Nigerian consumer protection agency orders Google to strip leading companies of app store money

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Agency ordered the Google Play Store to remove four money-lending companies for “increasing unethical, heinous, and unscrupulously exploitative practices in the industry.”

The companies involved are Maxi Credit, ChaCha, Here4U and SoftPay, according to a statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the chief executive of the commission said.

Mr Irukera gave the order during an execution operation in the Ikeja neighborhood of Lagos on Thursday.

In March he led a similar operation to tackle the “possible violation” of consumer rights where at least seven loan companies, including Soko Loan, were raided.


The commission boss said some loan companies, including Soko Loan, that have been investigated “have devised methods to leverage technology and other financial service alternatives to circumvent orders account freezing and application suspension.

“With today’s operations, the Commission expects a significant further reduction in these unacceptable practices.”

Guidelines

“The Commission has issued new orders to Google Play Store to remove the following apps which have been found to be created and function as a circumvention of existing investigative interventions; Maxi Credit, Here4U, ChaCha and SoftPay,” the statement read.

“For applications that are not on the Play Store, the Commission continues to investigate on which platforms they are hosted in order to deactivate them; the Commission is seeking any information from the public in this respect.

The Commission also ordered all payment systems in operation, including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify, to immediately refrain from providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or asked for the committee’s approval.

“The Commission also ordered telecommunications/technology companies (including mobile network operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist from providing servers/hosting or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed lenders. or known who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operate without regulatory approval,” the statement read.

Mr Irukera said a regulatory framework to promote “fair, transparent and mutually beneficial alternative lending opportunities outside of traditional consumer lending” is now available.

“You need authorization to proceed with the digital loan; it provides a limited moratorium period for existing businesses to comply in order to continue lending online,” he explained.

“The guidelines also require different relevant ecosystem service providers (such as banks, access/download platforms or stores, technology providers and payment systems) to require regulatory approval before providing services. services.”


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