A retailer’s Jewelers Board of Trade rating can have a tremendous effect on their business. Yet, some have no idea what their current score is, or how it’s calculated. Some even call their suppliers to check up.
“Listed companies have long told us that they wish there was a way to monitor their credit and what’s going on with their rating,” says JBT president Dione Kenyon. “For a long time, we have thought that there might be a product or way we could help them.”
The group is now introducing RatingWatch, a subscription series that gives retailers monthly updates on their JBT credit reports. The cost is $199 a year, although some members of trade groups are being offered first-time discounts.
Kenyon says the program will contain an “interactive form” that lets retailers provide feedback.
“It’s establishing a formal channel of communication between JBT and retailers,” she says. ”We can not only update them, but, say, if they have a zero pay rating, they can give us additional supplier names.”
The retailers will not, however, be full-fledged JBT members, and cannot, for instance, pull reports on other companies.
Those who provide the information will still remain anonymous. In fact, some jewelers have complained that by not letting retailers know who is filing complaints against them, the group is depriving retailers of the right to face their accusers.
“I understand people want to know who is reporting on them,” Kenyon says. “Commercial credit has always received that exemption to allow the free exchange of information. The fear is that if names were disclosed, those people sharing credit information would not share it, and there would be no ratings.”
She says any retailer that has an issue with his rating or a specific report can always contact JBT.
“We will work with people,” she says. “We are here to assist people in understanding how the ratings got to be, what makes good credit. Most of the time, there is a simple answer: You need to pay bills on time. But sometimes, there can be a misunderstanding between vendors and customers on terms. That can be resolved by being in touch with us. If we are contacted by a subject who says something can’t be true and it needs to be amended, we will go and recheck that information.”
She adds: “We have some situations where the vendor will say: ‘I’m not unhappy with the customer, but they are slow. They are supposed to pay in 30 days, but they pay in 90.’ ”
She believes that there is very little impetus for a manufacturer to report false information.
“People in the trade are reluctant to do that,” she says. “It really works the other way. The supplier community wants to maintain its relationships.”