Do you know what’s on your corporate bureau and corporate registry? Have you checked it since you set it up? It’s worth your time, and here’s why.
In recent months, a surprising number of the business owners we’ve talked with discovered items on their corporate bureau or corporate registry that didn’t belong. I (Brenda Goettler, President of Lease 1 Financial) am one of them!
True Stories of Credit Report Issues
With the increase in fraud over the past year, I checked my corporate credit report and was surprised by what was on it. My company has excellent credit, yet there were two items that surprised me.
One was a legitimate item secured by one of our vendors, but I was unaware of its existence. The other item was not legitimate. It was an incorrectly filed legal matter that should have been removed by the other party. It was not exactly a boost to our credit rating! So, I had to get it corrected myself.
In addition to my own experience, we’ve had a few clients who were unaware of incorrectly filed information on their corporate registrations and credit reports. Another client discovered a person had been added as a shareholder to their company without their knowledge.
Check Your Corporate Registration & Credit Reports Regularly
We recently published a post about How to Protect Your Business From Fraud. One of our highest recommendations is to check your corporate registration, PPSA report, and credit report annually. After my experience, this has become a part of my “working on my business” routine.
Finding the information you need to contact the right bureaus’ departments and get errors corrected can be time-consuming, especially if you haven’t done it before. To save you as much time as possible, here’s all the information I gathered throughout the process of checking my corporate credit reports and correcting the issues.
Step 1: Ask for your company’s PPSA Registration report
Go to a registry office and ask for the PPSA registration report for your company.
“The Personal Property Security Act (‘PPSA’) is the name given to each of the statutes passed by all common law provinces, as well as the territories of Canada. They regulate the creation and registration of security interests in all personal property within their respective jurisdictions.” (Source)
You may be surprised, as were some of our clients, to find that somebody has registered a General Security Agreement (GSA) or other security interest against your company or assets.
If you have an active equipment lease, the funder or underwriter will have registered against the equipment. Or if you have a line of credit with your bank, the bank may have registered. Some suppliers register against your company to secure your payment for inventory.
If you don’t understand your PPSA registration report, ask at the registry office or feel free to reach out to us.
Step 2: Ask for your Corporate Registration
While you’re at the registry office, get a copy of your Corporate Registration.
Check that the shareholders and interested parties are listed correctly.
Fraud is everywhere, and it’s on the rise. It’s quite shocking to see the creativity of fraudsters these days. As mentioned above, we’ve seen a case where a person was added as a shareholder without the owner’s knowledge.
Step 3: Get a copy of your Corporate Credit Report
Get a copy of your Corporate Credit Report from both of Canada’s main credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion.
There can be legal actions filed against your company without your knowledge. This can affect your access to credit with suppliers and other creditors. If you don’t check your credit report regularly, you might not understand why you’re having challenges with this.
How to Get your Corporate Credit Report from Equifax
- Go to Equifax.ca.
- Click on the Business tab at the top.
- Scroll down to the 4 shaded circles. One of those will be “Buy a single Equifax Business Credit report now”. At the time of writing, it will cost you $99 + tax, or for faster service, you can call and they will charge $109 + tax.
- Print off the report right away! If you miss the opportunity, they will charge you to access it again.
How to Get Your Corporate Credit Report from TransUnion
- Go to Dun & Bradstreet’s website. Search for your company in the search bar at the top.
- If you find that your business is not registered with Dun & Bradstreet, consider getting registered because some companies look for a D-U-N-S number to extend credit.
- If you decide to register your company with Dun & Bradstreet, click on the D-U-N-S dropdown tab. Then click “Get a D-U-N-S number”. We highly recommend getting this, even if there isn’t an issue with your company credit. It will save you time if there ever is an issue.
- When you have your D-U-N-S number, call them at 1-800-463-6362 in Canada. They will email you a copy of your corporate credit report right away.
Step 4: Correct issues with your Corporate Credit Report
If you discover an issue with your Corporate Credit Report, you must get it corrected.
If there is a wrongly listed legal action on your report, collect any pertinent information and back-up documentation (i.e. a release letter). Then contact both credit bureaus to correct the issue.
Correct credit report issues with Equifax
For Equifax Canada, call their Commercial Disclosure Department at 1-800-567-2370. Press the option for their Commercial Investigation department (option 2 at time of writing).
They will ask you for information and you may need to send them your back-up documentation.
I found them to be very helpful.
Correct credit report issues with Dun & Bradstreet
For Dun & Bradstreet, call 1-800-463-6362 in Canada. Let them know you have a dispute about your Corporate Credit Report.
The process may take 7-14 days, but again, they seem very helpful.
Keep Up With Your Corporate Credit Reports
I literally spent hours sorting through all the websites and working through this entire process. I hope the information we’ve provided in this post will save you a lot of time and energy and simplify the process for you.
I also hope this information will encourage you to make the time to keep up with your Corporate Credit Reports. It’s a crucial part of protecting your company from fraud.
If you have any questions about this, please contact us. We’re happy to help in whatever way we can.