Loan App Harassment and Defamation Persists Despite Regulatory Measures

The harassment and defamation of borrowers by digital lending companies, commonly known as loan apps, continue unabated despite recent regulatory actions taken by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

According to reports, certain loan apps that are registered with the FCCPC are still engaging in defamatory practices by sending messages to contacts of their debtors.

Although Google is collaborating with the FCCPC to ensure ethical standards among loan apps in Nigeria, our investigation reveals that apps currently listed on the Google Play Store are among the culprits.

A customer, who expressed concerns about potential defamation, shared his experience with one of the loan app providers listed on the Play Store. He provided evidence of messages received from 9jcash stating, “You will regret collecting this loan now.”

Another registered loan app provider, NowNowmoney, recently sent the following message to one of its customers:

“Our agents have been calling and yet payment has not been made. Make a transfer now to the Wema Bank account provided and save your reputation. Failure to make payment now might ruin your reputation and respect. Do the right thing now and clear your debt.”

Steady Cash another provider, which is also on the Google Play Store and registered by the FCCPC, sent this to one of its customers:

“It is either you make your payment now or face the consequences because we are sick and tired of your lies, your BVN will be exposed, and your account placed on auto debit. Your contacts will be informed of your shameful exhibition…Please be warned.”

In another more disturbing development, a customer of Mint Credit lamented how his entire family is currently being defamed by the loan app provider for a loan he took by sending messages to all his contacts, sighted by Nairametrics, which read;

“Beware of the family of…. (The debtor’s family name is mentioned), mother, father, and sister are chronic criminals and fraudsters. They dupe a company with some money, and they are refusing to pay. He has been declared wanted. If you know him, tell him to pay his debt.”

The activities of the loan app providers have been found to constitute a breach of the country’s data protection law.

According to the National Commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, many digital lenders in the country have been reported for breaches and are currently under investigation.

Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, the continuous violation of people’s privacy and unethical recovery practices led to the introduction of an interim registration framework for digital lenders in partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

In June, the Commission announced its intention to reopen the registration to allow new digital lenders that just came up to be registered. And as of June 26, the total number of registered digital lenders in the country had increased to 180.

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