I just got a call from someone representing Dunn and Bradstreet, regarding my small business. She told me I really needed to update the information on my company-- that I hadn't done it since 1991. She told me that the out of date information could be hurting my ability to maintain credit with suppliers and I assume that would also apply to lenders-- credit line holders, credit card companies, etc.
I assured her that I'd provided information about the company more recently than 18 years ago. She started lecturing me on the power of a DUNS report. Having a small, privately held business, I like the small amount of privacy I have. I don't feel the need to give D&B more free info they could use to make money off of. But I asked her what info she was looking for. Maybe there was some I'd be willing to disclose.
Then she admitted it. There's a $449 charge for me to update my info. That's when I sort of lost it. She'd suggested that in these times, companies are tightening their credit, using D&B info to make decisions. I've never before been asked to pay to update my info. And if other companies are using the D&B info to determine whether or not they'll do business with my company, in these hard times, there's something wrong with this.
She told me they had old or inaccurate information about my company that they were supplying to other companies. I wonder if they tell them the info is 18 years old.
Credit reporting companies can ruin people and they can ruin companies. That's why congress introduced legislation requiring that people be allowed to see free copies of credit reports on their selves.
If D&B can ruin a company with old information, it should not be allowed to charge what seems to me to amount to blackmail to make the information accurate and up to date. I used to get calls from people who would ASK me for information, even cajole me to provide the info, without charging me.
In times of war, companies who make excessive profits by exploiting the war situation are called profiteers. It feels like D&B is acting like an econonomic crisis profiteer.
Congress should do something about this Senator Chris Dodd, Congressman Barney Frank, as respective heads of their congressional senate and house finance committees should look into this. Small businesses have enough challenges without D&B leaning on them in what I consider to be a despicable way.
Establishing a law that protects small businesses from this kind of predatory credit ranking should be met with bi-partisan approval.