Country Holidays Inn & Suites — fraud, refused membership cancellation and refund
New Delhi, Delhi, India
GuGurwinderjit on Aug 12, 2018
My worst experience with a country holiday inn & suites (Chis), don’t confuse it with country inn.
The sweetness and gesture the sales team will show while selling their membership, you will be bound to fall into their trap and once your card is swipe, they will give you an agreement to sign stating that this is the written commitment of what we discussed showing the amount paid. They will not let you read the other conditions saying that you can read it later.
Here is the description of the incident that i have gone through with “country holidays inn & suites pvt. Ltd, shop no. 23, ground floor, tdi mall, vishal cinema besides, rajouri garden, new delhi”.
I filled one coupon at budget bazaar, a3/233 mota singh marg, janakpuri, new delhi 110058 on july 13, 2018 where the person told me that ‘country holiday inn and suits’ has opened new properties at few locations including shimla, jaipur, goa etc. And they will provide you 2 nights/3 days stay at their new hotels if your names comes in lucky draw and asked me to fill small form to which i said i'm not interested but he said please sir just write your name and phone number only and if in draw your name come then you will be contacted. The same night i left for week long business trip to us and my mobile has been switched off till i returned back to india the subsequent week. The very next day, i got call from +91 [protected] person introducing himself as amit sharma stating "you won the lucky draw for free 2 nights/3 days’ vacation along with movie tickets" to which i hardly paid any attention since i was in middle of meeting at my office and disconnected the call. The next day again i got call from same number and the person informing me that "you won the lucky draw where our company is offering free 2 nights/3days stay at their 5 star property along with free movie tickets for 2 adults”. I was not willing to go as i don’t trust in such offers, so i denied. But he keep on calling and convincing me to visit their office in tdi mall, rajouri garden along with my spouse to collecting the free gift vouchers. I finally said okay, but i can’t come this week to which he asked me for the earliest date you can come to collect your gift, i said i’ll try over this weekend but didn’t confirm. On saturday aug 04, 2018 around past 1pm, again i got call where caller referencing to earlier phone calls and insisting me to visit tdi mall, rajouri garden to collect your gift vouchers. I said i’ll see in the evening, within 2 minutes i received a message from mobile number – [protected] stating
"welcome country holidays inn & suites india pvt. Ltd.
Today u and ur spouse invited from tdi mall rajouri garden.
Congratulations, we are offering holiday voucher for 2nights/3days in country inn india pvt. Ltd.
It's free accommodation voucher.1 year validity.
2nd voucher is pvr movies ticket for couples
Entry code - rz601rt timing 07:30 pm
(Entry restricted to couples only) 45 minutes time required for detailing.
Shop no. 23, ground floor,
Tdi mall, vishal cinema besides, rajouri garden, new delhi.
Regards - amit sharma"
I did not go as i was busy with personal stuff in the nearby area only but he again messaged me around 7:07pm stating “sir how much time it will we take” i ignored it and then few minutes later he again called me insisting me to come to collect the gift vouchers and even said if you come by 8:45 pm that also works fine with them. I counter questioned them whether there are any terms and conditions to accept the offer which they denied.
I then said okay, i will come (As i anyways was in rajouri garden area only that for some other stuff). They again sent me same message with a new entry code – rz0091rt from a new mobile number +91 [protected] (Lavi sharma). I thought it’s the same person as surname of both the persons was ‘sharma’ and he sent me their location on watsapp as well.
I finally decided to go and entered to tdi mall, rajouri garden around 8:15pm and i found that county holiday inn office is in the corner diagonally behind ccd. I reached there and enquired about amit, then a person shared a form with me asking the entry code to collect the vouchers. I was then asked to attend a presentation about company’s promotion to get the free vouchers. There were few more couples sitting there, thus, out of curiosity, i also agreed for the presentation stating that we have limited time to which they said it won't take more than 45 minutes. A well-dressed person came to us and introduced himself as"ajit kumar"working as a manager here. He then introduced us to girl named harpreet kaur and said she will be doing the presentation. She introduced herself first and asked us please introduce yourself so that we are comfortable with each other for next 45 minutes during the presentation. She then asked you must be having some questions in your mind why any company is providing any free vouchers, which was right at that moment. She then said it’s for your time for promotion of company’s new app “chis”. She then started that you must have heard about chis and i was also under the impression that it is related to country inn hotels as the name is similar to that only and the text message also mentioned the same. She then asked us about our last vacations and said that she will offer some plan only if it is relevant to you, else you will be provided the voucher without spending further time. She started talking about chis, i started losing my interest and said that i am not interested in buying any plan. She then started side talks with the intend to get more info about us and our lifestyle and i've to interrupt her from those side talks stating we don't have much time to spend here as we have kids back home who should be looking for us. As i was getting email notifications on my mobile, i often started checking my mails to which she objected and said if i could pay some attention to her presentation. I put my mobile on silent mode honoring her request (To avoid notification alerts). Out of curiosity, i asked her question about how many properties self-owned by chis to which she doesn't had answer and said she recently joined chis but will get it answered by her senior. She looked around but didn't see the person whom she was looking for, stepped away for a minute to inquire about her senior and came back stating he is on bio-break and but she will get answers to my question. I asked her to move on anyways as i've already lost interest and wanted to wrap up this discussion quickly as we don't have much time. We were preparing to leave that she called her senior introduced him as ajit kumar (Same person who met us the moment we enter chis office). I reiterated my question to him but he didn't answer my question rather said we (Chis) have 6500+ properties at both domestic and international locations and these are 4 & 5 star hotels including hyatt.
Being a world of hyatt globalist member, i countered him on his reference to hyatt and asked him which category of hyatt properties they provide accommodation to which he gave reference to hyatt regency delhi, but i reiterated my question to which he was not even aware of world of hyatt group hotels and their classification. Then i asked him do you have any of spg hotels in their list, to my surprise he even not heard about it and asked me what is spg? I replied to him starwood group of hotels and resorts. I said that anyways i am not interested in buying any plan. He then convinced that he is not at all selling any plan to me and started showing some five-star properties (Hotels). He then said that offer would be valid for today only. Then he said this is unlike other membership plans where they sell life time plans for 5-10 lakhs rupees. He then said what if this hotel will be available to you at 2 star hotel price etc. I said yes it would be a great deal and everyone would prefer to reduce their expenses including their vacation/travel expenses. He then said we have a 10 year membership plan for inr 1, 98, 000 lakhs for 70 days. I straight away denied the offer since i cannot afford to pay it keeping in view my last month expenditure.
Ajit kumar then said his company (Chis) has come up with membership offer for selected peoples like you only who hardly get time for holiday/vacation due to busy work schedule and family life. Moreover, if you can't afford then who will? He then engaged us in dialog about our past vacations and family time asking us about the experience and how much did it cost you. We just talk about last vacation experience but slowly he brought the cost part and asked us how much did it cost you to which i said it was rs 80000 for 7 days inclusive of everything. Then he again started talking about chis and his offer where he started adding freebies to which again i denied. Then he asked me whether i'm use credit card to which i said yes i do, then he asked how much credit limit do you have to which i replied it has nothing to do with your business. He then said, he will check if chis has some additional offer on your credit card and immediately asked me can i see your credit card so that he can inquire about any special offers. I was reluctant but somehow he convenience me. The moment i showed him my citi credit card, he said let me check if he can extend additional offer to me and went inside the small cabin and in 2 minutes came back holding a pos machine asking me to enter my pin. I objected by stating that why i need to enter my pin as i'm neither buying any of your plan nor we came to any conclusion yet. Further to that he said, he is just checking for special offer if available on my card from chis and nothing else. (I got the impression, it could be similar to reward membership where based on your card type you get additional privileges such as airport lounge access etc.) since my mobile was on silent mode and didn't get sms notification alert/sound, though there was sms from citibank staring"rs 20, 000 was spent on your citi credit xxxxxx on 04-aug-18 at country holidays inn. Available credit limit is rs xxxx". Again he went inside the cabin and came back with chis membership application form and asked us to fill it and in the meanwhile they are checking if chis has any special offer on my card. I again refused by stating that we are not going for any membership to which he said it's just a simple form and we just need your few details. Since there were no terms and conditions mentioned on the form, we just started filing it.in the meanwhile he also started talking about what is stopping me from refusing his offer to which i reiterated given my current expenditure, i can’t afford anything like this to increase my financial liability unnecessarily. To which he said they have emi plan as well and said its 0% interest emi for you as the interest part will be taken care by our company. Again i refused it starting that i can't go far it keeping in view my expenses as i already told him.
He bought 2 minutes from us to get status update from his team for the offer on your card and went inside cabin and came back stating that if you opt for emi plan then there are additional offers available.
Just out of curiosity i asked him what special offer/freebies do they have to which ajit kumar responded, he will check and again went inside cabin and come back with pos machine once again and asked me to enter my pin. The moment i entered my pin, he went inside cabin along with my card and pos machine.in the meantime i already had 2nd notification on my cell stating"rs 160, 000 was spent on your citi credit xxxxxx on 04-aug-18 at country holidays inn. Available credit limit is rs xxxx". But since my cell was on silent mode i didn't get alert.
Moment later he came out of cabin and continued talking about his offer and emi option and continue adding freebies including free air tickets vouchers, food coupons etc. And said no other company will provide such kind of offer costing less than rs 2, 000 per night for such kind of hotel stay. I completely denied their offer and started leaving the office as it was around 9:45 pm. They then very politely said that please collect your free voucher before leaving the office. I will take only 5 minutes. Then he again casually started talking that what resists you to take the offer so that he can provide feedback to the company. I said it might be useful but it takes time to decide before spending such a huge amount for a middle class like me and i may opt for it if you will provide me 1-2 day’s time after exploring about the hotels. He then said it was already informed in the beginning that any offer would be valid for today only and he is not feeling great that if we move away like this and have wasted an 1.5 hour.
He then offered us additional 21 days stating that though it is for senior citizens only, but he will somehow manage for it. He additionally offered us one-night stay at fortune hotel for 2 along with free breakfast and dinner. He additionally offered me 2 nights with breakfast at either jaipur or shimla and 3000 food voucher thus making a total night of 93 nights at inr 193295. I then also denied that i can’t pay such amount at once and i already has few outstanding financial liabilities due this month. I told that i can confirm it over the phone by next week (If we make up our mind) but they forced us into this by saying that this is an exclusive offer for few selected families which would expire the minute we step out from the room. He then said he will arrange emi plan exclusively for me and i can take back entire amount refund in 7 days if i will not enjoy my stay at fortune hotel to which i said i hardly get time for all such local hotel stays. He showed some of the membership bought recently and said people who bought membership plan 4-5 years ago came and thank them for making an asset. He then said i only have to pay rs 14441.40 per month for such a stay for 10 years and this amount is nothing for you. He then showed on calculator that per night stay is costing less than rs 2, 000. I and my wife also seems convincing as the offer was lucrative but i was on backfoot keeping in view my current financial liabilities, then finally i inquired about the cancellation part again where they told us that at any point of time within 7 days you can cancel this membership. Lack of my interest in such offers, i just took my mobile to check on current time as we already spent enough and to my surprise i saw sms notifications from citi bank stating
Rs 20, 000 was spent on your citi credit xxxxxx on 04-aug-18 at country holidays inn. Available credit limit is rs xxxx"
And another one stating "rs 160, 000 was spent on your citi credit xxxxxx on 04-aug-18 at country holidays inn. Available credit limit is rs xxxx".
When i asked them how come they deducted total rs180, 000 in 2 transactions from my card on the name of checking special offers on my card. To which he said sorry sir by mistake it happen and when i asked them to reverse the transactions to which he said sorry it is not possible as transaction already completed and started convenience me to buy his offer. Possessing knowledge about how “point of sale (Pos” system works, i said there is a way to reverse it and asked him to bring the pos machine and i’ll do it myself to which he said he will check with his senior. He walked to his sr. Manager inside cabin, then another well-dressed gentleman who introduced himself as anam mirga came and asked about my concerns. When i asked him about 2 transactions which they debited on my card without my consent and just under the name of checking special offer on my card. Very politely anam mirga said we will try to reverse it but need my card to do the same. The moment i showed my card, he swiped it and asked me to enter pin (And said its usual procedure to reverse the transaction) and again swiped my card for one more time and asked me to enter my pin for reversal of other transaction of rs 20000.in the meanwhile ajith kumar kept us engaged in dialog and continued talking about his offer to convenience us to which we were refusing from very beginning itself and i entered my pin on pos machine. Anam mirga asked me to sign couple of merchant copy of pos receipts stating it is required for them to settle the merchant batch at the end of the day where the first one stating reversal of rs -160000 followed by couple more stating these were earlier ones where they mistakenly debited my card. Also he showed reversal of rs. -160000 on another long receipt he generated from pos machine just for my satisfaction and showcasing their generosity. Unaware of their smartness, i already fell in their trap where they have swiped my card for rs 20000, rs 160000, rs. -160000 and again rs. 160000 as per sms notification from citibank.
My mistake was i didn't pay attention to date timestamp neither on the pos receipts i sign nor on sms notifications. The other mistake was we told them about our upcoming plan for a trip to mussoorie. So, they kept on holding me by one or other way and meanwhile negotiating on their offer and keep convenience us by stating that you can cancel the membership anytime within 7 days. He then came with an agreement and asked us to sign. When we wanted to go through the agreement but they did not allow us to do so saying that “sir, need not worry. It has all the information that we have discussed now and you can read it later showing the membership plan and offer details along with freebies. You need not worry, country holiday inn & suites is not a small brand, you know”. Just in case you make up your mind to go far this offer, you can tell us over the phone by monday and gave his visiting card on which his number is mentioned along with his designation as “take over manager”.
By now they already sensitized that we are concerned about our kids back home and in hurry to leave as its already quite late, taking advantage of this, they said you just sign it for now to make sure today's offer stays and late by monday you confirm whether you want to go ahead with this offer and they will process it. Also he gave me another paper taking authorization of rs. 180, 000 on my card and said nothing will be charged until i opt to their membership offer. Unaware of their smartness, somehow i also relied on them as it was too late (Past 10:30 pm) and we wanted to reach home at the earliest since our kids were back home waiting for us. They then handed over an envelope containing photo copies of application form we filled, contract we signed, and customer copied of pos receipts which i asked them earlier along with another small envelop to which he said this is your gift containing movie tickets for 2 adult and free hotel stay voucher. We just took the envelop and left their office, tdi mall was almost empty with majority of outlets closed and few dim lights on in common areas. By the time we reached home it was already past 11:00 pm and our kids were happy to see us as they were alone with caretaker.
As i was not interested in their offer from very beginning and didn’t look at whatever is inside the envelop. Monday i heard about some org level changes in my company which will require relocation. I immediately called on the number from which i received message it was “lavi sharma” but he referred me to his senior and provided ajit kumar's number. I called ajit and told him i don't want to go with his offer and asked him not to process the application form we filled. To which he said "sir, membership is non-cancellable" and you already agreed to terms and conditions by signed their contract and paid the full amount. I was shocked to hear they already deducted full amount from my credit card. Then i started searching sms notification from citibank and to my surprise they cleverly deducted rs 20000, rs 160000, rs. -160000 and again rs. 160000. I again called back ajit on his cell and he said today he is not keeping well today and their office is closed as well but he gave me his senior anam's number to contact. When i called anam on his cell and asked him for cancellation of my application and refund, he was reluctant to talk by stating there is not a valid reason for cancellation and further said he didn't even recognize me. When i gave reference to our meeting in their tdi mall rajouri garden office, he simple ignored me by stating he met multiple people on saturday aug 04, 2018 and can’t remember everyone and asked me to come and meet him in his office but today monday is their weekly off and their office is close. When i asked him how about tomorrow to which he said he is offsite and won’t be available in office but asked me to call him on tuesday post 11 am and check for his availability.
I thought of sending email to their customer care as well and the moment i logged in to my mail account, i saw they already sent me payment receipt of rs 180, 000 towards membership charges. I immediately replied back to the email stating “i want cancellation of my membership application (In process) and requested to refund the full amount” to which they replied “we regret to inform you that the cancellation cannot be processed against the specified reason, the membership is non-refundable as per agreement which is mutually signed”. When the truth is - i neither agreed to their terms and conditions nor gave my consent to their membership offer. They made us sign the paper using unethical and illicit means while taking advantage of our situation during late evening hours.
I called citi phone banking as well informed about this incident and asked them to block the transactions to which they said merchant has not yet come for settlement but they will keep a close watch on it and if merchant come for settlement they will take appropriate action/inform me. Since my credit card has already been compromised, citibank suggested me to cancel my current credit card i’m holding and they will send a new card within next 4 working day to avoid any further misuse by this merchant. I agreed to it as it is wise practice in interest of both me and citibank.
I then searched about this company “country holiday inn and suites” online and found the company was actually registered in december 2016 only. How come they get customer 3 to 4 years ago as they mentioned during presentation. Also when i checked their website they have mentioned the refund policy which states “in case of any valid point of dissatisfaction, the member can cancel their membership within 7 days of availing their first holiday by writing to us at [protected]@countryholidaysinnsuites.com. Refund will be processed after deducting administration charges, asf and gst”. But they are denying refund of my money they took by following unethical and illicit practices.
I, then, read the so-called agreement which mentioned things which were totally opposite to what they said. I am an it professional and i do understand and respect indian laws. This is a void agreement which can’t be enforceable as it is one sided generic agreement which doesn’t gives me any right to cancel.
Further to add to this, in the consumer forum ludhiana (Case no.553, dt.05.07.2012) the hon’ble judge specifically addressed this issue of ‘non-refundability’ – “further the plea taken by the ops (Country vacations) that as per the terms and conditions of the impugned contract, the membership fee once paid is non-refundable is also not sustainable, as the impugned contract is one sided standard form of contract (Where the parties are not equal in the bargaining power) which the ops got prepared according to serve their interest and the complainants were supposed to sign only on the dotted line. For such a view we are guided by the judgement by the hon’ble supreme court reported in air1986 (Sc) 1571.”
It has been almost a week i’ve been consistently requesting them to refund full amount of rs. 180, 000 which they stole from my card by unlawful and illicit means and now forcing their membership on us against our will while denying refund by giving reference to terms and conditions of the impugned contract. Even i got call from [protected] where the person introduced himself as rahul sr manager at chis handling escalations related to reservation and membership. During my telecom with him, he called me “fraud” stating you are one of those who pay rs 100 and then move to consumer forum/court and claim rs 1000 from peoples like us. When i countered him, how can he call me fraud when i’m requesting my money which your sales people stole from my call unlawfully. To which he said, i’m sorry with all due respect sir, you signed to our terms and conditions (Carefully brainstormed by our legal advisors) and as per that we can’t refund you anything now and we welcome you as member to chis. If you are not willing to go for our membership, you can transfer to someone else. This is completely a fraud where they took money from my credit card by their unlawful act and getting the application form and contract signed on dotted line by unethical and illicit means which they call is inline to company laid procedure and policies. Even their sales team threatened me by stating “their uncle is in delhi police, and relative in income tax department and brother who is lawyer” as you signed to our terms and conditions as per company procedures and policies, do whatever you want too we are not refunding your money.
Please help us to get our money back since this a purely a fraud that has happened to us.
(Spouse of sarbjit)
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