App Dev 6: Apple Developer Registration and DUNS Number Not Accepted

September 23, 2013 in App Development

iPhone-App-DevelopmentNow that I have my Mac and app source code. I’m ready to start working on my first app. The next step is to sign up for the Apple Developer’s License. This is a required step that will cost $99 a year. Having the Developer’s License will allow you to upload apps to iTunes and also let you test apps on your iOS device. The first thing you’ll need is an Apple ID. This is the same ID you use to purchase apps in the App Store.

Create a New Apple ID or Use Existing?

One of the questions I see asked alot is whether to use your existing Apple ID or create a new one? This is entirely up to you but I want to let you know what I did. I decided to create a brand new Apple ID for the work I’m doing in app development. The reason is that I want to separate my company business from my personal stuff. I’m also thinking into the future in case I hire people that need access to my account. Speaking of company, I do have a business license and all my online activities are conducted through my company. So it was obvious to me that I needed to create a brand new Apple ID.

Individual or Company Account?

The next step is to actually apply for the Developer’s License. Here, you are faced with two more choices. Signing up as an Individual or as a Company. Signing up as an Individual is easy. You just need submit your usual information like name, address, phone, etc. You also need a social security number. If you don’t have a business license at the moment, I’ve heard you can easily convert your Individual account to a Company account. I’m signing up as a company because first of all, I have a company and second of all, a company license allows me to add a team to my account. Again, this is just me planning for the future if I hire developers that need access to my account. However, after saying that, it might not be as easy as people say. Keep reading.

DUNS Number Issue

[Note: This part applies ONLY to those who are applying as a Company] So I’m applying for my Developer’s License as a company and thought I would breeze through the sign up process. I had my credit card out and ready to pay the $99 registration fee. I even had my DUNS number ready. For those of you who have never heard of a DUNS number, you will soon if you decide to register as a Company. DUNS numbers are issued by a company called Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). What D&B does is assign DUNS numbers to businesses to verify the company’s existence. To be honest, I’m not sure why Apple needs this verification. A DUNS number is a unique 9-digit number it assigns to companies.

I heard about the DUNS number requirement a few months ago and decided to see if I had one. This was months before I was ready to become a developer. To my surprise, D&B had already assigned my company a number without me doing anything! My company is several years old so I guess they had already looked me up. You can find out if your company has a DUNS number by visiting this page and filling out your contact information. That’s what I did and found my DUNS number. If you don’t have one, you can have D&B assign one to you. If your companay is new, they might not have created a number for you yet. Just contact them to have one assigned.

Contacting D&B

So as I’m signing up on the Apple Developer website, I get to the page where I have to enter my DUNS number. With my DUNS number in hand, I type it in and I immediatly get an error message that says my company cannot be verified! I try it again and get the same message. I thought I was all set to go! Just so you know, I’m starting this registration process on September 9, 2013. So after some research, I decide to contact D&B about the issue at appdeveloper@dnb.com. They were actually pretty fast to respond despite all the negative comments I read about them. Here’s the email I sent to them:

Hello, I am in the process of registering for the Apple Developer program for my company. I was entering my business info including DUNS number on the registration pages but I get a message that says:

 
This organization is either listed in the D&B database with a different legal status (e.g., sole proprietorship), or its legal status has not been verified” on the developer.apple.com website.
 
Company Name: –my company–, LLC
My DUNS number is: 000000000
 
Can you tell me what documents you need to verify my company? I have UBI, EIN, member info and other registration documents for my LLC. I am the owner along with one other member.
 
Thanks!

Soon after I hit the send button, I get a confirmation email from D&B indicating that they received my inquiry and have assigned me  a case number. About 3 hours later, I receive another email from D&B with further instructions. Here’s their message and what they needed from me:

Hi Harlan, Please provide the details needed below so we could further
check on your request.
-Address
-Location Type (HQ, Branch, Single Location)
-Telephone NumberThe above details will be needed for
verification of your company report.

Thank you,
D&B Customer
Support

Their request seems pretty basic. But if they can look up my company, they should’ve been able to get all that information on their own. I replied to their request with the needed info. Amazingly, 30 minutes later I get another reply from them. This is at 11 o’ clock at night!

Thank you for submitting your D-U-N-S Number request / update to D&B. It should be completed by MM/DD/2013, or sooner.
Your request id is: xxxxxxx-xxxxx.
A D&B representative may be contacting you directly. Your cooperation will help to expedite the resolution of this request.
Please contact applecs@dnb.com if you have any questions.

That message was probably automated but I was glad to get it. Immediately after that, I get two more emails from D&B. Here’s the first one:

Hello Harlan,

Thank you for your response. We are requesting an update of
your D&B Report. The current turnaround time will vary based on the country.
Once complete, you will be advised by email. After that time please use the
following link to continue your enrollment.

https://developer.apple.com/support/ios/enrollment.html

Thank you,
D&B Customer Support

The second email is an automated message telling me that my case is resolved and closed. So now I have to wait until I get another email from D&B until I can go back and register as a developer and pay my $99 fee.

One Week Later

So I got another email from D&B updating me on my status. It looks like they have verified my business info. I thought I was ready to apply for my Developer’s Account but that would be too hasty! According to the next email, I have to wait another 14 days to use my DUNS number. Here are the contents of the last email:

Your D-U-N-S Number request/update submitted on mm/dd/2013 with ID Number xxxxxx-xxxxx has been completed. You may start using your number in 14 days.
D-U-N-S Number: xxxxxxxxx
Resolution Description: Match Found via host investigation, host database updated
The following information was submitted as part of your request: Business Name: MY COMPANY, LLC City: MY CITY, Country: UNITED STATES
Thank you for using D&B’s Mini Investigation Service.

The key take-away from my experience is that it may take a minimum of 3 weeks or more just to have the ability to sign up as a Company in the Apple Developer Program when you have any issues with your DUNS number. I thought I was going to be ready last week to start testing the source code I bought. But this is a delay I was not expecting especially because I had my DUNS number ahead of time! Now I play the waiting game! If you want more information about the DUNS requirement, everything can be found at Apple’s DUNS Number Page.

What was your experience like when you signed up for your Apple Developer’s License? Did you run into any issues or was it smooth sailing? I’d be interested in hearing your story! Please leave a comment below.

Update 1: [10-7-2013]

After that last email from D&B, I decided to try again to complete my application. They said I could start using my number after 14 days. I waited 21 days. When I went to re-apply and entered my DUNS number, I got the same error as I did when I started this process. It said something about my company structure couldn’t be verified. I knew that D&B had completed my verification process so I contacted Apple immediately by sending them an email. Now waiting for response.

Update 2: [10-8-2013]

Late the next day, I received a phone call from Nick, a customer support representative from the Apple Developer group. He was very nice and asked me to update him on my dilemma. He made me feel confident that he would be able to help me get this resolved. The next thing he said he’d do was contact D&B to find out what the problem was. He then assigned me a case number and gave me his phone number in case I needed to ask any questions. That’s where we ended it so I’ll wait for his next call.

Update 3: [10-9-2013]

The very next day, Nick called and left a message because I was unavailable to take his call at the time. But basically, he said that D&B got back to him and said their database hadn’t been updated yet. Of course, I’m thinking isn’t this what they did when I first contacted D&B? D&B said I could start using my DUNS number? At this point, there’s still nothing we could do so we wait word from D&B again. I’m not really in a hurry but I’m almost done with my first app re-skin so it would be helpful if I could get my developer’s license soon!

Update 4: [10-23-2013]

It’s been 2 weeks since Nick called from Apple Developer Support and I was wondering if I should call him. I’m pretty patient and I don’t have an app ready to submit yet so I was still ok on time. I was thinking about calling him but he called me first. He had good news! He said I should be good to go as far as finishing my application for the Apple Developer’s License. He said there should be no issues now. I was at work when he called so I had to wait until the evening to complete my application. However, I didn’t have time to get to it. I’m excited about this but will have to do it the next day.

Update 5: [10-24-2013]

Finally, I have time to get back to the application form. So I log in and try to get past the Company and DUNS verification page on the Develeper’s site. My information is already filled on the page from the first time I tried to submit my application. After I hit submit, there was another error saying I need to use Roman characters in the form… No DUNS issue this time! Of course, I’m thinking when am I going to get past the application process? I’ll write more about this process in another article but the only thing I did was remove the dashes from my phone number. When I clicked the submit button, I got through to the next step! My company info was verified! I’m all set! Here’s the email I just received:

Your Apple Developer Program Enrollment Request

Dear Harlan,

Thank you for your interest. We are now reviewing your enrollment request.

Summary

Enrollment ID: XXXXXXXXXX

Program: iOS Developer Program

Company: XXXXXX XXXXX, LLC

Name: Harlan

Email: myemail@myemail.com

Verifying Your Information As part of the review process, we will be contacting the reference you provided to verify the information you submitted. Once we verify your information, we will send you an email with further instructions. Visit Member Center In the meantime, we encourage you to visit Member Center where you can view your enrollment status and other helpful resources.

Best regards,

Apple Developer Program Support

I’m now awaiting final approval from Apple which I’m told will take 24-48 hours. I haven’t paid anything yet but I’ll have to pay the $99 fee after I get approved. So finally, I am on the verge of getting my Apple Developer’s License as a Company! Now I need to get moving and finish my first app.

Update 6: [October 28, 2013]

Ok, so the troubles aren’t over yet! I am a pretty patient person but today’s email from Apple got my blood boiling! It’s been 48 business hours since I re-entered my DUNS number info (4 days total if you count the weekend) and I finally got a response from the Apple Developer Program. It says they have withdrawn my enrollment. Here’s the email:

Hello Harlan,

This is Apple Developer Program Support, and we are
contacting you in regard to your iOS Developer Program Enrollment.

A company may only hold one Standard Developer program associated with their
entity. As such, we have withdrawn your enrollment ID XXXXXXXXXX. You are free
to contact the Team Agent of the existing company membership in order to be
added to that team.

If you would like us forward your contact information
to the team agent on your behalf, we would be more than happy to do so, but
cannot ensure they will contact you. If you have any other questions about the
enrollment process, please contact us. We’re happy to help.

Best
regards,

Andrew
Apple Developer Program Support

What does this mean? I can’t believe how hard it is to get into the Apple Developer Program as a company! Why do I need to be added to the team with the existing membership? I am the owner of my company and I’ve never been part of the Developer Program! Once I calmed down a bit, I called Nick, the customer support person I’ve been working with and told him the situation. I’m ready to have this thing all squared away but there’s been nothing but issues and delays through the entire process!

Update 7: [October 29, 2013]

Today, I got a voicemail from a different Apple support person because Nick was out of the office. I tried to make sure I was available for their call but somehow I missed it. The only thing they really said was to give them a call so I called back about 30 minutes after they called and I explained my situation. Then I saw an email come through from Dev Support saying this:

Please disregard note about the EID.

Devs duns information shows all pass. (Duns number XXXXXXXXXX)

I phoned the dev to advise they will need to fill out new enrollment.

I got their voicemail. I left a message providing my contact number and case number and advised to call me.

Best regards,

David
Apple Developer Program Support

Ok, so this message tells me that my DUNS number is ok (which I already knew), but they never said anything about needing to enroll again. So I logged into the Apple Dev site with my iTunes ID and saw that my enrollment status was “Pending”. I’m assuming the support person probably resubmitted my application. I can’t find out any more information. If my application was indeed resubmitted, I know it will be another 48 hours before I get approval or rejection again. After that time, I will call Apple again if I don’t hear anything. I’m very confused at what’s happening!

Update 8: [November 1, 2013]

I still haven’t heard anything from Apple support so I decided to re-enroll in the program. After I entered my company and contact information, I received another email similar to the one I pasted into Update 5 above. So now I need to wait 48 business hours for a response I guess. If it gets rejected again, I will be calling Dev Support. Stay tuned!

Update 9: [November 4, 2013]

Actually made progress this time! Now 48 business hours later get a call from Apple Dev Support! This time the person on the phone identified herself as a senior advisor. She said she was going to push my application through! I’m finally going to get into the program! She said that the reason why my original enrollment got withdrawn is because there is another company already registered with my same company name. She had to confirm that I wasn’t part of that other company. Then she assured me that I can still register my company even with this conflict. It was also her job to recognize issues like this in their system. So she asked if it was ok to add the suffix “WA” to my company name that displays in the App Store. That way, they can differentiate the entities in their system.

Of course I said yes. After that, she said she’d send on the email that will instruct me to finish my application and pay the $99 fee. Here’s the email:

Apple Developer Program Enrollment Update

Dear Harlan,

You can now continue the Apple Developer Program enrollment process by reviewing and agreeing to the Program License Agreement. You must click through this agreement in order to purchase or complete your enrollment in an Apple Developer Program(s).

If you need further assistance, please contact us.
Best regards,

Apple Developer Program Support

 

Looks like I’m set! The advisor also indicated that she’d be my contact from now on with anything regarding my account. Before we got off the line, she said she’d send me an email to summarize our conversation. Here’s what she sent:

Hello Harlan,

Thank you for speaking to me today in regards to your enrollment.

In order to finish your enrollment, please follow the system email you have received to accept our Program License Agreement and purchase the program.

From here on out, I am your advocate on this issue and will be retaining ownership of this request. Please reply to this email or contact me by phone for any concerns. I want to ensure you are satisfied with my support. Below is my contact information and schedule:

1-877-XXX-XXXX Ext. XXXXX
8:30 AM – 5:30 PM PST
Monday – Friday

Best Regards,

Apple Developer Program Support

 

I’m going to finish up my application and from the looks of it, I should be in the Apple Developer Program soon! I’ll probably have one more update after this and this whole registration process should be history!

Update 10: [November 5, 2013]

It’s official! I have successfully enrolled my company in the Apple Developer Program! I logged into the Apple Developer site and followed the next steps, paid my fee and now I have the ability to upload apps! This whole process for me took just under 2 months. Here’s the first email I received when I got approved:

Welcome to the Apple Developer Program

Dear Harlan,

Thank you for joining the iOS Developer Program. You now have access to a comprehensive set of development tools and resources to assist you in developing innovative applications.

How to get started:

Learn how to take advantage of your program resources and benefits. (iOS Developer Program Getting Started Guide)

Access your account Sign in to Member Center to manage your account and access technical resources.

Best regards,

Apple Developer Program Support

 

The other part of being in the Developer Program is access to iTunes Connect. I received a 2nd email about accessing iTunes Connect shortly after the last one.

Dear Harlan,

You now have access to iTunes Connect, our exclusive, partner-facing website. You may access iTunes Connect using the link below:

iTunes Connect

Log in using the existing username and password for your Apple Developer account.

With iTunes Connect, you can enter into a Paid Applications agreement, setup and edit information about your application, view sales and trend information, retrieve financial reports (if applicable), and create new user accounts for other people at your company.

If you have any questions regarding your iTunes Connect account please Contact Us.

Best Regards, The App Store Team

 

Ok, it’s been a long journey to get to this point. I was starting to lose interest in app development because of this lengthy delay. However, during this time, I was able to finish about 90% of the reskin of my first source code. Now I can finish the rest of the process and get my first app uploaded to the App Store. By the looks of it, I’ll be able to make my deadline of publishing my first app before the end of November! I hope this post helps you or gives you insight into what to expect if you’re having trouble registering your company in the Apple Developer Program!