Should potential customers have access to companies' financial data?
Debate Rounds (3)
Sporadically a debate starts about whether companies should be allowed to customize their marketing strategies and even their product based on the highly personal data about their potential customers that they nevertheless get from the customers themselves. Now, such information might be given indirectly, via social media, but it is still given to the companies who tend to make use of it, altering products and marketing ways to suit their customers.
However, it is rarely asked if the potential customers should be allowed to have access to such sensitive data about the companies in order to decide whether a particular company is stable, solvent and as a result might be trusted.
It is not difficult to obtain such information as there exist a variety of organizations and websites that provide it. Some of them might be paid and therefore restricted to the majority of users but some others such as British BizDb are free:
It means therefore that anyone might learn about the financial status of the firm they are interested in, which has become the flash point for this debate. The question remains: Should people be allowed to use such websites to obtain information about the companies they are going to be dealing with. I strongly believe so, since it is only fair to be able to check our to-be-partner company just as those companies check our private data.
I would like a constructive argument against it, should someone be interested in.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to be apart of this debate. Indeed, the use of personal data, be it by regular tax payers or multi-million dollar businesses and companies, has become a hot issue and an aim and focus of many debates, including this one ;)
To begin with, I would like to say that it is not that I fully disagree with you, especially when it comes to giving regular citizens a chance to double check the company's details before trying to do some business with them. However, I would like to point towards one thing, namely the origin of such data. You mentioned that it is only fair for us - simple bread winners to have access to very sensitive data of companies and businesses all around the world, especially since they have a similar access to our data, including but not restricting to our personal information, contact data, our photos or lists of our friends. All of such data the companies might easily get from the Internet and use it to reshape and change their products or services. However, what is important is that such information doesn't come at an exorbitant price, it is instead free and easily available through social media because we put it there ourselves for the world to see...Conversely, I would be very interested in the origin of the data we can get about companies. Is it that they gave it away and certain websites and pages collect and offer it, or has it been obtained by more clandestine means ;)
All in all, it depends on the data, but I believe that unless the data is given for the public use by the company itself it might be a crime to even look at it, don't you think?
Hello, it's nice to have an opponent ;) I didn't really think I would get someone for such a, at least in my opinion, difficult topic, but guess I stand corrected.
Anyhow, when it comes to your argument it is difficult to disagree that whether such important data should be given to the general public depends strongly on the origin of the data and whether it has been given out freely by the company/companies or whether it "leaked" or worse even - has been stolen. However, I strongly believe that a variety of websites and businesses directories obtained this data through legal channels.
Besides, think about it from the perspective of a customer - the companies don't actually get the information about us legally - they simply take what they can get from a variety of social media pages and all the Internet traces each of us is leaving while browsing - However, do they ask our permission about whether they CAN use such data? Not really....
My question remains therefore - Let's assume that the information that the financial data (or any other sensitive data) about the companies come from legal sources. Isn't it normal then that we should all be allowed to use it?
Think of all the possible problems viewing companies' financial status might bring. For example, if a company, say, producing wooden furniture, is having problems with their cash flow they would normally try to avoid showing the lack of income to the general public for fear of losing to-be-clients. The important idea here is this - not every company which is experiencing financial problems is going to bankrupt. However, even the slightest amount of information about such problems will immediately make the possible customers stay away from such a company. The reason is simple - no customer would want to order products from a firm that stands, in the customer's opinion, which does not have to be correct, on the brink of bankruptcy and may stop existing within a few days. It is understandable. That is why, should this company's financial data be revealed, such company is already doomed, as it will have no possibility to earn money it so desperately needs as it will be cut off its possible customers.
Don't you therefore think that such info is harmful to companies, even to those companies that might be having problems now, but would ultimately recover if only given a chance? A chance they will not be given, since every possible customer will be scared of their seemingly unavoidable bankruptcy and will avoid buying their products or services?
EddieEddie forfeited this round.
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