In 2017, John Mwangi had a medical emergency, his brother had been admitted to hospital. Broke and desperate, a friend referred him to Platinum Credit, a micro-finance that offers instant loans with motor vehicles acting as security, now a simple loan of Sh 16,000 has morphed up into Sh 250,000 with unexplained interest even after completing his payment last year in June.
‘’I wonder how they do their computation on principal amount and interests. Now my motor vehicle has been auctioned that I had offered as the security. Platinum Credit motive is to offer a loan tied on hidden charges and interest and after paying the principal amount they add exorbitant interests so that they can sell off your security and make double profits,’’ Mr Mwangi says.
The story is the same for Robert Oduor, he claims that Platinum Credit forged his loan restructuring document and later showed up with crazy interests.
It took the intervention of the court to have his car released but laments that the storage charges were crazy.
‘’Platinum Credit is the worst. Some Staff forged my loan restructuring document. Then they showed up with some crazy interest. It took the court’s intervention to have my car released but the storage charges were crazy. Those are thieves,’’ he warns potential borrowers who may be considering taking a loan from Platinum Credit.
Jane Muthari’s experience with Platinum Credit through her parents is that of tears and jeers, she claims, her mother, a trained teacher and employed by the Teachers Service Commission(TSC) borrowed a loan of Sh 35,000 and ended up paying Sh 150,000 that she claims were completely fraudulent.
‘’My mother a TSC-employed teacher, took a loan of Ksh 35,000 from Platinum Credit and she ended up paying Sh 150,000,’’ she laments.
Platinum Credit falls in the same bad books as Mogo, another micro-lender that has been in the news for offering motorcycle loans only for the latter to disappear mysteriously.
Maurice Mwaniki, is a motorcycle rider in Nairobi, he claims that Mogo gave him a motorbike and after paying a downpayment of Sh 15,000 with an agreed weekly payment of Sh 2,140 weekly, the motorcycle was stolen mysteriously and the tracker was disabled. The motorcycle has never been recovered. He strongly believes it was an inside job.
‘’Mogo gave me a motorbike after paying Sh 15,000. I was paying Sh 2,140 weekly. After two months, the motorbike was stolen and twenty minutes later, the tracker was disabled by Mogo. They have never explained to me why they disabled the tracker,’’ Mr Mwaniki says with nostalgia.
His sentiments are echoed by another rider who sought anonymity, he claims that his neighbour paid a loan for a motorcycle he had taken from Mogo.
‘’Mogo are the real gangsters. My neighbour paid his motorbike loan till the last cent. The day he finished paying the money, the motorbike was stolen. Mogo decided not to support in tracking,’’ he warns of taking a loan from Mogo.
Mogo, Platinum Credit and Premier Credit have been cited by many borrowers as key microlenders whose aim is to offer you loans with hidden charges so that you can default and sell off your security.
To some extent, Mogo, Platinum Credit and Premier credit will never give you an agreement to carry home for review and to some extent, the loan repayment is in form of dollars for triple and ripple profits.