Friday, March 31, 2023
HomeEditorialNo credit card recovery agents can harass you or your distant relative

No credit card recovery agents can harass you or your distant relative

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A 43-year-old woman has lodged a case with Chitalsar Manpada police in Thane, stating that she was being harassed by loan recovery agents for the loans taken by a distant relative of her husband. The accused morphed her photograph obscenely and threatened to make it viral if her relative did not pay the money. In most cases, the person who takes the loan lodges a police complaint, but this is the first time some third party took action.

According to the police, on July 08, the victim received a message from an unknown number, mentioning the name of a person (a distant relative of the victim’s husband) and stating that he had taken an online loan and asked the victim to inform the said person to repay the loan. The victim immediately called the said relative and the latter informed her that on June 25 he had totally taken Rs 40000 loan from eight different mobile loan apps and had even repaid Rs 1 lakh including interest, but still, he was being harassed by recovery agents for more money along with the threats that if he would not pay more money, then his relatives and friends in his contact list would be harassed too.

After having known the entire episode, the victim had blocked the number from which she had received the message. Later, the victim received a similar message from another unknown number, but this time, in the message, the sender used abusive language for the victim as well. The next day, the victim received a message from one more unknown number and the said message contained her morphed obscene photograph, along with a message that if the loan would not be paid, then they would make her photograph viral on social media. The victim then informed her family about the harassment and then lodged a complaint with the police.

The police have registered an offence on charges of computer-related offences and publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form as per the sections of the Information Technology Act. Foremost, no bank harassed anyone under any circumstances. If a borrower defaults the bank has a legal right and recourse to the borrower for demanding repayment. In such cases, the lengthy judicial procedure actually gives life to the loan or credit card seeker.  Meanwhile, if creditors prove to the court his/her inability to pay the amount, they ask for a minimum amount to be paid for long years which can be hundred rupees per month.  Banks cannot afford such deals, so they outsource such jobs to recovery agencies. The survival of the agency is a percentage of the collected amount. That is the reason they built pressure tactics.

In this process, the bank will call the borrower to the bank, visit the borrower at his home or office, issue letters of demand, issue legal notice, start court procedures, publish default news in newspapers, and even take possession of security offered (movable and immovable assets) – amongst many more steps if its personal loan. In the case of a credit card, a bank can take legal action but cannot go beyond that.

But the recovery agents harass through continuous abusive phone calls, the agents also drag the debtors’ family members, friends, and even their colleagues if they have to recover the debts. They can be very ruthless while handling the debtor, as these recovery agents are paid on the incentive model, they aim at maximum debt recovery so that they could be rewarded more. To sum it up, recovery agents can go to any extent for every penny to be extracted from the debt holder, which includes continuous chasing through phone calls, and heading to your doorsteps, they make sure you realize that taking the loans was one of the worst mistakes of your life.

No Bank will ever even contact any other family member or friends. There’s a lot you can do to stop them from harassing you. Recovery agents have every right to speak to you about the repayment of debt. However, they cannot threaten you or embarrass you in front of others or play with your reputation. They also cannot call you at odd hours. They can simply ask you to repay the loan and nothing else. Unless you have a court order, they can’t remove anything from your house. If you think you are being harassed mentally by the recovery agents and they are also making threats to you, then please get in touch with a lawyer (not necessarily an expensive one) who deals with banks and financial institutions. The lawyer will send a notice to the bank, RBI and the police that you are being criminally harassed by the bank’s recovery agents. The moment the lawyer’s notice arrives at the bank’s step, you will stop receiving calls from recovery agents! You don’t even have to file a court case against them. But pay up if you have the means, otherwise, it will hurt your credit score badly.

When the State Bank of India could not recover crores of money from the education loan borrowers, they sold it to Reliance for a discount. Before that notice was sent to all the borrowers. Nobody responded. This is the first time. After three months, people started coming and complaining about their loans being sold to Reliance. The reason was Reliance, with the help of private agents, found out all the borrowers. People, who told banks they were unemployed, now began closing their loans. Reliance could find out their employment addresses and regularly track them.

Big business owners took lakhs are crores of amount from banks and left India, no bank could really nab them. Forget their attitude towards people who have borrowed. Even senior citizens who have deposits with banks, make them wait indefinitely for issuing a deposit receipt. Banks have gone most insensitive and just don’t care for the customers. Similarly, recovery agencies are unleashed to harass people in the name of recovery by all means.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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