How to Lodge a Complaint Against A Moneylender
August 24, 2022
If you have gotten a loan before, you might know how risky an enterprise it can be if you choose the wrong money lender.
These days, even with elaborate justice systems in place, it’s often not easy for many people to make a complaint about a money lender, especially when they seem to disappear without a trace.
Before we talk about the various steps to make a complaint about your money lender, there are important things you need to be aware of.
They have to do with what the laws in Singapore permit you to lodge a complaint against, what the term “unlicensed moneylending” means, and of course, how to lodge a complaint.
What Is Unlicensed Moneylending?
The term is used to refer to illegal moneylending activities carried out by licensed or unlicensed persons or firms.
These activities could include, but are not limited to, offering cash loans to individuals, groups of people or businesses without a proper operational license or following laid-down regulations.
Illegal lenders, or loan sharks, as some are actually referred to in Singapore, may go ahead to canvas off trade or business premises with the aim of issuing loans.
Oftentimes, these rouge individuals or establishments charge their clients higher interest than what the government allows.
In short, an illegal money lender – be it an individual or company – operates unlawfully, and thus needs to be reported.
Unfair Practices Of Money Lenders
Moneylending in Singapore is a lucrative business.
While a majority of licensed money lenders are legitimate and run their business professionally, a few money lenders turn out to be rogue.
That’s why, you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are dozens or even hundreds of unlicensed money lenders in Singapore.
With a mix of professionals and non-professionals in the money lending fraternity, you can expect unfair practices to crop up.
Here are some of the unfair practices you can anticipate if you are dealing with rogue money lenders in Singapore:
- Forbearance and other communication issues
- Short-term repayment options introduced at the end of the forbearance plans
- Account over-collecting, something that is designed for insurance and taxes
- Deliberate loan modification delays
- Including extra payments to an “unallocated funds” cup instead of applying them to where they are supposed to be – loan principal
How To Make A Complaint About A Money Lender
As usual, there are channels on how to solve loan shark problems in Singapore.
If you follow the right channel, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble.
The good thing is many people who have fallen victim to blacklisted money lenders in Singapore have been able to solve their various complaints amicably by following these steps:
1. Talk To Your Money Lender
Before you make a complaint about your money lender, the first prudent move would be to talk to the lender.
Does the lender have an office, which is within your reach? Visit the lender’s office and try to iron out the issue.
Other people have found out that their issues were solved by reading a blog or a topic from the “Help” section of the lender’s website.
Talking to one of the loan officers via a “Chat tab” on the lender’s website may help in resolving the issue.
2. Make Sure the Lender Is Licensed
In the event the problem at hand is knotty, you can do your background check to ensure the business has a moneylending license in Singapore.
You should have done this check even before you chose to work with this lender.
The Registry of Moneylenders regulates the moneylending business in Singapore; thus, every approved moneylending startup must be in its database.
If the money lender is registered, the Registry of Moneylenders will advise on whether the complaint falls under its jurisdiction.
Even if the money lender is running illegal moneylending in Singapore, the Registry of Moneylenders will offer substantive input.
3. Gather All the Information You’ll Need For the Complaint
The third step on how to make a complaint about a money lender is gathering all the information regarding the complaint.
Having the right information at your fingertips will save you a lot of agony.
Whether you are going to settle the matter with the money lender or filing the case with the Registry of Moneylenders, you still should collect as much necessary information as possible.
Equip yourself with information such as your full name as used in the transaction, the email address used, the name of the bank and account number if any, and other necessary information.
The amount borrowed, the tax and interest agreed on paper are also important pieces of information to provide during the time you are lodging a complaint.
You will also need details about the money lender, such as its license details, contact information, and business name to help facilitate a comprehensive investigation.
You may need to attend an interview at the Registry of Moneylenders to provide additional information for the investigation.
4. File Your Complaint
With all the information at hand, you are now you are ready to file a complaint. State all the facts that you know and present the evidence you have.
Document a clear complaint as if you were talking to the official from the Registry of Moneylenders face to face.
The Registry of Moneylenders has also provided two ways anyone with a complaint can use to reach them.
The first way is to call the Registry using 1800-2255-529. The second way is to drop them an email via OneMinLaw@mlaw.gov.sg.
Alternatively, you can follow up the matter through the court. The case will be handled under the Consumer Protection Act (Fair Trading) or via the Small Claims Tribunal.
If it is a face-to-face process, make sure you state what the details of the transaction were and any other things that you feel your money lender is going against.
In the event you are told to wait as investigation is being done, please do so to allow the officers from the Registry of Moneylenders to conduct their due investigation.
Note: In some instances, you may be required to attend some sessions with your money lender to clear things up, while on other rare occasions, the Registry of Moneylenders will handle the matter on its own.
Whichever way things will go, a dispute with a legal money lender that flouted the rules or a loan shark is not a matter to be taken lightly.
So do allow enough time for the matter to be resolved by the relevant authorities in Singapore.
When to Lodge a Complaint Against A Licensed Money Lender
There is no specific time to make a complaint about a money lender.
However, it’d be prudent to ascertain whether indeed fraud has been done to you. You should try to resolve whatever issue there is with your lender before filing a complaint.
But if you are sure you are dealing with loan shark or unlicensed money lender, there is no time to waste.
Report the individual or firm immediately.
What To Know About Licensed Money Lenders In Singapore
Money lenders play a central role in the running of the country’s economy.
Like any other legal business, licensed money lenders in Singapore operate within the law. However, legit as they may be, there are still many things that you may not know, such as:
- They are regulated by the Ministry of Law and the Registry of Moneylenders
- Licensed money lenders can sue you if you fail to repay your loan
- They cannot charge you more than 4% interest per month
- If money lenders harass you in one way or another, you can file a complaint using available channels (we’ve discussed some of those channels in this post)
- Even if you are a foreigner, you can still borrow money from a licensed money lender as long as you can prove that you are in the country legally
- If you earn at least $20,000 per year, you are allowed to borrow up to six times the amount you earn per month
- The total charges to be imposed on any loan cannot and shall not exceed what the law stipulates as the loan’s principal amount
How Not To Fall For Loan Scams
Loan scams are everywhere these days.
According to Kiah Treece, a well-known Forbes Advisor contributor, loan scams refer to loan offers, often fraudulent, that are aimed at collecting sensitive information about a person’s financial status and fees with no intent of offering the loan.
Thankfully, you don’t need to fall victim to these fraudsters. In fact, there are a few red flags you should beware of.
Often, a loan scam will be lucrative – giving you what no one could give you otherwise.
The first red flag is the lender contacting you directly – often, these fake lenders give you a call explaining that you either inquired about their lending services or something of the sort. If you realise you didn’t, they will tell you that you are eligible for a loan anyway.
Secondly, they pressure you to take the loan – yes, once they have your attention, they try as hard as they can to make sure you take the loan. Whether they are going to effect it or not, they will ensure you give in to their pressure.
Ask yourself, ‘Why would someone be interested in giving me money that I am going to repay anyway?’
Thirdly, the lender promises, or even guarantees, fast loan approval – you can expect a loan scam to expedite your loan, maybe even during a five-minute call.
Sad to say, many people have fallen victim to this, especially those who find it hard, or even impossible, to get loans.
However, be careful. If a lender, unknown to you, makes a ‘blanket’ promise that they are going to effect the loan within a short time, open a third eye.
Fourthly, there’s no need for a credit check – for your information, legal money lenders are extremely strict. Before they give you any loan, they have to carry out background checks to see if your credit score is healthy.
Blacklisted money lenders in Singapore on the other hand don’t care about the status of your credit card. After all, what they need is your personal information or the money. That’s it.
Fifthly, you are required to make a ‘small’ fee upfront – if you are asked to make a ‘small’ payment upfront, run. In any case, are you not looking for money? Why should you pay money to get money?
For licensed money lenders, a fee, (if needed), is deducted from the loan.
Sixthly, the lender does not disclose whether there is a fee or not – in some strange scenarios, loan scams do not disclose whether there is a fee requirement. In other words, they want to show you that everything is smooth and easy.
In a legitimate money lending business, you are told from the get go whether there is any fee involved and if it has to be deducted from the loan you are applying for.
Seventhly, they do not have or give their physical address – yes, blacklisted money lenders in Singapore do not have legal physical addresses. Even if they do, they will not disclose it to you for fear of being busted by the authorities.
Eighthly, they do not have a website – you do not expect loan scammers to disclose their website when they are tempting you to take their loan.
They know that if they give you the link to their website (if they have any), you are going to disclose their misdeeds to other readers.
Even if you are currently dealing with a licensed money lender in Singapore, if you know how to make a complaint about a money lender, you know what to do if and when you feel that you are being harassed.
When lodging the complaint, it’d be prudent to have all the necessary information at your fingertips.
Even so, you may need to first contact the money lender to try to solve the problem. If the lender has a website, visit it. You may find out that they have addressed the problem on one of the blogs.
Alternatively, you can give them a call, initiate a chat, open a ticket or even drop them an email.
If none of these channels work, then call the Registry of Moneylenders at 1800-2255-529 or send them an email via OneMinLaw@mlaw.gov.sg.
For a trusted licensed money lender, check out what Credit Thirty3 has to offer, or speak to one of our loan advisors today.