By correspondent email@example.com
Nineteen mobile phone lenders in Kenya including Tala & Branch have now joined hands to rebuke overbearing methods of debt collection used by two other industry players Okash and Opesa, tearing into the underhand tactics the two digital mobile lenders are using to compel loanees who are in default to pay.
Lately, complaints have been rife in the social media space in Kenya over methods used by Okash and Opesa agents who call up or text relatives of loanees, claiming they are listed as guarantors of loans hence will be forced to pay the loans themselves in the event loanees default.
“Not only does this behavior go against Kenyan data protection laws, but it reeks of indignity. By reaching out to a customer’s contact list, Opesa and Okash rob the individual of basic dignity and consumer rights. This can have long term effects on their psychological well-being and damage relations that may have taken years to build.”DLAK Chairman Robert Masinde.
Under the umbrella banner of Digital Lenders Association of Kenya (DLAK), the 19 lenders have expressed concern over increasing social media reports that OKash and Opesa, who are non-members of the umbrella body, are applying poor debt-shaming practices of debt collection whereby they reach out to contacts on the customer’s phone book to try and get them to pay back a loan.
“Not only does this behavior go against Kenyan data protection laws, but it reeks of indignity. By reaching out to a customer’s contact list, Opesa and Okash rob the individual of basic dignity and consumer rights. This can have long term effects on their psychological well-being and damage relations that may have taken years to build” said DLAK Chairman Robert Masinde on behalf of all members.
DLAK members include Tala, Alternative Circle, Stawika Capital, Zenka Finance, MyCredit, Okolea, LPesa, Kopacent, Four Kings Investment T/A Sotiwa, Mobile Financial Solutions (MFS), Kuwazo Capital, Finance Plan Ltd, Branch, VAELL Leasing, Roamtech solutions, Aspira, Mobfin, Fiberry and Pesa zone.
According to procedure, the union of lenders say when taking action against a consumer whose claims are in a debt collection, it must be ensured that the actions meet ethical standards and are aimed at cooperation and an amicable solution to the problem of non-repayment.
The 19 lenders say it is forbidden to undertake debt collection activities that conflict with the principles of this Code.
The digital lenders have now sworn to make every effort to ensure the code regarding the rules of conduct in relation to consumers in difficult financial situations are applied by debt collection companies who are their members.