‘Threat to safety’: Lending apps’ coffin, funeral threat to debtors

June 13, 2023 - 4:54 PM
Money lending app
In this photo, a man uses a smartphone to apply for an online loan. (Flickr/Image Genie)

Filipino mobile borrowers received funeral bouquets from an unknown lending mobile app for their supposed failure to pay debts on time.

Stories and concerns of harassment and threats by online lending applications (OLA) have surfaced in Facebook groups and individual posts in the past year.

Two Pinoy debtors who fell behind their obligations reportedly received a funeral flower arrangement and even an actual coffin from lending agents.

In a GMA News report, one debtor expressed how ashamed and threatened she felt after she got a funeral flower arrangement from the online lending app she owed from.

“Talagang hindi ko na alam ang gagawin ko sobrang pinahiya ako sa amin. Hindi ko alam na ganyan ang mangyayari sa buhay ko,” she was quoted in the report as saying.

“Napahiya po talaga ako. Parang kinikilabutan hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko umiiyak na lang ako,” the Filipina borrower further stated.

The victim said her payment was delayed for only three days. She also did not receive the full loan from the lending agent.

In the interview, she shared that she took out a loan for P5,000 but only got P2,400 after several deductions.

She was also offered a one-week extension after her due date. But she had to pay up to P2,000 first.

The victim declined this offer.

Another Filipino client reportedly received an actual coffin from an online lender.

This news earned the ire of fellow Filipinos on social media.

“Reveal the lending app. Di naman sila nahihiya gawin ang ganitong bagay, I think tama lang na i-name na sila. Para maiwasan ng lahat,” a Facebook page called Service Rants and Raves said.

“This is just wrong. Bakit hindi mentioned kung anong online lending app ito? So hahayaan lang na gawin nila ito?” a market surveillance analyst named John Paul Tanyag also reacted on Twitter.  

Other social media users perceived this as a threat to the client’s safety.

“Shouldn’t there be an investigation on this and on online lending apps in general? This is clearly harassment and a grave threat to safety,” a Twitter user said.

Response of the cops

In an interview with GMA News, PLT. Michelle Sabino, the spokesperson of the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), encouraged victims to come forward with their cases to the police.

“Nagke-case build up po tayo tapos nagfa-file tayo sa court ng warrant. Kapag na-issue ni court ang warrant, gumagawa tayo ng raid,” Sabino was quoted in a report as saying.

She also emphasized that the more reports they received from victims, the stronger their case will be before the court.

Filipinos can report their cases by messaging the PNP-ACG’s social media accounts or calling its hotline numbers.

Last March, the combined personnel of the PNP-ACG and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) arrested employees of three lending platforms:

  • Loanmoto
  • Lalapeso
  • WeLoan

This arrest happened after they conducted a raid of a BPO office running these three online applications.

RELATED: ‘Maging mapanuri’: PNP’s preventive tips vs illegal lending apps amid harassment reports