DUNS logoLet me start off this rant by saying I am being careful on how I word this post, because Dun & Bradstreet is a very respected company that has been in business since 1841. That being said, I feel as if one of their practices is a downright scam - yes, I said it, a SCAM.

D&B is probably most well known for their D-U-N-S numbers. Wikipedia has a nice explanation of the DUNS number, but basically it is a number assigned to business entities. It was introduced by D&B in 1963 to support D&B's credit reporting practice, instead of using a business's tax ID number, since some businesses file under social security numbers, i.e. sole proprietorships.

When I formed my business, I eventually registered myself with D&B and received a DUNS number. On very limited occasions, I am asked by vendors and clients for my DUNS number. It is so limited that I always have to go to the D&B web site and look it up, and I am the type of person that remembers numbers 835634465 after looking at them once.

Yesterday, I received a phone call from one of the over 5,000 or so people who work at D&B. They told me that recently two different companies asked for a credit report on my company. They asked me if I was aware. I told them, I do know two companies recently asked me to provide my DUNS number to them.

She then said, are you aware your credit rating with us [D&B] was lowered from our highest score of a 1 to a 2. I said, no, I wasn't aware of that.

The way she was talking was very 'salesly' at this point. So I stopped her and said, "what do I have to buy from you?"

She said that they offer a product named "DNBi SelfMonitor" for $449.00. If I pay that, my credit score would go back to 1.

Dun & Bradstreet Scam?

I got angry. I said, my company has never in the 10+ years in business, ever paid a bill late. She said, I am aware of that, your billing history, according to our records, is perfect. She said the reason the credit score has dropped was because we [D&B] have outdated records on your company.

I stopped her again and asked, so you want me to pay you for you to have more updated records? She said, yes. She said they spent millions of dollars trying to keep these records up to date. I said, good - because you sell those records to those looking for credit reports. But why do I have to pay you for that? It is your business to sell up-dated records to your clients.

Think about it... You are in the business of selling data, if your data is bad - then it is worth nothing. Why is it my obligation to pay you to give you data that is mine. In fact, you should pay me to get my data. You should definitely not charge me to give you my data.

She didn't agree with me. So we parted ways.

You can see, D&B charges a $180 per report, with add ons, to companies requesting them:

Dun & Bradstreet Credit Reports

Now I am in a situation where I know D&B reduced my credit score because I won't pay them $500 for me to give them my data. Does that seem scammy or am I nuts?

I am not the only one who believes this, just check ripoffreport.com, creditboards.com and scam.com.

Am I wrong?

Update: I wanted to include some comments I received on Twitter and Google Buzz, in addition to the comments below. In all honesty, I was hoping some one would say I am nuts, because I kind of want to pay for the $500 to improve my D&B rating, but so far, no luck.

@rustybrick you're not wrong. There was a time when D&B was useful. Helpful, even. Now it's only about marketing. We don't give them info.less than a minute ago via Seesmic

@rustybrick you're spot on with that, I completely agree with youless than a minute ago via Seesmic

@rustybrick That's absolutely insane! Isn't there some kind of a governmental agency you can complain to?less than a minute ago via mobile web

@rustybrick D&B totally sucks, avoid them, I don't tell them squat. My bank gives me all the credit I need, they can blow it out their assless than a minute ago via Power Twitter

Dun & Bradstreet Seems Scammy, Here Is Why http://bit.ly/ayeole BY @rustybrick / Oh, that's not good. Bad D&B, Bad!less than a minute ago via web

D&B: Extortionist tactics? Times are tough, no doubt, but this is some real BS people. #shame http://bit.ly/c7rOlN (via @rustybrick)less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

@rustybrick Wow that's not the first time I've heard this complaint - just recently from a colleague as a warning to me. Thanks for this.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Dun & Bradstreet Seems Scammy, Here Is Why http://bit.ly/cNIkhS Barry Schwartzless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Buzz Comments on D&B

Update: A very nice VP at D&B called me on June 24th, with a customer service rep. She basically explained that the sales rep who called me did not tell me everything they should have and they will educate the sales reps better in the future.

In short, you can update your information for free at eupdate or by calling them at 866-584-0283.

I am glad they called and they did admit the sales person who called me was not telling me everything I should have known.