The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission FCCPC have ordered Google Play Store to pull down four money lending companies.
The affected money lending firms are Maxi Credit, ChaCha, Here4U and SoftPay, a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the commission’s Chief Executive Officer started; for escalating unethical, obnoxious and unscrupulous exploitative practices in the industry.
Mr Irukera gave the order during an enforcement operation in the Ikeja area of Lagos on Thursday.
He had in March led a similar operation to tackle “possible violation” of consumer rights where at least seven loan companies including Soko Loan were raided.
FCCPC boss said that some lending companies including Soko Loan which shave been subject to the investigation have devised methods to leverage technology and other financial services alternatives to circumvent account freezing and app suspension orders.
“With the operations today, the Commission expects an appreciable additional reduction in these unacceptable practices”.
“The Commission has entered further orders to Google Play Store to draw down the following (money lending) apps which were discovered to be created and operating as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay,” the statement reads.
“For apps not on the Play Store, the Commission continues to trace what platforms they are hosted on in tossable them; the Commission invites any information from the public in this regard”.
He added that the FCCPC also ordered all operating payment systems including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and MonModify immediately desist from providing payment or transaction services to money lending firms under investigation or seeking the commission’s approvals.
“The Commission has also ordered telecommunication/ technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to cease providing server/hosting or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval”, the further statement reads.
Mr Irukera said that a regulatory framework to promote fair, “transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities apart from traditional lending to consumers” is now available.
“The Guidelines also mandate different (money lending) service providers in the relevant ecosystem (such as banks, access/download platforms or stores, technology providers and payment systems) to require regulatory approval before providing services”, he revealed.