Privacy-related online lending complaints have drastically declined a month following recent enforcement actions by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) on dubious online lending applications.
“Instances of unauthorized use of data, similar to complaints received by the NPC about online lenders, are beginning to crop up elsewhere in the region, and other privacy authorities are keen on hearing about how what we have learned and how they may deal with similar challenges,” Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said.
Available data gathered by the NPC from January to November 2019 showed there is a downward trend in the filing of formal complaints against online lending apps beginning October. The decrease happened a month following the NPC’s issuance of an Order on the top 3 online apps that were subject to the majority of complaints.
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The number peaked in September to a high of more than 300 new cases for the month. In was in the first week of that month that the NPC issued an Order on Fynamics Lending Inc., Unipeso lending Company, and Fcash Global Lending, Inc., the top 3 most-complained companies. Fynamics has formally answered the NPC’s order. Unipeso and Fcash, meanwhile, filed motions to dismiss. All submissions are now under deliberations.
In September, the NPC also helped coordinate the creation of an industry-wide alliance Fin-Tech organizations, together with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Security and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Trade and Industry.
After the September peak, the number of fresh formal complaints regarding online lenders immediately declined in October, coinciding with the NPC order to shutdown 26 other online lending companies, in coordination with Google LLC and the National Telecommunications Commission. By November, new formal complaints dropped by 90%, down to 14 complaints, which is comparable to January complaints data.
The NPC has 23 formal complaints on record related to online lending in January 2019. The numbers steadily climbed during the first quarter. After the agency went public on the issue in May, the number rose even higher, signaling that more victims were previously unaware they can seek the NPC’s assistance.