I had opened a Young Stars account with ICICI Bank in the name of my daughter, Shruthi Venkat,...
The list of complaints against the Mahindra group company from members is increasing. But they are not being addressed appropriately
There appears to be little respite for Mahindra Holidays and Resorts, as the list of complaints from dissatisfied customers continues to grow. The complaints range from unsatisfactory practices and deficiency in services to unfulfilled promises. While very little is known about how successful the company has been in redressing the complaints, a letter addressed to Mahindra Holidays managing director Ramesh Ramanathan recently raises the lack of clarity over the business model that this Mahindra group company follows.
"Overall people are not very clear on the business model Club Mahindra follows. There is no one reference document to it and the typical timeshare model does not apply in this case," Bhupesh Gupta, who has been a member of Club Mahindra Holidays since 2004, wrote in his complaint. "Bits and pieces of information come to light, surprising me every time. I am surprised why Mahindra Holidays reports resort occupancy levels at the time of quarterly report to shareholders. What significance does this have to its timeshare business? Who will take the hit of this under-utilisation, the members or the business?"
Mr Gupta says that he has not received a reply from the company for some time and so addressed a copy of the letter to Moneylife, which raised the issue with the company. However, the explanations by Mr Ramesh and chairman Arun Nanda were not very enlightening. Without answering the issue raised directly, both tried to describe how "customer centric" the company has been.
Mr Ramesh says, "Our surveys done both internally and independently prove that we have a very happy set of members who rate the experience at our resorts extremely high. I am happy to share with you that RCI have awarded the Gold Crown status to 10 of our resorts… more than 25% of our new members sign up through referrals by existing members, denoting a high level of delight with the brand." RCI is the largest timeshare vacation network in the world.
Strangely, in a recent interview with MoneyControl, Mr Nanda had admitted that an internal check has revealed that the company was lacking in many aspects and that it required some cleansing operations to contain the damage to its membership base. Club Mahindra is said to have experienced a 30% drop in membership sales revenue over the past few months.
It is very likely that this is the outcome of the numerous complaints of members that appear to go unresolved. Consumer review websites like mouthshut.com and www.consumercomplaints.in list some of them. In one recent note, Devyani Chakraborty says she is still awaiting a refund on cancellation of her membership, which was sold to her a few days before during Durga Puja. In one post today, Mr Sandeep said he has failed to encash a free holiday voucher coupon after he was told that there were no rooms available in any of the resorts in any destination.
Other complaints refer to lack of proper exit options, which, the Mahindra Holidays chairman said were very few. However, there is no explanation as to why members have to go through an excruciating exit mechanism and lose 30-40% of their membership fees in the process.
Many of the timeshare membership holders have complained that the "flexibility" option, which enables the users to transfer, exchange and split their holidays, have led to under-utilisation of the resorts. Moreover, they accuse the administration of favouritism, which enables only some particular members to avail good reservation dates and facilities.
But while members are allegedly denied facilities, resorts and rooms are used for other events and availed by outsiders. Many members, after repeated failures, give up on making reservations, which leaves many resorts with vacancies. There are complaints about unsatisfactory services, inadequate inventory and other unfulfilled promises.
It appears from inquiries Moneylife made with some members that there is no proper grievance redressal mechanism and neither are members aware of how they can get their complaints resolved, nor are the staff equipped to deal with such situations. Another repeated mention is that staff members engage in dubious practices like lotteries, misleading members about offers and not providing proper information about the terms and conditions.
New Delhi: Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said its subsidiary, Lavasa Corporation, has been given the green signal for a Rs2,000 crore initial public offer (IPO) by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), reports PTI.
"... Lavasa Corporation Ltd, subsidiary company of HCC, has received observation letter from SEBI for its proposed IPO," HCC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In September, Lavasa Corporation had filed a draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the market regulator for the proposed IPO.
The IPO may hit the market by November-December, depending on the date of receipt of clearances from regulatory authorities, HCC chairman Ajit Gulabchand had said earlier.
The real estate developer has roped in ICICI Securities, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Morgan Stanley India and Axis Bank as book running lead managers for the issue.
HCC holds a stake of about 65% in Lavasa, while Gautam Thapar-controlled Avantha Group is the second-largest shareholder with a 16% stake.
Other shareholders include Venkatesh Hatcheries with a 13% stake and Pune-based investor, Vinay Maniar, who holds a 6% stake in the company.
Lavasa is a planned hill city being developed by HCC near Pune. The master plan for Lavasa was drawn up by internationally renowned design consultant HOK of the USA.
The hill township has been planned to house a permanent population of around three lakh, as well as the expected arrival of 20 lakh tourists every year.
The first of the five towns - Dasve - is slated to be ready by 2010-11.