Invariably, whenever I go to a mall, there will be a guy waiting near the billing counter to handover a free holiday anywhere in the country. You just need to fill a small form – that’s it!
The very next day you get a call saying that you have won a free gift voucher for 2nights/3days holiday and you need to come to a pre-assigned venue with three hours of spare time to collect the vouchers. On many occasions, I tried to avoid this, but ultimately I was once tempted and found myself in one of such 3-hour sessions.
Well I got the vouchers no doubt, but only after watching lengthy presentations on Mahindra holidays and their resorts/ properties. An equal amount of sales talk from the guys there followed, trying to convince me to take a timeshare in their properties.
I also found out that the free holiday is not free after all! You have to pay 15 percent of the cost which they said would be refunded if I didn’t like the vacation and opted not to buy the timeshare.
At the end of the session I spoke to several people who were present there to find out what it was all about.
According to a couple who was there for the second time, they tried to redeem their gift certificate, but were unable to do so because every time they tried to redeem their certificates online they got an error.
Another couple was there to take the refund of the 15 percent they had paid a couple of months back. Since they were unable to get the refund they were there to meet the Club Mahindra’s sales team face to face.
Based on the feedback and what I could comprehend from the sales guys from Club Mahindra, I can safely say that:
1. The membership cost which is around 2.5-5 lakh is a little steep considering the fact that you can take a couple of vacations in a year in India and would actually cost less than this
2. Getting a booking in the Club Mahindra’s property at the time of your choice is really difficult and sometimes next to impossible
3. You have to make your plans almost six months ahead. And if you cancel your booking, the refund you get is very less and the process is very lengthy, having to make numerous calls to their call centre
4. Whether you take a vacation or not, you need to pay for the maintenance
5. Cancelling a membership is costly and you stand to lose a big amount of what you had paid.
6. The 15% percent of the refundable cost of the first supposedly free holiday is marred with clauses which make refund almost a far cry
7. Getting to holiday in the destination of your choice in any of Club Mahindra’s properties is very difficult. So you stand to taking a vacation according to vacancy in their properties and not where you want to holiday.
Well, I would like to tell all who had filled the form in a mall and have got a phone call to redeem their 2nights/ 3 days holiday: jyo life, but in a different way. There are better ways of holidaying!