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How to get a dun and bradstreet number?

how to get a Dun & Bradstreet numberHELP!! My company is developing a few apps for an upcoming product my partner is in the process of developing...we need a D&B number for placing our app on the stores...neither of us has had experience with D&B...does anyone know anything about this?? I have some specific questions after Googling it and chatting with D&B that I would love to quickly ask someone who is familiar... have you been through the process or know about it?  what are the reasons we would want to pay for the scores and ratings? validation versus a complete report versus self monitoring service?  Is the $229 worth it or are there alternatives?  Again, I have Googled and chatted briefly with a sales rep from D&B, I need an objective party's opinion/experience... or any other alternatives, suggestions...

THANKS!!!!

Answers

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

Many times. I find their services to be of the "pay us to clean up our own bad data" variety and I hate supporting that. That said, it can be a necessary evil if your company requires credit scoring for your own customers or those extending you credit. The difference between their monitoring services tends largely towards more $ meaning you can add your own credit references into your credit "record". Unless you are very big and need credit "cleanup" very quickly, I never bother with that. For my companies it has been sufficient to just get on their basic plan and start to track things. Just having their phone number and someone to help you when you see bad data is a benefit.

D&B is a virtual monopoly. When most companies have policies aroung checking supplier credit, for instance, they tend, in the U.S., to only use D&B so I've never found a way around it.

Hillari Selby
Title: Internal Recruiter
Company: Gemological Institute of America
LinkedIn Profile
(Internal Recruiter, Gemological Institute of America) |

I appreciate the feedback and thanks for the input.

Lyle Newkirk
Title: CFO
Company: Corrigo Incorporated
(CFO, Corrigo Incorporated) |

You do have to have a DUNS number to get on GSA schedules. GSA uses it as an ID.

D&B will try to up-sell you and you can always say NO.

Keep in mind that it is like your personal credit rating in that you need to monitor it. Grossly erronenous data does appear on your D&B report for your company sometimes and you may think it does not matter but it does. When you go to get financing, it can slow you down when you least need to be slowed down.

A prospective large customer may monitor your D&B to see if you are legitimate or not. You may even need to provide a DUNS number as part of an RFP process.

Also, your competitors may use the bad data on your D&B as evidence that you are on shaky financial grounds.

So, while it is a pain, you have to go along with it. Just be sure to minimize the costs or you will find yourself with a very expensive service.

Lyle

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

For the last 30 years I've either a) given them faulty data which they've bought hook, line and sinker or told them to go away.

No one really uses them any more (at least in the industries I've been associated with). The check here is in the 70's and 80's everyone asked for your DUNS number, today no one knows what a DUNS number is, and rightfully so.

D & B uses the old "bait and switch" tactic to make money these days, They contact you and tell you someones been reviewing your credit history. And then tell you for "Free" you can do X. But X is worthless, so for $$ you can do Y, which will tell you certain information that at prima facia is valid.

Problem is, the last few times they called the client I had, we weren't looking for credit and really couldn't care less who was looking at D&B, and it was a total scam.

Bottom line, ignore D&B because they really are unimportant.

Topic Expert
Simon Westbrook
Title: CFO
Company: Aargo Inc.
( CFO, Aargo Inc.) |

I agree that D&B reports on an early stage company don't offer much! If your credit is bad, their report doesn't change that fact. If they don't have any "Good" info on you, their empty report doesn't help (except that it isn't actually negative), and if your credit report is good you don't need them. However, there are times when you may need a DUNS number as a qualifying requirement to do business, for example in becoming a contract service provider for major carriers they have a check box on their vendor application form for this data and you have to enter a number, even though they understand that there may be no real credit info on file. Because "you" ask D&B for a number, they have to open a file on your company, and because they need a report, they have to create one, and for the privilege they charge you a fee (mine was $229!)

If you need a DUNS number to do business and $229 is a reasonable price for doing business, give them a call and sign up, otherwise I recommend you manage your business well, pay your bills and file your taxes and other returns on time, keep in regular contact with your suppliers and business partners, and don't worry about D&B!

Hillari Selby
Title: Internal Recruiter
Company: Gemological Institute of America
LinkedIn Profile
(Internal Recruiter, Gemological Institute of America) |

I appreciate the feedback. While I pretty much agree with the scam part, unfortunately, I think we need one to do business with a certain company, so there is no way around it. Thanks for the input.

Kurt Kipfer
Title: CFO Emeritus
Company: International Medical Group, Inc.
(CFO Emeritus, International Medical Group, Inc.) |

I couldn't agree more. D&B is everything that Wayne has said. It's usefulness is really nominal.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Consulting CFO and Business Operations A..
Company: Growth Accelerator
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor, Growth Accelerator) |

Hillari,

The Feds require on frequent occasion for companies to provide them with a DUNS number. Certain departments use this in a manner similar to a TIN or an EIN.

Because it can be a requirement, my understanding is the deal D&B did with the Feds is that the number has to be assigned to you at no cost. Simply tell them "I'm required to get this number to sell to the government; please give it to me now". Note I'm not asserting here that you are or are not selling to the government; if you were considering at some point selling to the government, this would be an appropriate step.

Note: if you don't pay, then your data doesn't get scrubbed, but actual scrubbing may cost you more than $229, so be cautious.

KP

Sharon Orlowski
Title: Relationship Manager
Company: Dun & Bradstreet
(Relationship Manager, Dun & Bradstreet) |

Hello –

My name is Sharon and, as a Customer Care Consultant for D&B, I would be more than happy to speak with you regarding your current business situation and recommend what steps you should take to get a DUNS number set up for your organization.

First, let me congratulate you on the growth of your firm. I am sure you have a lot of questions and the need for unbiased factual information.

I understand that you have some questions regarding getting set up with a DUNS Number. It appears, from many of the postings, there is a lot of information out there regarding the process. The most important piece of information you need to know is there is NO charge to acquire a DUNS number. Acquiring a Duns Number is an important part of establishing your firm and is used as a business identification number. It is used internationally and is so recognized that you cannot do business with the US government without one.

My role, as a Customer Care Consultant, is to simply explain the process to you and provide you with resources that would be valuable to your firm. Please feel free to email me your contact information at orlowskisatdnb [dot] com or call me at 610-882-7504.

Thank you.

Sharon

Hillari Selby
Title: Internal Recruiter
Company: Gemological Institute of America
LinkedIn Profile
(Internal Recruiter, Gemological Institute of America) |

Sharon,

I would REALLY like to hear you address all these negative experiences here in this forum. How are ALL these people having such a bad experience?

Hillari

Topic Expert
Simon Westbrook
Title: CFO
Company: Aargo Inc.
( CFO, Aargo Inc.) |

Sharon,
I am surprised to see you say that there is no charge for a DUNS number. On two occasions for two separate companies I have applied to D&B for a DUNS number because a prospective vendor required this number to do business. On both occasions I was forced to pay a subscription in order to have D&B open a report on our Company supposedly as a pre requisite of getting a DUNS number. Are your customer service people paid on commission for subscriptions sold?

Hillari Selby
Title: Internal Recruiter
Company: Gemological Institute of America
LinkedIn Profile
(Internal Recruiter, Gemological Institute of America) |

....guess that says something.... too bad.

Topic Expert
Simon Westbrook
Title: CFO
Company: Aargo Inc.
( CFO, Aargo Inc.) |

Yes....... but the odds of making any headway among this group looked pretty daunting!

Kurt Kendis
Title: Managing Director
Company: Kimberton International Associates
(Managing Director, Kimberton International Associates) |

A DUNS number is utilitarian -- you dont need to pay fees to monitor it, but if you are doing business overseas or with international agencies or multinational funding sources it is de facto a requirement (example: World Bank) that establishes the difference between 'an individual' and 'a firm'. This includes subcontractors. But it is no more than that.

Laura Colony
Title: Controller/HR Director
Company: BioTech Company
(Controller/HR Director, BioTech Company) |

Jeff--I have also had the same experience with D&B and find their data inaccurate. I have had experience on both sides. They bully you. Will NOT change your data unless you pay them funds. I am surprised more finance professionals are not up in arms over this fiasco. I try to avoid as much as I can. Sometimes, it's hard to but as more financial professionals I'm talking with in re: to credit issues, the more I am hearing that they will not use them. I walked into one company where they had sold a $20k package and all the company had need of was about 140 new credit app reviews a year. Ridiculous.

DANIEL POIRIER
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Pro Tech International
(Chief Financial Officer, Pro Tech International) |

I wouldn't pay them anything. They extracted money out of me about 8 years ago, which didn't do anything for my company. As has been stated above, they call with statements indicating people are reviewing your report and the implication that you have problems. Then, when you attempt to fix the problems, they want money. These guys ought to be regulated like the individual credit reporting agencies, but aren't. Don't trust their sales people.

Robert S. Hatfield Jr
Title: Owner/Member
Company: LightPoint Colocation & Hosting, LLC
(Owner/Member, LightPoint Colocation & Hosting, LLC) |

My experience with D&B lead me to write my congressional delegation to ask that they be investigated.

Basically, they tried to "shake me down". I received a call from one of their telemarketers to buy add on features from D&B. I refused, and less than a week later they dropped our credit rating severely, even though we have a perfect credit history with all of our vendors.

I called our liaison at D&B and, after she looked into it, our credit was restored after she mumbled something about mistakenly using "old data".

Unfortunately, based on my experience I have to agree that D&B is a scam and really is no longer relevant. We have been in business for eight years and have built a strong entity with a stellar credit history without EVER having been asked for a D&B number. Their aggressive tactics lead me to conclude that they are desperate.

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