How loan apps formed a whatsapp group to harass and demand their debt.
When borrowing from an online digital lending app to pay his sibling’s school fees and send his parents some upkeep money, Gideon did not know what will befall him if he defaulted.
He narrates how loan apps formed a whatsapp group to demand for a loan of Sh25,000 which he borrowed from Whitepath LTD.
He stated,”At first they were calling, asking when I would repay the loan. I told them I had never defaulted and I planned to pay off the loan soon, but I just needed some time. Then they texted me incessantly, saying they will start sending messages to my family and friends.”
”I received a phone call from a friend of mine asking me why I want to kill myself. I was confused, so I asked her why she was asking that. She sent me a screenshot of somebody purporting to be me saying that I wanted to kill myself if I did not receive help to offset my loan because I was a serial defaulter. They listed my full name, ID number and they attached my photographs, which they pulled from my WhatsApp profile. They then added my family members, my colleagues and I to a group and forwarded the same messages there. I pleaded with them to stop but they formed more groups,”he added.
The agents further pretended to be Gideon, called the father and told him, he wanted to take his life.
He narrated,”How do you explain to your father that you do not want to kill yourself? It broke my psyche to the extent that I could not go to work that day. Everyone looked at me differently — as a loan defaulter who was planning to kill himself. Even those to whom I tried to explain the situation did not believe me. It drove me into depression.”
They went as far as calling all his contacts claiming that they had been listed as referees.
He stated,”That wasn’t true. I had only listed two people as my referees — my friend and my sister. But when I downloaded the app, I granted permission for them to access my contacts. I believe they used that to disturb my contacts. I wrote an email to Whitepath Ltd complaining about the harassment from their employees. They said they would look into it, but on following up, they never got back to me.”
This was not the first complaint, clients who have borrowed before, are seeking to ban the app over what they termed as severe harassment and debt shaming by its employees.