Ackermans has become one of the most popular affordable fashion retailers in South Africa. With its wide range of trendy and budget-friendly clothing options for women, it seems like an ideal place to shop.
However, I’ve noticed some concerning complaints and reviews about Ackermans online that made me question if their low prices come with a big catch. Is Ackermans too good to be true? Or are they a legit brand that happens to have some unhappy customers venting online?
I decided to do some deep digging to find out if Ackermans is a scam or a legitimate affordable fashion retailer for the modern South African woman on a budget.
Here’s what I uncovered in my investigation:
Overview of Ackermans Women Scam
Ackermans is a clothing and footwear retail chain operated by Pepkor, a South African investment holding company. Founded in 1916, Ackermans focuses on value fashion, targeting lower-middle to middle-income shoppers.
They offer fashion and footwear for women, men, kids, and babies, along with some homewares. But they are likely best known for their extensive range of women’s clothing and shoes.
With over 800 stores across South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and Zambia they aim to make fashion accessible and affordable for all. Their motto sums it up: “More Style. More Choice.”
What Do Customers Love About Ackermans?
Reading through reviews, there were certainly some very satisfied Ackermans shoppers praising a few key things:
Affordable Prices: Many shoppers highlight that Ackermans offers very affordable fashion without compromising too much on style and quality. For budget-conscious shoppers, this is a major perk.
Good Quality: While the quality might not match more premium fashion brands, most customers seem pleased with the quality-to-price ratio they get from Ackermans’ clothing.
On-Trend Styles: Ackermans appears to keep up well with fashion trends, ensuring shoppers can achieve modern, stylish outfits on a tight budget.
Convenient Online Shopping: Many customers like the convenience of browsing and buying items online and then collecting purchases at their nearest brick-and-mortar store.
So when everything goes smoothly, Ackermans offers an affordable, enjoyable shopping experience that delights deal-driven fashionistas.
But here’s the concerning part…
That delightful shopping experience seems to crumble for some customers when issues arise needing customer service support.
Common Ackermans Complaints: Where Things Go Wrong
While many Ackermans customers sing the brand’s praises, they also have amassed some passionate complaints over the years.
By analyzing reviews across various consumer complaint sites, key pain points regularly emerged:
Terrible Customer Service
The most common complaint involved poor customer service experiences. According to multiple reviews, Ackermans staff (particularly managers and customer service agents) can be apathetic, rude, incompetent, and lacking empathy when dealing with customer issues.
Some felt staff lacked proper training to handle common issues, while others sensed more sinister discrimination at play. Either way, there’s a clear gap between customer expectations and actual support received.
Refusal to Address Issues
Making matters worse, various reviewers claim Ackermans refused to adequately address problems raised by customers involving flawed/faulty products, order issues, layby disputes, and account matters.
Some who escalated matters to managers or Ackermans’ head office still faced resistance getting acceptable solutions. This stubborn refusal to take ownership of issues and make things right fuelled immense frustration (and negative reviews).
No Response to Communication Attempts
Adding salt to the wound, multiple customers indicate getting zero response from Ackermans despite calling, emailing, and messaging to get resolution for their ongoing issues.
Stonewalling customer communication enquiries – especially when someone already feels aggrieved – reflects terribly on the company. And further supports allegations of very poor customer service standards.
Online Order Nightmares
Several negative reviews focused specifically on terrible experiences buyers faced with Ackermans online orders. Complaints included absurdly late deliveries, incomplete orders, incorrect items shipped, payments taken without orders fulfilled, and more.
These online ordering issues align with the larger customer service problems discussed earlier. And serve as more evidence that Ackermans drops the ball when problems arise needing intervention.
Key Warning Signs to Watch Out For
After analyzing the various complaints and negative reviews, I identified a few troubling patterns to keep an eye out for when shopping Ackermans:
Avoid Potential Bait-and-Switch Tactics
Some concerning complaints allege bait-and-switch sales tactics. This includes advertising an item online but providing something entirely different once purchased.
While rare, it’s still troubling and undermines trust in the brand. Be extra thorough checking online orders upon arrival. Document any discrepancies right away.
Carefully Review Return/Exchange Policies
Multiple reviewers faced denial of returns/exchanges despite buying faulty, damaged, or incorrect items. Brush up on Ackermans’ policies related to returns and exchanges before purchasing to avoid nasty surprises. Document Everything.
Beware Pressure Sales Tactics With Accounts/Loans
Few buyers reported high-pressure tactics to open in-store credit accounts with unfair loan terms or treatment once an account is opened. Be firm rejecting offers if unhappy with terms or rates. Ask reps to email full details so you can review later.
Confirm Online Order Delivery Details
With online shopping, be sure to capture order confirmation codes and track delivery status closely via their website or app. Document everything in case orders get lost or delayed. The more details you have, the better if issues arise needing customer service assistance.
Is Ackermans Women Scam or Legit?
Now we get to the big question on the minds of wary shoppers and disgruntled customers:
Is Ackermans a shady scam company masking itself as a legit retail brand?
To make this determination, I looked at key scam warning signs that point to fraudulent businesses versus reputable companies:
Type of Business
- Scam businesses typically run anonymous online operations. Ackermans has a longstanding company history since 1916 with physical store locations across southern Africa. Verdict: Legit
- Scam companies hide contact info and operate anonymously. Ackermans provides full contact details, executive profiles, store details, websites, and more. Verdict: Legit
- While concerning complaints exist, Ackermans maintains overall positive online reviews when aggregated. Scam companies are almost universally panned. Verdict: Legit
- There’s no evidence of legal actions taken against Ackermans for fraud or scams. They seem to maintain standing as a recognized retail brand. Verdict: Legit
- Although slow, reviews indicate Ackermans does work to resolve some issues raised through proper channels. Scam companies ignore without exception. Verdict: Legit
So by all legitimate accounts, Ackermans does not show key traits of a scam company. Disgruntled customers likely conflate terrible customer service with deliberate fraud.
In reality, Ackermans looks to be a legitimate retail brand that happens to offer extremely terrible customer experiences.
An important distinction for consumers to recognize before making purchasing decisions there.
Best Practices When Shopping Ackermans Women
While Ackermans isn’t a scam, their awful customer service and online order issues still pose a risk for shoppers.
Here are my top tips for safely shopping Ackermans to get the best experience possible:
Stick to In-Store Purchases
Limit risk dealing with fulfilment and delivery problems. Shop in-person so you get items right away while also allowing easier exchanges if needed.
Review Return/Exchange Policies
Know policies inside-out when making purchases so no grey areas exist if exchanges or returns become necessary later on.
Pay with cash or third-party services like PayPal with buyer protection. Don’t link risky credit accounts/loans that could cause issues later.
Keep all receipts, order confirmations, warranties, status updates, and any communication with staff. Create your paper trail should you need to dispute issues later on.
If issues arise, politely escalate to higher management levels with documentation. Provide reasonable resolution timelines. Refrain from emotions/accusations. Kill them with patience, politeness and facts.
Go Public As Last Resort
If management fails to address your reasonable issues, don’t get angry or threaten lawsuits right away. Politely inform them you’ll need to report your experience on consumer websites to warn others of issues. Then follow through.
The reality is Ackermans provides a decent affordable shopping experience when everything runs smoothly. But once issues emerge, customers seem to face terrible opposition attempting to get resolution.
While not a scam per se, it’s still concerning behavior that new shoppers should approach cautiously until improved.
The Bottom Line: Shop With Open Eyes
After digging into countless complaints and reviews across the web, my verdict is:
No, Ackermans does not appear to be a scam company. They are a legitimate retail fashion brand that’s been operating brick-and-mortar stores across southern Africa for over 100 years.
However, they seem to provide absolutely abysmal customer service based on recurring complaints. Issues include rude staff, incompetent management, stonewalling communication, refusal to address order issues, and more.
So prospective Ackermans shoppers should enter with open eyes, aware you’re unlikely to get support should anything go wrong.
For shoppers willing to accept that risk, Ackermans provides affordable fashion at reasonable quality standards. Just pray your shopping experience goes smoothly, requiring no after-sales support.
Otherwise, you may end up another angry reviewer warning others to take their business elsewhere.
The choice is yours! Shop wisely.