Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Myth 2: Holiday now - Pay in EMI

In my gmail account I came across the following AdSense Ad.

   Holiday Now - Pay In EMI - ClubMahindra.com/Fun-Family-Forever - 
   Pay in Easy EMIs & get 25 yrs of membership. Sign up & Get LCD TV!

Catchy but misleading. Normally from a EMI option you get to understand that you take a product / service like TV home and then pay later. But here you would have paid much more than the actual cost of a holiday holiday before you can start enjoying it.

Consider this if you take holiday on Club Mahindra EMI plan for say White-Studio, you would make advance payment of Rs 27500/ upfront with EMIs of Rs 7014/- (approximately.

Then you will be entiltled to take holiday after 15 months, by which time you would have already paid-up : Rs 27500/- upfront  and Rs 105210/- as EMIs for a Grand Total of Rs 132710/- that is Rs 1.32 lacs .

So do not be fooled by the promise - Holiday now - Pay in EMI.

Now Club Mahindra is not wrong in charging this, it is how the Timeshare business model works. One should not entice people with wording which may not mean the same thing as the first party tries to make second party believe by mis-communication cues. That is not ethical marketing; that is mis-representation.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Myth 1: White membership works..

Club Mahindra Sales exec will tell you that one can take a White membership and still enjoy the benefit of holiday in Red season for 5 days in lieu of week's entitlement for White. Sounds good enough if one can take a vacation in peak season.

In my case, when I enquired about the availability for White members in RED season, the Sales Exec assured without battling an eyelid that for Red season the booking will be on first-come-first-serve basis 15 days prior to that. Technically yes, but in reality you just got free entry on Club Mahindra spin ride.

What he would not mention to you is - that for the RED season member the booking window would have opened 6 months in advance and most of the bookings would have gone by 2nd or 3rd month of window opening. I have heard from numerous sources that to get a reasonable assurance on a availability you have to make booking atleast 4 months in advance.

So you are left to fend for at mercy of cancellations. Even response from Club Mahindra say so  -
You can apply for booking in red season 48 hrs to 6 month in advance but your booking would be confirmed before 15 days because there are lots of member booked their holidays in advance in their red season but it happens that some of them does cancel their booking and that time your booking request will be confirmed.
Do consider this fact, if you are making a plan for stress-less vacation, would you leave it till 15 days in advance, which would possibly run down to 10 days or less considering their responsiveness. In all eventuality, you may just get the polite though mocking reply - "We are sorry, but there is no availability".

Consider otherwise also, you do need to book flight tickets as well. To get reasonable fare or confirmed booking there, you need to make the booking one month in advance. Hm ... mmm..- that leaves you in piquant situation - should you make a airline booking 1 month in advance hoping to get confirmation on Club Mahindra vacation 15 days later. 

So where does that leave you - EMPTY PROMISES dangling around your neck reminding how you were taken for a ride.

My Advice:
  • Take White membership only if you plan to take vacations in mid-season (WHITE). Anytime you are able to manage a vacation in RED season, take that as bonus.Otherwise you are setting yourself up for disappointment. 5 RED days for 7 WHITE days simply doesn't work as you would hope.
  • BLUE Club Mahindra membership would be a strict no-no. I even read on a consumer forum, about the case of a lady who was not able to take vacation for 6 years. I could not find post again, if someone can please post the link in the comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Read the Fineprint

Recently I had the Clause No 6.1 thrown in my face by Club Mahindra exec. I really marvel the way their language changes from sweet talk at enrollment to legal as soon as you signup.
But take a look -
  • Sep 10 - Signed up (really regreting the decision !!!)
  • Sep 23 - receive email letter introducing service feature
  • Sep 25 - I shoot off mail with discrepancies and issues
  • Oct 23 - get the papers in mail
Since Sep 27, yet to receive concrete clarifications, getting wishy-washy explanations.
Now the infamous Clause 6.1 states to the effect that there is 10 days lookup period, but wiseguys at Club Mahindra have put it from payment date, while they will send papers for scrutiny after 15 days by email and 45 days my mail.
As per Club Mahindra exec lookup period would start from 10 Sep. Raise hands who feel that this is just. On what ground will the customer base his decision, Mr Club Mahindra Exec.
On the other hand comparative scenario from insurance -
  1. Get 30 days lookup period
  2. I think it is from day when you get the papers by mail.
I think this is a good case to follow-up on, and try to get some sense knocked in by courts directive by imposing some sense on the clause.
Why even put up a farce of being fair Club Mahindra. No wonder so many compliant in online forums.

Does the executive inform you about Clause 6.1 when you signup - YOU WISH, but then where is the fun of living on the edge... I had asked the person at time of signing if there was something which i need to know there, he just passed it up saying no it is just saying same promotion things.

  1. The lookup period should be from when they give something in writing.
  2. Do read the clauses to the people who come to enroll before getting them to sign.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Club Mahindra fee structure explained

Note: This is at the 2011 Q3 prices, as was given to me.
For taking a RED studio membership, this would cost you Rs 389,855 /-
The RED membership means peak season membership. Studio membership means for 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.
There are four types of membership season classification:
  1. Purple
  2. Red
  3. White
  4. Blue
Coming back to the price, the pricing seem reasonable or so would it seem. 
But consider this, @10% returns, you could stash this amount safely and have Rs 38,985 /- to holiday every year without taking Club Mahindra holidays.
Wait that is not all.
You have to pay additional Rs 9681 /- per year as Annual Subscription fee. 
So in fact, if you had not taken Club Mahindra membership you would have extra Rs 48666/- to plan your holiday on your own . 
The advantage as such -
  1. You are not restricted to Club Mahindra resorts.
  2. You are not subject to availability of the Club Mahindra 
  3. You could even take holiday abroad where Club Mahindra has limited presence. (There is RCI option, but we will cover that as well, and see the economics of going there via Club Mahindra) 
  4. You could even choose not to take holiday, but indulge in acquisition or shopping fancy like a new gadget or something.
  5. At the end of it all you still have your principle Rs 3,89,855 / in hand.
Look at the pricing and don’t get swayed by what the Club Mahindra executive packages as mouth watering lollipop.
We will cover the EMI option which they offer and see where it leads or rather leaves you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The good part ...

Club Mahindra package offer you the facility -
  • take holidays for a week for next 25 years
  • can split your week, or accumulate it.
  • can advance a future week, after having been a member for a year. 
  • can take friends or relatives along, or gift them your holiday entitlement for a nominal fee.
  • flexibility of subscribing to high-premium peak season vs more moderately priced mid-season or peak-season options.
The big plus would be the resorts of Club Mahindra which are supposed to be quite good. They are placed at some of the best locations.
Seems too good to be true; maybe that premonition is correct, as somewhere at back of mind you know - Nothing comes for free. Read on…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jiyo Life par ‘ulloo’ mat bano

This blog is my way of helping people get to know what they might be getting into, when they take Club Mahindra packages.
I try to peal some of the marketing sheen off what is given to show and what it actually means for you. 
For the un-initiated, Club Mahindra offers holiday packages for Indians, where users pay subscription to holiday for next 25 years. Sound good, well can be good, but read on.
There might be some caveats which we will try to uncover as we go along.
Welcome to the journey, which i would try to make painless for you.
This blog will try to cover the painful truth, so if you are looking for nostalgic, marketing bit, I suggest you head to the official site .