When Akpan Douglas (fictitious name) was unable to quickly repay a N12,000 loan he borrowed from Lcredit, a quick loan company, in December 2021, the majority of contacts on his phone went received messages about the incident.
According to the 33-year-old plumber, defamatory messages sent to family members and customers by the company brought him so much shame that he was unable to leave his flat for weeks.
“The incident was so depressing that for weeks I was too ashamed to leave my house. I was always indoors and only went out at night when I knew most people wouldn’t see me,” Douglas told FIJ.
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“It became so embarrassing for me that my landlord, who was also the recipient of the message, called me to ask if he should be worried about his rent at renewal time as well.”
After the incident, the plumber decided never to repay the loan.
“After a while, I decided to come out of my shell. The deed had already been done,” he said.
“I have also decided never to repay the N12,000 plus interest. It wasn’t like they were going to tell every contact they sent these messages to that I finally paid, if and when I repay.
Since December, Douglas told FIJ he had received numerous calls from the company, advising him to make the refund.
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“I found the WhatsApp message I received from the company yesterday very laughable. They sent me several scriptures from the Quran and the Bible, advising me to make repayments as any refusal to repay my debt is considered as unscriptural.
“I see this as hypocrisy because if they are the type to practice what they preach, they would have been lenient and patient in giving me more time and not sending these messages when they had to. I questioned my existence and almost committed suicide while the matter was still very “hot.” Nobody likes to be a debtor.
On November 15, 2021, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) issued a statement announcing the start of an investigation into rights violations in the money lending industry.
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This came after the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) fined Sokoloan, another lender, for breaching the privacy of its customers’ data, an action that clearly violates Article 2.2 of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), which prohibits unlawful sharing of data with third parties. parties.
Despite fines and penalties, lending companies continued to invent new ways to harass their debtors.
FIJ made several calls to the LCredit service line, but they went unanswered. A text message sent to the company also went unanswered.