In the past week I have received two calls from D&B, one on 7/24 from 800-223-5304, and one on 7/31 from 800-627-3867. In both cases, the representatives spoke with a great sense of urgency, as if my business was in deep trouble. A real emergency: they claimed my credit report had been pulled a number of times, and that the information on file was incomplete and/or incorrect - which put me at risk of being disqualified for bidding on projects and denied financing or insurance. The problem was to be solved by subscribing to one of their services, which would allow me to integrate and correct my company's information by self reporting certain data. During the first call, I firmly declined: my company functions on minimal capital, has no loans, and virtually zero debt (non zero debt being regularly paid off within a credit card grace period), our cash inflow is about four times our cash outflow on a yearly basis, and our main assets are our time and skills. I don't believe any of my Clients would need a credit report, and I have a long enough history with my vendors that they don't need one either. While I was explaining all this, the representative hung up on me. I was not worth the time.
I checked the status of the information D&B has on my company, and verified it was correct, and complete to the extent I want it to be
One week later, a new call. Much more aggressive. She was calling me because I had had six companies recently pulling my credit report, and the lack of financial information was forcing D&B to report my company as being at "moderate-to-high risk of bankruptcy in the next 12 months". When I asked why they would issue such a rating if they had no information, she said that this is what they do, and they have been in the business for 175 years. She said this rating would affect my ability to get loans (which I don't need or want), insurance (which I have, at least for now), and even future contracts, because my Clients would not want to assign projects to companies likely to go belly up in the near future. Or worse, have unreported pending lawsuits.
Before she could go into her sales pitch, I asked flat out if she was blackmailing me into getting their services to correct a situation they had created.
No, this was not blackmail, it was industry standard (as far as I am concerned, the industry standard may well be blackmail ...). "You know, your company is like an eighteen year old kid with no credit history ..." - true, but that does not mean the kid is at risk of bankruptcy within 12 months, nor that he can't get a job because of no credit information, nor that there are penal or civil proceedings against him. I was obviously being thick, "not realizing the damage this situation could bring to my company, with all these credit reports being pulled ...". When I dared mention that, should I ever find that I lost a job because of their misreporting, I would sue their pants off, she hung up on me. Standard industry procedure? She said the call was being monitored for quality purposes ... I certainly hope it was.