loss?

regards,
Prabhat Chaturvedi
+91 98188 77190
Prabhat.chaturvedi1@gmail.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

August is around 5 months past... You are not eligible to take a holiday? You could have tried taking one before cancellation...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

and you didn't get any free gifts? (camera/phone etc)?

Anonymous said...

This is what I have sent to CLub Mahindra

Recently I was invited to Club Mahindra Presentation at Nariman Point Mumbai by Mr. Karan (Mobile No. 9967576331). I was told that after presentation I will be given a free gift vocher & it is not mandatory to buy the membership. I was also called by Miss Pooja 9967576354 to confirm the appointment. I was attended by a smart sales exec. of yours a parsi guy. He presented everything in a very decent and systematic way. Everything went on smoothly till this b*****d Manager of your company Mr. Siddh came to disclose the price of your company. He explained the company price policy and installment facilities. Now let me tell you one thing you are not selling something which is costing Rs. 100 - Rs. 500 that i will buy it instantly. you are selling a product worth Rs. 200000/- I am not a person who can spend 2 lacs instantly. I told him that let me thinkover and I'll get back to you. He said this is now or never offer. I told him that this is not a sellers market, this is buyer dominated market and if I think your product is nice I'll buy it at any price. So now he was convinced that I am not buying this product. All of a sudden I could see the change in his attitude. He said that its fine we have achieved our todays target of 12 bookings and he was checking if I was interested in buying it or not. If i wanted to buy he was not in a position to sell it as he has already achieved his target. Now this is where I have felt hurt. You think that I am some useless person who had no time so I had come to Clubmahindra. He has made me go mad. Ineed some clarifications from Mr. Siddh. If he feels that the product is mind blowing please give me your club Mahindra and RCI membership Numbers. Is this the way you talk to your prospective buyer? I am also going to send this post on enidhi which has given an in depth analysis about your company. I think you have lost a person who would have recommended the product to soo many other people. Company can grow fast with satisfied customers rathen than the arrogant sales executive. Please reply and need an apology from Mr. Siddh. Contact me through mails.

Regards
Yogesh
yogeshis@zapakmail.com

Anonymous said...

CLUB MAHINDRA:

I have taken membership on 6 EMS'S & down payment approx same amount;already paid 4 emi's before knowing more details. Now i spoke to the sales executive to withdraw. He is suggesting to use for 1st holiday then i can get all my money back if i complain my dis satisfaction about their product; Only deductables are the perday charges say 10k (if i use 3/4 days)

1. Should I stop paying further emi's;
2. Or listen to what he has adviced.

sk

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sk,
I am not sure which type of membership you've opted and what is you EMI. Guessing that your EMI is around 3000 Rs and you've paid around 35-40k so far (3k * 6 months plus another 18k).

Now, if you choose to take a holiday, you will need to pay ASF of around 7000 and another few months EMI (The nearest available date (at which you can get a confirmed accomodation) for you will be few months from now, during which you need to keep paying EMIs- You'll be spending another 15-20k before you get to take a holiday.

There's no assurance that you'll get refund if you're not happy after taking a holiday. You'll get refund only if you file a case in consumer forum etc and win, after providing suffecient evidence that there's been some major fault from Club Mahindra.

One of the comment received above says cancellation will cost more than 70% of what you've paid.

Do not trust what the sales rep says. See if you can get his promise in writing-by mail or otherwise. I'm sure he'll hesitate to make any such promise.

Choice is yours.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yogesh,

"I am also going to send this post on enidhi"

I'm honored.

Thanks. Update us if you get any response.

Rajesh Kumar said...

Wow, what a debate...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

:)

Ankita said...

i am a member of club mahindra..when we were told to come for presentation the sales person told us that each and every resorts of them has a kithcen facilities while 75 % resorts dont have...we have to pay subcription charges evry year for the electricity and other facilities we use at the resorts,, whts the use of taking membership if we have to pay for the charges, also their are only few club mahindra's own resorts while others are all tieup,If we have to book other than mahinrda resorts say RCi resorts we have to again pay for rci annual subcription and deposit 1 week of mahindra week to RCi that means we end up paying double,,instead of paying soooooooooo much i prefer going with some 1st class tours and save from other headaches..i thank u for cautioning people from taking such membership which i am regretting now.Club mahindra is hungry for more members and just keep adding more thousands of member every year,,it should instead increase more 2/3 resorts at the same place and of the same quality to accomodate all the members who wish to enjoy holidays..hope my few comments save other people fr taking membership.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Ankita,

Thanks for sharing your experience and we're sorry for the inconvenience you had to go through.

Please standby for another post wherein a senior Club Mahindra official will be responding to a list of concerns I'd raised about CM's operations, mainly enrolling members disproportionate to its inventory...

seema said...

Hi Shrinidhi
Been reading your blog on timeshare and I just wanted to let as many as timeshare holder holding their membership in any Resort. Now have an excellent opportunity to avail international holidya exchange from one of the pioneers in world. Please do visit www.daelive to see all the details
OH ONE GOOD NEWS IN THIS WEBSITE ENROLMENT IS FREE AND EXCHANGE RATE IS AS LOW AS 3800/- FOR 7 NIGHTS WITH IN ASIA.
VISIT WWW.daelive.com

GS said...

Hi Shrinidhi,

This is great blog.
I got a call from CM today, they had got my number from a form I filled at Landmark Chennai which was supposed to be some lucky draw.
I was not interested in this anyway, and after reading this blog I am convinced of why I should never consider this CM crap.

It is indeed interesting to see that most of the "happy customers" in this blog are anonymous! the sales guy's signature behaviour?

anyway, great analysis at the top of the blog.

Thanks
GS

Shrinidhi Hande said...

GS,

Thanks for the comments, appreciation and for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

Pl donot member of Club mahindra i have lots off bad experience having member of Cm, I get a chance to go to cm resort or attchek your head to strong wall ,I will prefer to attech my head with wall..... will how you our past experience with club mahindra in future, very bad ,

Anonymous said...

I have just paid money & have not recieved any thing from their side.
Please help me

managers.money@gmail.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@A2, I believe they'll take some time...how long you've been waiting after making the payment?

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting blog with views from CM members. But I think most of the comments are emotional with little facts. I do not mean to discount the emotional aspect at all. What I really was looking for is people should post thier actual complete experience, without which it may be difficult to understand what exactly happened i.e. if I just write "CM is bad, I had bad experience, sales people did not deliver what was promised etc", it is difficult to gauge the real situation. So heres a request to all future people who enter comments. You need to mention
1. when you took the membership,
2. was everything informed in sales pitch delivered,
3. Have you taken a holiday in thier resort
4. How many days holiday you took, and how much in advance did you book. (If possible dates and location of vacation as well)
5. How was the resort?
6. How is thier customer support?
7. What exactly you are happy or unhappy about? (Actual facts with dates will help)
8. Brief description of yourself (Single, Married, Married with small children, middle class, service, business man etc).

The reason I am asking for this information is, this will help in getting which category of people really enjoy this membership, which will help in showing whether it really suits me.
From the blog, it seems (and maybe i am wrong) that people with young children, or people who went purely to relax and enjoy the resort, had a good time. They had hassles in customer support, but then who does not have problems with customer support. So if people who are complaining or appreciating can give some more details on thier views, it will be very helpful for future customers to decide.
Shibu

Anonymous said...

Heres someone on mouthshut who has given directions on how to get the money back in case you are not satisfied
http://www.mouthshut.com/review/The_Country_Club-135584-1.html
This one has the bangalore address, but I am sure you can use the same process in any city. Try it and let us know of outcomes. You can even mail the guy and get more inputs.
Shibu

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Shibu,

I doubt if readers would care to furnish all those details you've specified. yes, it will be good if they can...

Checked the MS link, practical suggestion...

Anonymous said...

I was called for a similar presentation and I went to it with my wife last week. The presentation was very good (as expected from marketting), but I had made it clear to them that I may not take it same day. They never insisted on it either. But they did say that if I bought on that day, I would get lots of extra benefits (like free holiday packages etc). Being tempted by the entire thing, I gave my credit card details for the initial payment, but told them that I will need some time to research and confirm on this. So they said they will hold on to the charge slip and will deposit it only after I confirm and gave me one week's time. Then I went on this huge task of reading everything on the net available on this topic, the major portion of which is covered in this blog itself. Overall the comments on the net seem to be given by people who have not been able to take advantage of this offer. I do not blame them, but there are ways in getting around to get this to work in your favor. I even spoke to couple of my friends who are already members and they said that they are quite satisfied of this and even recommended me to go for it. As is in our nature, we reach out to the net when we dont like something and want to take it out (This includes me, recently when I was not happy with a hotel that I stayed in, i made sure I write about it on the net. But I have never written about any hotel where I had a good time). We rarely appreciate things that have worked out well for us. If all members were unhappy, believe me this blog would have been very very long (i.e. longer than it is now :) ). But the people on the blog seem to be in minority in comparision to the number of members. I am not paid by club mahindra to say this :) and I do not mean to say that some people seem to have not got what was promised. Also I think some of the marketting staff may have been impolite as well (I faced that once when I was in US and had gone for timeshare presentation). But the CM representative I met at CM office in Pune (Mr. Amit) was very coridal through out. I finally met him yesterday and told him that I dont want to take the membership. The reasons were 3, which I gathered from reading on the net. First, the number of rooms vs the number of members seem to be such that there will always be overbooking in their resorts. Second, there was no guarantee for getting those 7 days holiday i.e. there was no penalty clause for CM in case I do not get my desired booking (They can keep some minimal clauses like book 4 months in advance, give 3 options etc) but there should be some guarantee or penalty clause so that I am convinced that they will try to give me a booking. And last reason, was that there was no refund/cancellation clause i.e. I cannot surrender the membership in case I am not satisifed with it. The representative said that usually people pay 15% and take one vacation. In case they are not satisifed, they stop paying the EMIs. But I dont think that is helpful, cause then I will be known as defaulter etc whereas I want to really cancel my membership. Also this is applicable only if I want to cancel after my first trip. What if I finish all my EMIs in 3 years, and then realize that it was not really worth it.
(Thanks to Shrinidhi for most of these points)
After I told the CM guy about this, he seemed to understand my reservations and asked me to write an application, which I did. He went thru it and gave me my credit card charge slip back. He was extremely helpful. Maybe someday I think I will go back and get the membership when I get more positive feedback on this timeshare thing. (By the way, I am married with no kids yet. Working for a software firm). Out of my research, it seems that this CM membership is beneficial to married people with kids. I was planning to take it so that I could gift it to my parents and in-laws whenever they wanted to take a vacation.
Shibu

Bhupesh said...

Overall the comments on the net seem to be given by people who have not been able to take advantage of this offer.

Which offer? Offer comes from what you pay so that is not some thing given free.

We rarely appreciate things that have worked out well for us. If all members were unhappy, believe me this blog would have been very very long. But the people on the blog seem to be in minority in comparision to the number of members.

There are so many financial frauds going on in India, how many get reported on blogs or on net. What I can say is you are under estimating these numbers. CM has 51 consumer court cases, I do not know with which other organization I can compare it with. Second is member may not get disappointed in first year it self. In last 3-4 years they have added 40,000 members and now when they will find it difficult to book holidays they will get disappointed. Third is members still not aware of what you have come to know (CM has less capacity then the members and other things) before even considering it.

First, the number of rooms vs the number of members seem to be such that there will always be overbooking in their resorts.
Second, there was no guarantee for getting those 7 days holiday i.e. there was no penalty clause for CM in case I do not get my desired
And last reason, was that there was no refund/cancellation clause i.e. I cannot surrender the membership in case I am not satisfied with it.

You seems to be contradicting your self here, are these many reasons not enough for a member to be dissatisfied, especially when marketing pitch is quite rosy and illusive.

If these reasons are not enough, you can have a look on my blog (http://what-goes-in-my-mind.blogspot.com/2008/01/some-more-facts-about-club-mahindra.html) , which I think you must have already been to.


The representative said that usually people pay 15% and take one vacation. In case they are not satisifed, they stop paying the EMIs. But I dont think that is helpful, cause then I will be known as defaulter etc whereas I want to really cancel my membership.

This is one probable lie he took shelter to. You can not avail any vacation unless you pay 25% of your membership. + First year ASF. Second why a responsible citizen/employee should suggest such method?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Bhupesh for pitching in and reponding...

I dont have anything extra to add to what Bhupesh has replied...What needs to be seen is can CM offer reservations in time consistantly for next 25 years...Unless they shorten the gap between member count and required inventory size they're heading towards a mess.

Anonymous said...

Hi Srinidhi,

As you have mentioned in one of your replies that one of the senior representative of CM would be responding to the concerns lodged by people, pls cud u also arrange to advise on how to get our money back from CM without resorting to harsher ways like filing a suit or approaching the media?
Regards Chetna.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Chetna:

Refer the fineprint of your membership agreement for cancellation policies... It is likely that you'll lose a huge portion as cancellation charges...

If you have a strong case file a case. If they offer an out of court settlement which you're comfortable with, you may go for that.

Anonymous said...

Hello Srinidhi gr8 work, I receieved a free voucher message from club mahindra and was hoping to get one. But after going there and saying no to there membership we were no given that free voucher. After reading the comments at your blog I am happy that didnt expected too much from them and didnt fell in there trap of membership. After a long time I am still waiting there courier in the same city.

barbaracamie said...

All the things which are mentioned by Srinidhi, absolutely "CORRECT" and this resort marketing service is F***** today in India.

If still any member or upBecoming member does not believe then should read atleast my comments because I AM THE PERSON WHO REALLY WORKED IN MAHINDRA CLUB HOLIDAYS in 2000 and the situation was same as today it is. There is nothing changed in service, status and marketing style.

Honestly speaking, I left that Mahindra Club because I did not feel good by heart. It was like that I am befooling the human beings intentionally. I and my staff knew those things very well that what customers get in resort and what they do not after going to resort. Every person in this resort marketing service know very well all these negative things but they do not reveal all these major negative thing.

They have three kinds of direct marketing style:

a) Venue Selling - In this, they get the database from Phone Companies and call the customer without knowing their status and tell them that your phone number is choosen for Gift, or anything free packages and when customer comes there to get/collect their free gift, they try to convince the customer.

How They Convince the Customer:

There are ways which moves sequencly:

a)Greeting: First, customer comes, representative comes to him and greets him with smile, Hello Sir/Madam.

b) Warm-Up - Then they warm-up the customer with their talks and some general questions such as: how are you? how many kids you have? where do you work? some funny jokes, etc etc... They try to involve the customer in their laughing and always try to engage the customer so that he/she can listen representative talks very well and clearly.

c) Status: Representative introduces himself/herself. what he does there and since how long he is working with company. The representative says these things about himself/herself intentionly so that Customer can think that this guy is working from long-time and it means this company is good.

d) Form Fill up: Then representative asks some confedential question through the form only to know the credibility of customer. To know the status how much that person can give to us and for which package we should offer to customer.

e)Company Credibility: Then representive tells about the credibility of Company for 5 minutes.

F) Meeting with Senior: Then in meantime, Representative tries to call their Senior so that he can introduce the customer to his manager or senior. It is done because customer may feel good that this representive introducing me to his senior.

g)Hotel Seizling: After that, main work comes to seizle the hotels and representive opens his/her mouth and says everything lie about the resorts which are affiliated to RCI.

They try to say everything even those things which are also not available in Resorts.

P.S: Even I used to say to my Customers then this Mahindra Club resort has Jaacuzzi and Water Park facilities just to attract the customer but in fact, it was not there.

After doing all these things, Representative opens the file of Color which shows the White, Blue Pink Holidays Plans like this, I forget something in pricing but I used to sell the 2,32000 package to my clients that time.

They ask customer which plans suit to you, if customer says that White is not affordable then they introduce pink, if pink is not affordable then they introduce white. Everything occurs sequencewise.

At final stage, senior comes to their table and fil up the form and sign it.

And when customer is not ready, then some of representative try to taunt indirectly so that customer can feel bad something and give something to us.

These things are done because many representative, are not in the payroll of the company. They get Commission on Customer packages.

If customers pays 2,32000 INR then Representive will get 3% of this amount Plus 15000 INR INCENTIVE. So they try to sell the package at the end.

-----------------

Another Marketing Serivices:

B) In House Marketing: It means Representative go to the Resort and try to convince those customers who are already enjoying their holidays there with their own expenses. They try sell those packages also those customers.

My colleagues and me used to sell the package to those also who are not staying in those affiliated resorts but staying in another hotel or resorts. We used to offer them free dinner or meal so that they can come and listen the "Pitch". I personally do not know if this service is still going on or not.

Third Marketing Service:

Direct:

In this, Representative visit the offices, apartment and sells directly.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Personally, I recommend everyone NOT To Join MAHINDRA CLUB HOLIDAYS OR ANOTHER ANY SCHEMES WHICH force you to buy. Even do not purchase the offer which you recieve via Credit Card Bills or Telephone Bills.

All those are fakes.

It would be better if you go with your own expenses and enjoy real holidays. No Schemes and No Plans. All are false.

P.S- One thing is interesting, After leaving Mahindra Club, I joined another Resort Marketing but that was really Good one. But even there was false committment in Pitch. So I left that industry totally and switch over to Banking industry and thanks to mind which thought right in time that I am doing "Wrong" and with wrong industry.

Thanks Again Shrinidhi Hande.

Hemant Singh

Bhupesh said...

I have recording of one of such sales pitch from Ashish (Jaynagar Bangalore) branch.

Where in he claims:

ClubMahindra has capacity for more then 3Lakh members.

Poovar resorts has more then 80 rooms.

Goa resorts has 7 swimming pool, on an average 3 staff per room.

He has sold more then 10 membership to DevaGouda's (former prime minister) family. DevaGouda's grandson is his friend.

ClubMahindra helps renting out/selling member' membership.

Pickup and drop to Airport/rail station is free.

If you do not get booking through call center, he will arrange booking through back door.

So many more in this 70 min recording ...

Looking for suitable place to upload it on the net.

Anonymous said...

There are enough proofs in terms of people's personal exeriences that not to go for CM membership.
But, now the important thing is the discussion on if someone wants to get his/her money back, how to proceed.

Safdar.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Hemanth Singh..

That was quite an exhaustive and inside information... Thanks...

@Bhupesh:
Good work that you made it a point to collect a strong evidence by recording the false promises... There're many sites where you can upload audio files and share with others..

@Safdar: Yes-that aspect needs to be discussed...Doesn't seem like there's any official option for a member to exit (with reasonable refund) after initial cooling off period... Escalations might help in some cases , legal options are next...let us see what others say on this..

barbaracamie said...

There are many things which they tell to customers, are totally false. Such as they have some rules and regulation which is instructed by RBI. IPOs. All these are fakes one. Nothing is true in this. They make their own rules and regulation and their terms and conditions are in very small letters so that noone can read very carefully.


That time it was written in very small letter. i do not know about the today rules and regulations.

For Refund, they would not refund you anything at any cost.

They lie that if you do not get any Holiday for 5-10 years then they will refund your money. Nothing is true in this statment.

They do not give holidays packages. They just give Tension and suck their customer juice.

Timeshares are nothing in Mahindra Holiday Club. They are not working as it used to occur in British Era.

Everyone working is there in Commission basis so they try to make more and more Commission.

I did also same thing in my time. You would not believe that I earned 3,20000 INR in just three month from 7 customers. I was feeling very great time that I have earned so much money in just three month but I was not aware at all that how I earned this money but I realized this thing after sometime.

Yesterday, I visited one Mall here and surprised that same thing running in that Mall in Mumbai. Orbit Mall located in Malad, If anyone is invited there, please do not go at all in greed of Free Gift or free packages.


Hemant Singh

Anonymous said...

In the terms and conditions, they say that you lose 60% of the membership (which they claim as admission fee) amount if you get it cancelled after 10/15 days.
If someone takes the membership for 2Lakhs upfront payment, and after 1 month he decides to get it cancelled then he will get only 80K (40%). A huge loss (1.2 Lacs) for the customer.
But the thing is how could they get this cancellation policy approved from the concerned government authority. Educational institutes also practise similar policies that once you cancel your admission, they refund you very little amount. But, If I remeber correctly, there was a ruling from high/supreme court that they have to refund the full amount.
There are alraedy 51 consumer suits against CM (see the below site).
http://what-goes-in-my-mind.blogspot.com/2007/12/there-are-51-consumer-suits-against.html

Safdar.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hemanth,

Thanks again for the additional info...

Safdar, I've read Bhupesh's blog.. Wait for few days as we are about to publish a set of answers we received from Club Mahindra for the questions we asked based on the DRHP they submitted for their IPO..

Rakesh said...

Dear sir,

That was a wondnerful post analysing in detail the drawbacks of club Mahindra holidays membership and the way of doing business.

A few days ago a sales guy pestered me at a BP petrol pump to fill in a card which will be put in a draw and I could win a 2 night 3 day free holiday coupon from club Mahindra. Soon I received a call that I was shortlisted and have won a free holiday coupon. I would have to come to their office in Sec 35 Chandigarh to collect it along with my wife. As it was a sunday and I was to go out along that route for shopping I agreed and visited them.

A customer executive Priyanka started telling us the membership plans. I saw 3-4 other couples too who were being bombarder with sales pitch. Priyanka asked us a few questions like how often we holidayed and how much was the cost and after being satisfied started telling us about the benefits and painted a rosy picture just like you have detailed. Very smartly she went over the fact quickly that every year for next 25 years we would have to pay ASF. of course as I was invited guest I was being offered "special invitational price" which was valid for today only other wise open memebership have more price and less benefits like no complimentary RCI membership and no additional RCI bonus holiday weeks (after paying 1 day rent). with off season studio apartment total rate was Rs 1.99 lacs and I would have to pay Rs 29000 immediately and rest amount in either 12 interest free instalments or up to 4 years of EMI (with interest). I would get a Sony LCD 26" + Rs 4000 food vouchers(If paid by credit card)+ 1 week club mahindra holiday+ 1 week RCI donmestic/international holiday +RCI 3 year membership and if i dont like i do not have to pay any more installments and i can avail all these benefits by paying Rs 29000 only (15% of total package cost) no qestions asked! That seemed like a too god offer but still seeing my resistance and questioning she brought her senior who offered to raise the stakes..sony 32" laptoo or HCL infiniti dual core Laptop plus one side airfare too !! Still I walked out by saying i will confirm by evening and then I decided against availing the offer as I would not like to be bound by long term agreement and I didnt really want an LCD TV or laptop and because of a very young child possibly could not go for 2 week holidays in next one year. Now I realise the doubts I raised are very much genuine after going through your article. I offcourse got a 2 N 3 D gift coupon in any of 11 CM resorts to be availed within 6 months but after searching the net i have come to know it is a fraud just meant to entice customers to brach and then try to fix them to be a member and it is virtually impossible to get a confirmed booking. 2 couples took the membership while I was being subjected to sales pitch. I regret their misfortune for they were only told the rosy picture and would realise the problems they are landing in to.

Rocky
Chandigarh

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Rocky,

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Consider reading this review wherein we asked some questions to CM offials and got their reply

http://www.enidhi.net/2008/04/club-mahindra-holidays-ipo.html

Read to find out what they have got to say regarding their sales staff.

Anonymous said...

I was cornered by club-Mahindra sales team on Nov.8,2007 to accept its membership on the spot. I unluckily fell into the trap. Later I visited your blog and did some calculations on my own and came to the conclusion that club Mahindra membership is very costly in the long term and not suited to me for so many reasons. I applied for withdrawl of membership on Nov.17,2007. Since that day the club mahindra is not refunding me the initially paid money Rs 29161 for "White season studio" inspite of many letters, phone calls etc.
They took less than 10 minutes to virtually snatch money from my pocket and when time came for them to pay out, they are taking ages which may turn into aeons...who knows.
My perception so far is that club Mahindra does not appear to be honest with its customers/members.
I'll appreciate if you can suggest me the way to get my money back quickly.
Shobha pandey
Kanpur

Anonymous said...

Hi Shobha,

I think with out delay you should write a registered latter to their MD @

Ramesh Ramanathan
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.,
Mahindra Towers,2nd Floor
17/18, Pattullous Road,
Chennai - 600002.

and copy it to feedback@clubmahindra.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Shobha,

If you can prove that you've expressed your interest to cancel membership within 10 days of making payment, Club Mahindra is bound to entertain your request with full honor.

Even I feel above suggestion should fetch some results.

Anonymous said...

Thanks guys for your concern and advice.
I had to try real hard to get the money back but finally today I received the cheque of the refund amount (no. of letters to the company executives
including chiarman and inumerale phone calls at regular interval in last 5 months).I can't say what really clicked.
I think that there was temporary lapse of reason in me to accept their membership. There are thousands more who will be lured to the mouse trap!!
and they will repent like me. GOD, have mercy on them.
Anyways,all is well, that ends well.Now the day has come for me to thank sincerely to Club Mahindra for paying attention
to my requests and refunding me the money.
Shobha Pandey
Kanpur

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Shobha pandey,

We are glad to know that you got refund. Thanks for visiting by and telling us about that.

Pm said...

The lesson I learnt during the club mahindra session is to say a firm "NO. Though I was lucky to get the free "accomodation" to stay at one of their guest houses.
Not a bad deal for the freebie....
Rgds
PM

Shom said...

Seems we made a bad choice!!!
We had taken membership (#569796)of a Red Studio in January 2008 and paid Rs. 41, 880 (Rupees forty-one thousand eight hundred and eighty only) towards the initial payment. Subsequently some of the terms of the special offers that were verbally conveyed to us at the time of registration were not honoured by MHRIL, namely the following:

The 2-weeks international holiday offer through RCI for travel at any time within 2 years, with a minimum of 3 days' stay at any one destination. It is now described to be "not valid for travel during peak school vacations and festival periods", with minimum 7 days’ stay at any destination.
Subsequently the offer was randomly downgraded to 2-weeks ClubMahindra domestic holidays instead of the international holidays offered earlier.
The special offer of 6 free Air Deccan tickets, on which we have been subsequently asked to pay all taxes and fees amounting to over Rs.2000 per ticket, while the understanding was that the tickets were completely free, as specified by MHRIL executives.
A prolonged exchange of emails ensued and MHRIL promised to meet us in person, which also was not done. A complete silence on emails or any other communication is being maintained by MHRIL since the Company’s last email dated 16th February, asking to meet us.
This had left us feeling cheated, with the belief that ClubMahindra does not honour the commitments made at the time of booking membership, and secures members under false pretences. We therefore requested MHRIL on March 1, 2008 to cancel our membership and give us a full refund immediately. The same was acknowledged by their call centre (cancellation reference no. 639488), and we were promised a full refund within 30 – 45 days.

No communication was received by us subsequently despite reminders, and 45 days are over. A complaint (complaint ID 138608) has now been registered against MHRIL with the National Consumer Helpline.

I received an email today where they have outright refused to refund any money at all.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

PM: Great to know that you could enjoy that free holiday...

Shom: Thanks for sharing your experience. I've come across many people fighting for a refund. Let me know your mail ID.

Dr. S. Sengupta said...

Hi Shrinidhi,
My email IDs are senguptasmail@gmail.com and dr.ss@aol.in. Yes I've decided to fight MHRIL all out - not for the money, because I might end up spending more than I get back, but as a matter of principle. MHRIL backing out of their commitment is like Maruti selling me a Swift and then telling me that the AC and spare wheel were not part of the package. I've written to the AIRDA (reply awaited) and have also decided to approach the Ministry of Tourism and a few newspapers through some personal contacts. This is in addition to having filed a complaint with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs' National Consumer Helpline (no. 1800-11-4000; toll free - the complaint ID is 138608, dated 16 April 2008). Starting Monday, I am going to initiate proceedings to file a suit with the Consumer Forum in Delhi. MHRIL themselves say in their DRHP that they have 51 consumer suits worth over Rs.56 lakhs pending against them, and criminal proceedings under Section 420 of the IPC pending in the Supreme Court against MHRIL's MD and others - I may be mistaken but there are likely to be no other 100-crore-rupee companies with such a track record in India.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Dear Senguptha...

We wish your efforts will result in some justice and compensation soon.

Coming to the number of court cases against CM, I personally feel 51 cases worth 56 lakhs is not that significant number in today's terms...

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