How Zash Loans harasses borrowers with insults and intimidation on their platform –

While digital loan apps conveniently offer quick loans within minutes, the harassment and bullying that ensues has become a common problem for many Kenyans who borrow apps in an emergency.

A Twitter user using the handle @BigsmallKe recently shared his ordeal at the hands of a popular loan app, Zash Loans, which is owned by the larger KopaKash corporation.

The tweep goes that he just landed a new job and needed to move immediately. He lacked 5,000 Sh to facilitate his move, and the Zash loan proved to be useful, giving him 3,500 Sh to repay in seven days.

Read: 337 digital mobile lenders banned from registering borrowers with CRB

As is the norm with apps which are also known to charge exorbitant fees, Sh750 was deducted from the final amount the borrower received, leaving them with Sh2,750.

About three days before the due date, @BigSmallKe says he started receiving about five phone calls every 30 minutes reminding him to write off the loan.

The collection lady he spoke to began threatening him, saying she would call all of his contacts in his phone book, including his boss and stepmother if he didn’t grant the loan.

“She further threatened to send messages to all of my family and friends in my directory.” The tweep says in its thread.

Read: Unpaid mobile loans hurt Kazi Mtaani beneficiaries

The next day, two days before the due date, @BigSmallKe woke up to seven different WhatsApp messages from different numbers. This time he was given a one hour ultimatum to clear the loan otherwise they would photoshop him on a wheelchair, create a WhatsApp group, and add all of his contacts to help him fundraise for the 3 loan. 500 shillings.

A day before the due date, the debt collectors followed through on their threats and sent a message to his contacts saying:

‘Jambo ambia (name withheld) alipe loan yake ya ZASH LOAN la sivyo tutamchukulia atua za kisheria’

(Hello, tell (name withheld) to write off his loan with the Zash loan, or we’ll take legal action against him.)

“This text caused a lot of panic in my parents,” says @BigSmallKe.

They also sent one to his girlfriend saying:

“Ambia huyo buddy wakô maskini alipe ready to tumtumie police mshikwe”

(Tell your poor boyfriend to pay his loan or we send him the police)

Read: Why mobile loan apps no longer lend to some customers

@BigSmallKe’s stressful ordeal finally came to an end after his friend contacted him and helped him clear the loan.

He now calls on the Central Bank and data protection regulators to crack their whips against these greedy, unregulated digital lenders.

The borrower describes his experience as “difficult and embarrassing”, claiming that many Kenyans are going through depression because of these cruel lenders.

Last week, officers of the Data Commissioner, responsible for protecting and regulating data for Kenyans, said they were investigating 67 loan applications reported to have allegedly breached user data.

Data protection law prohibits the sharing of confidential information without consent. Individuals also have the right to know when and why their data is being shared.

Violation of the terms of the data protection law is punishable by a fine of 5 million shillings or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or both.

Below is the full thread:

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