Even though the central government has initiated a major crackdown on loan lending apps following complaints of extortion and harassment, the incidents of loan app recovery agents running amok are far from tamed. In yet another incident, a Bengaluru-based "digital storyteller" working for Microsoft, Rajat Agrawal shared his first-hand experience of being at the receiving end of numerous threats and harassment calls. The reason: Some random person who had taken out a loan had Rajat's number saved in his contact list.
In a Twitter thread, Rajat explained the nature of these calls on behalf of Navi Finance, a financial services firm backed by former co-founder of Flipkart Sachin Bansal. Navi, like many apps you may find on app stores, offers micro-financing. Rajat claims he allegedly received calls from agents of Navi Finance who have been harassing him and making threats.
"Hey Navi Finance, can you stop your agents/reps from harassing me just because someone whom you loaned money has my name and contact details stored on their phone? Are you storing their phone book and harassing everyone to recover your money?" Rajat tweeted.
Rajat also questioned Sachin Bansal the basis of accusations of fraud because someone who took a loan had my number saved on their phone. Of the many claims made by the Navi agents, one was that Rajat "verified an OTP when the loan taker had added me as a reference."
"They claimed I was committing fraud and I'm the person who took the loan because we share the same name and Rajat flashed on Truecaller (sic)," was the reasoning given by one of the unidentified Navi loan recovery agents.
"When I won't take their bullshit, a "senior" manager came on the call and asked me to "can you check your phone book, bro and see if you have the contact details" of the other Rajat they were looking for," Rajat explained.
Hey @navifinance, can you stop your agents/reps from harassing me just because someone whom you loaned money has my name and contact details stored on their phone? Are you storing their phone book and harassing everyone to recover your money? cc @FinMinIndia— Rajat Agrawal (@rajatagr) February 4, 2023
During the course of his interaction, Rajat said he was threatened to get hundreds of such calls.
Rajat sought Bengaluru City Police's help on reporting the threats. The police advised him to lodge a written complaint at a police station.
As Rajat's tweet thread was read by his followers and shared further, many echoed their concerns of similar nature.
"A friend who runs an nbfc tells me that the best nbfc is the one with the strongest wasooli arm, considering there is hardly any unfair advantage in cost of capital and pricing the risk," one user wrote.
"Seems like a leaf out of Chinese loan apps playbook! Legal recourse would be a better way to handle this situation," advised a user.
"Have heard and seen this umpteen times. Most new-age unicorn fintech companies have the same modus operandi. If you remember the loan recovery 'agents' of early years in BLR, they at least came face to face & had some structure to their madness!" said another user.
But Rajat raised two important questions to Navi Finance, which have gone unanswered as of this writing.
1. Do you store phone book contacts from people who take loans via your app?
2. Do you sell off your non-performing loans along with PII to third-parties to write them off from your balance sheet. And let them do whatever it takes to recover them?