KUALA LUMPUR – Some people not only took opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic but they behaved inhumanely in collecting bad debts.
Debt collectors perpetually harassed people haunted by bad debts and some victims wanted to commit suicide, divorce and even steal to settle their debts.
According to the President of Public Complaint Bureau, Malaysian Association for Consumers and Borrowers Solutions (4PM), Rosland Mohd. Arif, they have received hundreds of complaints on the behaviour of debt collectors since early of this year.
Bad debt buyers are believed to purchase the past-due accounts of over six years from banks at a very low price.
It is worrying as these companies hired debt collectors to help them collect debts at a higher value, despite it is illegal.
“It is even more shocking and disappointing when a third party company buys off these bad debts, they are unscrupulous and would use whatever method they could, perhaps worse than the banks and loan sharks to recover the loan.
“The use these debt collectors and threatened victims at their homes, work places and other venues.
“Not only that they threatened the borrowers to pay their old debts at a high price, they also shouted and screamed at the borrowers to shame them and force the victims to pay.
“Besides that, the collectors also disguised as lawyer, police and other government agencies without fear. They also frequently call the victims and threatened that the court would confiscate their house, vehicle and other valuables within a time frame.
“Sometimes, their RM3,000 credit card debt would become RM40,000 in less than a day. They threatened and said they are from the bank, court, police station. They made noise in front of their house.
“We at 4PM, received calls throughout Malaysia on complaints like this. We receive 40 cases a day in person. These third party companies are truly cruel and victims who could not withstand the pressure wanted to commit suicide.
“Imagine that they do not have jobs, if they could afford to pay their old debts with the banks, they would have paid. Who would scream and shout, harass people so that their neighbours and colleagues can see them?” he told MalaysiaGazette.
According to Rosland, the also received complaints that some of the debt collectors introduced the victims to loan sharks to help them pay their debts.
“The victims who could not stand the pressure and are ashamed then listened to these debt collectors and borrowed from not only one loan shark but a few of them. We have received cases of up to 25 loan sharks.
“The burdens from the banks, debt collectors and now, the loan sharks. What would happen to them after that? The MCO season and Covid-19 had also affected their rice bowls,” he added.
Rosland further revealed that the Malays are the most frequent victim to the cruelty of these third party companies, compared to the other races.
“Too many and I am sad to see that. I have tried to negotiate with these bad debt buyers. Not only that they were arrogant and refused to cooperate, on the contrary, they acted as if they were had ‘immunity’.
“It is really tough negotiating with them. They don’t care as long as they can profit in folds although you are talking about people’s lives,” he said.
Therefore, he urged the government, especially the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to look into this issue and revise the law about bad debt buyers.
“Please. It is pitiful to see the people being troubled like this. We need to overcome many other problems if this is not handled immediately.
“We also request the police to immediately investigate the disguises made by these debt collectors to threaten the victims. Those offences that utilise the names of government agencies for their personal gains. Please help us,” he said. –MalaysiaGazette