We bought fixed week vacation timeshare membership of Sterling resorts for Mussoorie ( vide member ship no 4779A, week 26 ,season/ white ) in year 1992 and Sterling resorts Goa vagator
( membership no 9007A,week 51, High season/ purple ) in year 1993.As per the agreement we are entitled for one week
(7 days) holiday every year for 99 years commencing from year 1994 till 2092 . The agreement also provides for an accommodation with a kitchenette and also permits exchange, sale, renting, gifting, accumulating , splitting and floating of the time share week.Exchange being subject to availability.( Contract agreement copy attached). We had invested our hard earned money in the time shares of sterling 25 years ago essentially to insure an inflation proof holiday for 99 years for our family and old parents.
The service track record of Sterling has been poor since inception. Sterling illegally oversold their fixed time share weeks in most resorts( almost by 200-300% than its capacity). The numbers of time share members ( new and old) far exceeds the total capacity in individual resorts as well as in all resorts put together. Sterling continues to add new members at much higher prices without adding much to its inventory of rooms.After 25 years of providing Shally accommodation Sterling has only recently refurbished some of its resorts despite having collected maintenance charges annually from all the members.
Sterling has recently been bought by thomas cook a tour and travel company thereby creating a conflict of interest.
The focus of Sterling now is to sell time share schemes to new members and to sell rooms in the resorts as guest rooms through online / travel agents to non members and one time customers/ walk ins at High prices.Sterling is thus using all methods to discourage and discriminate against its old vacation time share members particularly 99 years vacation time share members to avail their holiday entitlements.The Modus operandi adopted is as follows:
1.A wet kitchenette ( hot plate, rolling pin,steam cooker , few basic utensils) was earlier provided for 20 years as per agreement.Now sterling has replaced its wet kitchenette with a dry kitchenette( microwave & few dishes) citing fire hazard..They even refuse to provide induction cookers and basic utensils causing immense problems for all members in general and for strict vegetarians like us in particular.As it is impossible to prepare an Indian style simple meal of chapati & Dal etc in a microwave oven thereby forcing members to take heavy & oily meals in their expensive restaurants.
We are a jain vegetarian family and 85 year old parents do not eat restaurant food. Now because of the withdrawl of wet kitchenette we cannot cook even simple meals as per our liking and convenience. We cannot go on holidays because we cannot take our old parents with us .Besides taking a toll on health taking all meals in a restaurant for 7 days is expensive.A family of 4 staying for a week has to shell out in excess of ? 28000 @ ?1000/ day for only 3 meals. This makes holidays unaffordable thereby defeating the purpose for which time share membership was bought. By withdrawing the wet kitchenette Sterling has violated the contract.It is obvious that they have done this to promote their expensive restaurants.
2..Although provided in the contract agreement it is very difficult almost impossible to obtain an exchange reservation during holidays and weekends in their properties as per our choice and convenience.Citing no vacancy they deny the members their rightful due .This is because Sterling is selling vacation rooms to outsiders , non members and walk ins through travel agents and on line but and denying them to members under exchange .Although exchange is subject to availability but it has been found that reservation is denied to accommodate non members .Their reservation system is opaque and secretive so that they can deny the members their due.Everytime I have tried to book a room in exchange during holidays at my convenience I have failed to obtain a reservation.Since the interest of thousands of members is involved we demand that Sterling must provide for a net based transparent and verifiable reservation system.
3.As per clause 14 of the agreement one can sell, rent, gift his week to anyone through a simple authorisation in writing but Sterling in order to discourage members have started levying guest charges in violation of agreement .
4. Sterling has started charging for early checkout/ part utilization and for gifting holidays to non members.This is again a restrictive in nature .
5.Sterling is discouraging resale of membership by imposing high transfer fees with new and harsh conditions on new buyers.This they are doing in order to sell memberships to new gullible buyers at exhorbitant prices. Having locked the existing members in a non performing contract they are preventing them from exiting.That old 99 year membership with balance 75 years are available in the resale market at a steep discount to current prices ,bears the fact that Sterling is discriminating against old members.
6.Sterling has sold its property in Goa Vagator without intimating members let alone taking permission from them and in total voilation of trust.I bought a fixed week Sterling time share( week 51) in Sterling Goa vagator specifically because of its location and proximity to the beach. In lieu of vagator ,Sterling is now offering properties in Goa which are located far far away from the beach and hence a let down.We do not like these new properties and hence would like to seek a compensation from Sterling for this violation.The compensation must be provided at the current replacement rates for the next 75 years. The current price of a studio apartment for 7 days in high peak season / purple category is> ?5.0 lacs.
7.Sterling is consistently increasing the annual maintenance and daily utility charges.The current AAC is ?4905/week and daily utility charges are ~?1000/day. Adding the interest on the membership fee makes it expensive defeating the very purpose of buying a time share.
9.Sterling requires a long 2-3 months notice period to book reservation in a resort even for our own week in the same resort which is again a restrictive practice.
9.Having oversold its time shares many times Sterling now discourages members to take long full week holidays so as to sell the rooms to a large number of persons( non members and members).Their attempt is sell short 2-3 days holidays because people tend to splurge more complain on short holidays.
By reneging on their committments provived in the contract/agreements Sterling is cheating members of their rightful entitlements by indulging in restrictive trade practice.
I am now reaching out to your forum to take up this matter so that consumer interest is protected.It may be noted that MRTPC had in the past pulled up the company and issued an order against Sterling .It is unfortunate that sterling continues to indulge in unfair trade practices .
(30th June till 6th July) season/ white
23 rd Dec - 29th Dec) High season/ purple