Many creditors and businesses consider it standard practice to check on a firm’s credit worthiness when doing business with them. But take it from Steve Karolewski, you might want to regularly check what’s on your credit rating record.
Karolewski, executive vice president and business development director at MB25 Media Solutions in Golden Valley, shared a recent experience when purchasing a new piece of computer hardware. A leasing company that he applied to said it could not work with him because they ran a D & B credit report and it came back showing a poor rating. Karolewski was shocked because he had been in business for over 25 years and never had an issue like this before and did not have any creditors past due. “In my industry MB25 Media, has a reputation for paying our bills on time. We have to, it’s not just our credit that is at stake it’s our clients” Karolewski said. So he called D & B and was told his D & B file was not up to date and for a fee they would fix it. That’s when he learned that if you don’t pay D & B to keep your file up to date by telling them every one of your suppliers and creditors, they will send out whatever information they have in your file to anyone who subscribes to their service no matter what it says. And you won’t even know that it was sent.
Since learning what D & B is doing to his small business, Karolewski has been contacting anyone who would listen to get the word out. Many small business owners may be losing clients and prospects or receiving higher costs on inventory items because their D & B file is being sent out to their vendors with inaccurate information. In addition, D & B won’t tell you who checked on you and what they were told.
Karolewski started researching to see if other firms had experienced the same issues and he was amazed at what he found. Turns out that D & B a 100 year old company is different from D & B Credibility Corp. “Just Google D & B credibility lawsuits,” Karolewski said. For example, I found one in Washington State where a small business owner filed a suit against D & B and the judge thought it had significant merit. The lawsuit accused Dun & Bradstreet Credibility corp., of orchestrating a scheme to falsify credit reports in order to defame and cause significant harm to small businesses. The suit also alleged that after erroneous information is placed on a company’s credit report, telemarketers call and pressure small business owners to pay to remedy the impact of the falsified reports.
The case is currently the subject of a class-action lawsuit.
“Bottom line, I strongly suggest business owners check the D&B website, look up your company name, and see what these folks have in your file.” Karowleski says. “You might be as surprised and amused as I am.”