Letter to the editor
by Steven Pollack 2/22/97
(printed in the April 97 issue of JCK) Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
vs. Jewelers Board of Trade
Imagine a consumer credit reporting agency such as TRW allowing businesses
to report on your personal payment history but not allowing you to review
your credit file for possible inaccuracies. You would be enraged. Lets
say they finally gave you a copy of your report but with the names of the
companies reporting on you removed. You see possible errors but TRW has
no procedure to allow you to dispute any in order to "protect"
the reporting companies privacy. Other companies are making decisions
about your credit worthiness based on this and you have no
rights to make sure it is accurate.
If this sounds horrible you are right. If this sounds like it could not
happen you are wrong. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FFCRA)
protects our personal credit files from this sort of strong arm tactic but
does not apply to business credit bureaus. In the absence of these rules,
JBT has decided to adopt procedures similar to those in the above
hypothetical situation. They could voluntarily comply with this fair and
sensible act but they do not.
This becomes a problem it seems when wholesalers gripe that many retailers
choose not to give JBT their financial statements and thus are non-rated
entries in the red book. This is the decision I have made also. Being
unrated has not hindered my ability to get memo credit from the many
wholesalers, manufacturers, and dealers who enter my premises on a weekly
basis. There is a mountain of jewelry and gemstones in the market all
competing for retail shelf space.
Before you go thinking this is being written as sour grapes by a store
with poor credit, think again. I would easily qualify for a 52 rating and
more likely a 51. By sticking my head up on this issue I can imagine that
many JBT members will pull my report out of curiosity and that brings me
to my final reason why I will never give my financial statements to JBT
until they adopt the FFCRA standards. It would be illegal for you to pull
my TRW report without my consent but JBT will allow any member regardless
of potential business dealings to know all matters of my business and
personal file including my home address and value. Again, contrary to the
FFCRA, they will not show who has pulled my report.
As members of JBT paying $750 per year or more, you ought to be outraged
at their conduct which ultimately hurts your business as you must make
credit decisions based on less than perfect I for one would
submit my financial statements and become rated if I was guaranteed the
same credit rights from JBT as I have as a consumer. As a small
operation, my business credit is the same as my personal and
should be treated with equal respect.
Steven B. Pollack
The Missing Link Jewelers inc.
Glencoe, IL. 60022