By Socrates Mbamalu, FIJ
On October 20, 2020, various Nigerian Newspapers such as The Daily Times, Vanguard, La Mode, The Sun Newspaper and The Nation praised Ngozikachi Abimbola Onyeluo, the Chief Executive Officer of Kachi Beauty Products and daughter of popular Nollywood actress Ireti Doyle, for empowering women, distributors, and entrepreneurs.
One headline read, Kachi beauty products empowers distributors, entrepreneurs; while another read, Distributors, entrepreneurs, benefits from Kachi Beauty Empowerment Schemes.
On her Instagram page, Kachi had advertised a hair business scheme that promised to make those who joined her wholesale distribution millionaires. Her advert read in part: “Join the Kachi hair beauty wholesale distribution scheme and become a millionaire before the end of the year.”
This empowerment scheme attracted many young women and men both in Nigeria and in the diaspora, many of whom trusted Kachi mostly because of her mother, Ireti Doyle.
Those who bought wigs were placed under different batches: A, B and C. Kachi also introduced a distributors package in which subscribers to the Silver category paid N300,000, Gold subscribers paid N500,000, Platinum subscribers paid N1million and Diamond subscribers N5million. However, the scheme has been labelled as a scam by over 60 customers who spoke to FIJ.
A HELPLESS WOMAN’S KNEE SURGERY RUINED
Esezobor Mary-Ann was a 200 level student at the University of Calabar when she came across Kachi Beauty’s advert on her Instagram feed. She worked during the holidays and after classes to pay for her tuition fees. She was also saving up for the surgery of her mother’s knee, which needed replacement. Kachi Hair Beauty seemed like a good business to invest in to cater to all the financial responsibilities that weighed on her.
Esezobor ordered for 30 pieces of hair for N303,000 from the money she had saved up for her mother’s surgery. She hoped she would sell and get profit. Asides making the order, Esezobor borrowed N1million from a loan shark to register for Kachi’s distribution scheme (platinum category), promising to pay by the end of the year.
The 30 pieces of hair she had earlier ordered were to be delivered in October 2020 and the wholesale hair from the subscription in November 2020. But there was a delay with the delivery; and each time she called to inquire about it, she was persuaded to wait a little longer.
December came without any delivery in sight. When her calls became incessant, both Kachi and the customer care representative stopped picking her calls. The loan sharks harassed not only Esezobor but her family members. She was eventually blocked by Kachi on Instagram and her money was not refunded. No hair has been delivered to her as of the time of this report.
HOMELESSNESS LURKS… ‘THE WORST DECISION EVER’
“The worst decision I have ever made and I think I would ever make in my lifetime was to get a loan to join Kachi wholesale distribution scheme,” Esezobor lamented. “Trust me, that money would have gone a long way for me if I had used it to pay for my mother’s surgery or my brother’s school fees.”
Her exams are coming up and instead of studying hard, all she can think of is her N1million debt, her mother’s health and her school fees.
“As it is, my house rent is going to expire next month,” she says. When it does, we are all going to be homeless. I am depressed, tired and about to give up on everything.”
COMPLAIN AND GET BLOCKED
On the bio of Kachi Beauty Products page which has over 80,000 followers, Kachi claims she is the biggest wig manufacturer in Africa and refers to herself as The New China in Africa. In the bio are two warnings: “no refund” and “abusive comments will get you blocked”.
Some of the customers who had fallen prey to her advert were blocked whenever they commented asking for a refund, while other comments were deleted. A majority of her customers, mostly women, who had not received the hair they paid for created WhatsApp groups and Instagram pages to call Kachi out.
FIJ found two of such groups: Kachithescammer and Kachipetition. Both groups highlighted that “Kachi Beauty Products is a thief!” FIJ found out that the 60 members in one of the Whatsapp groups were owed more than N25 million by Kachi!
In a February 2021 article published in Vanguard, Kachi explained that she was refunding some customers due to economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
But investigations by FIJ showed that on November 28, 2018, a customer (name withheld) bought hair worth N26,000 from Kachi but Kachi did not deliver the hair till date. These complaints have not stopped Kachi from going on tours across the country selling hair. As evident on her Instagram page, she has toured Benin, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu, advertising sales.
TOO LITLE TOO LATE… IRETI DOYLE’S DISCLAIMER
If Kachi’s customers had any hope of getting their orders delivered or money refunded by appealing to her mother, Ireti Doyle, who was the main reason they trusted Kachi with their money, that hope was lost when Mrs Doyle issued out a public service announcement in June 2020, saying she won’t entertain “complaints from irate customers”.
She further warned against scam pages and highlighted that her daughter’s business was “nurtured for over a decade with love, tears and sacrifice”. Mrs. Doyle further stated “If you pay into the account other than the Guaranty Trust Bank acct no. in the last frame, that is entirely on you.”
The first problem with Mrs Doyle’s comment was that she had previously promoted Kachi’s business multipletimes. Another is that in May 2020, Asemota Supreme had paid a total of N555,000 into the same Guaranty Trust Bank account of Kachi Beauty Product to order for hair but for over 10 months hasn’t received a refund or hair.
ASEMOTA HAS A HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AFTER LOSING HIS SCHOOL FEES
Asemota, a student in Malaysia, took out some money from his school fees hoping to do quick business. He first paid N152,000 on May 3, 2020, as part of the Batch B. He later paid N403,000 for Batch C.
He told FIJ that Kachi promised that the hair ordered for in May 2020 (Batch B) would be delivered in August 2020. No hair was delivered, and when he saw Kachi advertise her gallery hair sales in December, he placed a comment on her page asking when he would receive his order. He was immediately blocked.
His emails asking for a refund have gone unanswered, and the customer care keep telling him they were “working on it”. Asemota needs the money to pay for his fees. he has been having sleepless nights and a high blood pressure.
Going through Kachi’s page, she advertises that her distribution scheme “will control the market price to keep our vision of ‘FOR THE MASSES’ intact and to ensure quick turnover for our esteemed distributors”.
She also makes mention of quality control measures that will be put in place to ensure that distributors sell only Kachi Beauty Products Brands. With the backing of the respected name of her mother, it was easy for many to patronise her business. In another of Kachi’s numerous tweets she said: “By the time I make all hardworking women in Africa millionaires. . . make una just gather money buy me my Rolls Royce…”
THE INVESTMENT THAT ENDED MAYOWA’S PHD STUDIES
Sonia Mayowa (not real name), one of such hardworking women, fell victim to the Kachi Beauty Product scam. She told FIJ that after one year and five months after paying for hair to the tune of N6,503,000 (Six million, five hundred and three thousand naira), she is yet to get the hair or a refund.
When Ireti Doyle celebrated and advertised Kachi Beauty product on her Instagram feed, Mayowa placed an order of 608 pieces of hair. She had always wanted to venture into the hair distribution business but was afraid of fraudsters and scammers. But Iretiola Doyle’s post advertising her daughter’s business made her take a step she had delayed for so long.
“Little did I know I was shooting myself in the leg,” she says.
Due to the purchase of the hair, Mayowa was unable to further her nearly-completed MBA studies as her access to the online class was blocked and she was given an ultimatum for payment.
‘PLEASE RETURN MY MONEY, I DON’T WANT THE HAIR AGAIN’
“Asides My MBA classes, I have an outstanding loan of N5million to pay. I borrowed N2million from colleagues and N3million from GTB,” she lamented.
“Now I use all my salary and earnings to pay debts. I am emotionally drained and tired. Please help me beg Kachi to return my money, I no longer want the hair. The 84 pieces of hair she delivered out of the 603 I ordered are pure synthetic and all bad; no one is buying it.”
On January 19, 2021 in an Instagram live chat with Dele Momodu, Kachi repeatedly stated she doesn’t sell bad hair and she would never sell bad hair. However, comments under the live chat were contradictory to what Kachi was saying.
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Rosemary Ugorji, another victim, told FIJ: “After I saw Iretiola Doyle advertising her daughter’s hair on her page, I decided I was going to get the hair. I went ahead to collect money from my customers to purchase hair for them.
“I ordered 82 pieces of hair and two mannequins for the tune of N745,000, which was to be delivered in August 2020. I wish I could turn back the hands of time because purchasing hair from Kachi is my biggest regret in this life.”
LIKE KACHI, LIKE NWANNEKA
Kachi Beauty scam is reminiscent of Nwanneka Dorcas Nkumah, another online hair vendor who has also been in the business of scamming people by either sending them low-quality hair or not delivering their orders at all. FIJ exposed how Nwanneka’s fraudulent activity affected many women who bought hair from her.
Just like Nwanneka’s way of operating, Kachi sent 18 pieces of synthetic hair to Ugorji — the opposite of what she had ordered. When she reached out to complain about the order, she was told to “manage it like that” and was blocked from reaching out to Kachi via Instagram and calls.
A DUBIOUS REFUND FORM
In that Instagram live chat with Dele Momodu, Kachi had announced that she would refund her indebtedness to customers so that she could retain her integrity. She said she had refunded a total of over N20million to over 92 people frommore than a thousand customers who sent her a refund request via email. The refund form to be filled was reported by several women to contain loopholes that were detrimental to the women in question.
The refund form, obtained by FIJ, contained questionable sections such as the witness declaration part, to be signed by the witness. It stated that the witness had observed the refund of the amount owed, even though Kachi had not yet made a refund. If signed, it presented matters as though the witness was present when Kachi made a refund. But this was not the case.
A PROPERTY BUSINESS DESPITE THE HAIR MESS
As many more wait to be refunded, FIJ observed that Kachi had already started a homes and property business. A June 15, 2020 post on Instagram bears a picture of her with the caption, “CEO, Kachi homes and property… affordable home for the masses.”
This new homes business adopts the same pattern as the hair business. Just as she promised to make women in Africa millionaires with hair for the masses, her homes and properties promo declares in her Instagram post: “Affordable homes for the masses.” In another post, she says: “We are for the masses… Kachi homes and property will bring you affordable living.”
STRONG WORDS BY AN ANGRY VICTIM
Gbubemi Eugene’s experience with Kachi Beauty Product did not reflect any love from the business owner. She purchased 40 pieces of hair for the sum of N385,000 and was assured they would be delivered in three months after she had made the order. Four months later, the order was still yet to come.
It has been nine months since Eugene made her purchase; she has neither received her money nor hair, prmpting a change in her perception of Kachi as a philanthropis.
“She is nothing close to that; even if she is one, she is a philanthropist from the pit of hell, a big scammer and an unrepentant thief. I urge everyone to please beware of her,” Eugene said.
FIJ contacted Kachi Beauty Customer care and was asked to send an email. The receiver refused to give Kachi’s number for a direct comment. The email was sent but there was no response.
FIJ understands that petitions have been written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police Force at Alagbon, however Kachi continues expanding her business and promoting it on Instagram while her defrauded hair customers watch on with helplessness.
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