Credit reports on big demand

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Nov 09, 2000
By Kairi Kurm

A business can identify its clients and check the online credit information site http://www.tasuja.ee before starting any cooperation with a new partner.

The site, which offers credit reports on thousands of debtors, has become very popular since it was launched October 30.

Tasuja.ee maintains information on bad debtors from the Estonian Tax Board and the registered visitors of the page.

The database of Tasuja.ee contains 30,000 claims on more than 12,000 debtors. The total sum of claims involved on its page is about 1 billion kroons ($ 56 million). “This is a huge amount of money compared to the 2.5 billion kroon Tallinn city budget,” said Koit Luus, spokesman for the tax board, who was invited to the press conference to talk about the importance of the new site.

Tasuja.ee receives information on about 11,000 debtors from the Estonian Tax Board, which gives it to Krediidiinfo and Tasuja.ee free of charge at the end of each month.

Krediidiinfo charges 25 kroons for the same kind of information and 90 kroons for the full report. The prices do not include value added tax. Krediidiinfo receives information on the previous month by the 14th of each month.

Many customers of the new Tasuja.ee site are annoyed at the accuracy of the information, which covers the debts of the previous months.

The tax board’s home page contains information on debtors who owe more than 1 million kroons to the board but gives information to Krediidiinfo and Tasuja.ee on companies who owe more than 10,000 kroons. The list of debtors on the board’s home page contains 471 names.

“Tax liabilities is public information and the state is not trading with it,” said Luus. “It is important for us to get that money back. Providing that information through the media or the Internet is one of the many ways through which we try to retrieve the money. The other ways include sending notes and closing bank accounts.”

According to Kersti Uuemaa, manager of Baltic Credibility Facts, which owns the Web site, employees of the company always control the information entered by the visitors of the page.

Uuemaa said that the company employs only two full-time people at present and by the end of the year the number of employees might increase to six. “We are outsourcing most of the services,” said Uuemaa.

The company is planning to spend 1 million kroons to develop the site and is eventually planning to charge for specific services in the future when the database is bigger.

The company is also getting revenue through advertisements.

Uuemaa said that they did not expect the page to become so popular so fast.

“The number of visitors was 10 times as much as we predicted on the first day,” she said, adding that the capacity of the server had to be increased after it failed to work as 35,000 clients tried to visit the site during its first eight hours of existence.

By Nov. 2 the number of visitors had reached 140,000 and 1,700 people had registered as new users, according to the company.

Meanwhile, the tax board’s site has received only 35,000 visitors since it was launched.

A journalist from the business daily Aripaev complained that Tasuja.ee was asking too much personal information on the registration contract and did not publish the same data about itself in return.

Uuemaa said her company had to take its phone number off the page on the same day it started because their phones were being swamped.

“We are not taking a negotiator’s role. Too many people were trying to solve their problems with the tax board through our company. We gave our e-mail address on the page and we have promised to respond to the e-mails,” said Uuemaa.

Tasuja.ee as well as the Internet page of the tax board (www.ma.ee) are available in Estonian only, but Tasuja.ee will soon be translated into English.

“We brought the right thing on the market,” said Uuemaa. “It helps to clean the Estonian business landscape.”

In addition to the tax board, Krediidiinfo and Tasuja.ee, there are a number of debt collection companies providing information online.

Source: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/3272/

Comment: Now it is www.economy.ee.

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