The only person David Kiragu lied to about the texts was his mom. To those close to him, like his partner, friends, former schoolmates, and work colleagues, he explained what was going on. To more distant contacts, including annoying relatives, he said nothing.
His mother probably knew he was lying — mothers often do — but she let it slide.
“I couldn’t tell her the truth,” Kiragu said to me last December. “So I told her it was one of those prison scams and she should ignore it.”
By: Guest writer
One morning David Kiragu logged into his Face book account and saw an ad for a fintech app called Okash and Ipesa that promised to be the discreet friend who would spot him some cash and never mention it again.
Offering the ability to “process loans in seconds,” OKash is one of many fintech apps that have sprung up in Kenya since 2012. All he needed to do was download the app, enter his financial details, and let the algorithm generate a credit rating. He would get the money he needed and could pay it back once he was liquid.
He borrowed about $35, which he also repaid and he decided to took another one which was quickly granted but little did he know that failure to repay would land him into trouble and shame.
He narrated that at somepont, he forgot to repay the loan on time as he was somehow busy and the worst happened.
Kiragu started getting calls from the Okash and Ipesa which are sister companies owned by Opera news.
“Will you repay your OKash loan?” Kiragu remembers a caller asking him, before warning that if he missed a payment, the company would notify everyone on his contact list. ,Note that we are going to invade your privacy according to Terms of Service clause 8, IF NOT CLEARED BY 4PM.” The clause in question reads as follows:
“In the event we cannot get in contact with you or your emergency contact, you also expressly authorize us to contact any and all persons in your contact list.”
In the days after the deadline, debt collectors hounded Kiragu, calling three to four times every hour.
They also cast a wide net. “They texted just about everyone I know,” Kiragu says. His parents and many friends got messages. One of his colleagues even shared a screenshot of a text from OKash in an office-wide WhatsApp Group.
“Some [people] sympathized with me,” Kiragu wrote in a Facebook post about the experience. “Some were laughing at me and some were actually very annoyed that OKash is exposing and shaming me . . . Even my boss called me to ask if everything is okay.”
But his colleagues weren’t his main concern. What worried him more was what his parents would think. After an estranged aunt shared the message within his village, Kiragu’s father accused him of bringing shame on the family.
According to google review the app is poorly rated with all the negative comments and horrible experience that some went through.
Here are some of the reviews that we have sampled.