If you go to H&R Block to do your taxes, know this: Most people will get turned down for a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL), but that's just fine for H&R Block, because the refund will automatically default into a regular 8-15 day refund. Be careful, because the H&R tax representative might not tell you this. In my case, the tax rep called me the following day to say that the bank had declined my request for a RAL. (The reason was because I owed the IRS a late fee from the 2009 year.) Since I didn't want to pay all this money ($169.64) for the regular 8-15 day refund, I told the tax rep to cancel my refund.
That's when he horrified me by saying that it already had gone through. You see, when a RAL gets declined, it just means you don't have to pay the 6.95 RAL fee. Everything else stays the same, which means I've now paid $169.64 and STILL have to wait 8-15 days to get my refund. (When I was in the office the day before, he'd told me that I would have 5 days to cancel the RAL transaction, which was why I didn't sweat it. But when I tried to cancel, he told me that the 5-day rule only applies to the RAL itself, not the regular 8-10 day refund.) In other words, I was taken. Scammed.
When it turned into a regular refund, I was now stuck paying all this money for something that I could have done for FREE through state tax prep assistance or e-filing! So my advice is to just go to turbotax.com, which is easy, faster, and best of all, cheaper (about $30) than H&R Blockhead. (Remember, unless you are getting a RAL, you won't get your taxes any sooner by going to H&R Block. The IRS doesn't care who prepared your taxes or how much you paid to have them done!)
Rather than direct deposit, the H&R Block tax rep offered me an Emerald Card, which was just another way for them to bleed me to death. This card was a freaking headache! Of course I asked for direct deposit, but he (the H&R tax rep) said this was how they disburse the refunds. What he didn't tell me was that H&R will charge you about $1.95 for each time you use it at an ATM, plus you will still have to pay the bank's ATM fee (and it doesn't matter if you use your own bank's ATM because you aren't using that bank's card). Chase charged me three dollars, so I paid a total of $4.95 to withdraw the refund from the Emerald Card via ATM.
The contract states: "You will receive only one H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard and the Card will be in the name of the Primary taxpayer designated above." My name was clearly typed above this statement, yet the Emerald Cards all have "H&R Client" typed on them. They are all pre-stamped this way. My bank wouldn't touch it. Since I couldn't take the refund out of the card through the teller window, I had to go to the ATM, and pay the fees.
So, here's the sad rundown: Original refund amount: $624. H&R Block fees: $133. Bank fees: $36.64. IRS late fee: $151.36. ATM fees: $3 (Chase) $1.95 (H&R Block). Total deductions: $325.95. What I took home: $298.05. Yes, I was foolish for agreeing to pay so much for a RAL in the first place, but I was in a situation where getting that money in 1-2 days would have prevented a lot of other problems for me. But it only made me sink deeper into debt. I just want others to learn from this horrible experience. Thanks for reading!
BARRE, VERMONT -- I spoke with the company on the phone to make an appointment. The only appointments that had available were Sunday, when I try not to transact any business, and a week from Monday in the middle of the afternoon. My wife and I both needed to be there, so we rescheduled our time, and waited the week and a half that was required. I get it, it's tax season. The day of the appointment, I had to leave a meeting with my boss, his boss, and the VP of our organization to be there on time. My wife and I met there, we were 10 minutes early. We try to be early, to be respectful of the people we're meeting with.
Our appointment was for 3:00. At 3:15, after we'd been waiting 25 minutes, I asked the ladies working the desk what the expected delay was. It *is* tax season, and I get it. A short delay is fine, but we already had to wait a week and a half for this appointment, and we had other appointments for work that we had to keep too. They told me that there wasn't an expected delay, and seemed surprised that **, the guy who had been preparing our taxes for the past 3 years was taking so long with his 2:00 o'clock appointment.
At 3:40, ** finally comes out and calls us. He passed off being 40 minutes late with an insincere sounding "Nice to meet you, sorry for the delay". He didn't recognize us at all. OK, he might recognize us once he looks at our past returns. I tell him, "You know, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. My wife and I are both professionals, and we try to respect other people's time, and we expect the same from the people we do business with." He responds with "Would you like to speak with my boss?" I ask, "Do you think that's really necessary?" Apparently he feels it is. He goes and gets her.
We spend another 5 minutes or so, of the 20 we have left in the hour waiting for ** the owner to appear. She comes out eventually, and instead of being professional and explaining the situation calmly and rationally, she asks, "Do you want your taxes filed here today? Because, ** isn't going to work with you." I say "All I said to him was that my wife and I are both professionals and we expect the same from the people we do business with." She begins to bark at me about how they're doing the best they can, and ** works 12 hours a day, and put in over 100 hours last week. I say, "so did I." Because it's true, that's my day-to-day routine sometimes.
This only makes her more furious, and she asks again if we want our return done there, because it's really not that important to her. At this point I say, "No, I think we're done here." and "Thanks for wasting an hour of our day". The capper comes when this woman who has been yelling and barking at us (we're the customer in this scenario, which apparently she had forgotten) says "Well, *YOU* need to learn to treat people with respect".
Apparently, treating people with respect means being 40 minutes late for your appointment, and then barking at people and telling *them* how rude *they* are. In any event, if you need your taxes done in Barre, Vermont, please remember that the H&R block location there is understaffed, and overworked. And in the interests of not having them work 12 hour days, please be respectful of their time, and take your taxes someplace else. Your business just isn't that important to them.
IOWA FALLS, IOWA -- On February 8, 2010 at 9:00 A.M. we had an appointment with H&R Block office in Iowa Falls, Iowa. On Saturday we took our income tax papers that we had prepared to their office and left them with the receptionist stating that we had heard a big blizzard was approaching our area and at our ages 90 and 80 years of old we would not tackle the highway conditions on Monday should a blizzard occur. That did happen.
We had an appointment with **, Chief #**, who has previously handled our account the past four years. Now, I have been an avid customer of H&R Block for over twenty years, starting in Bentonville, AR. But never have I received the handling of my income tax this year in this fashion. We assumed she would use our time slot to compute our tax, everything was in exact order as she had received in prior years. On Feb. 16th I suffered a massive heart attack and was hospitalized for eight days. My wife, **, called over to H&R Block in Iowa Falls, Iowa to see if the tax papers had been completed, they HAD NOT.
Finally, on Feb. 24, 2010, ** called our home at 4:30 PM to inform us that the taxes were completed, our fee was $275.00 and they were to be filed electronically so that we could receive our refund in short fashion. We went to the office on February 25,2010 at 11:30 am. My wife, **, brought the prepared tax report to the car so that I could the instrument, returned the papers to the person in charged named, **, where my wife signed them. She stated the charge, $275.00 and they would be filed electrically and we would have our refund by the 10th March. My wife, **, checked with the Ackley State Bank, here in Ackley, Iowa twice during this month of March and no refund.
Finally, on March 25th, 2010 at 3:30 PM ** called H&R Block to see if they had filed the tax report. After about ten minutes delay they had checked and the return was still "hanging" on some hook and had not been sent in electrically. The question was asked how could this happen and they reported hesitantly, "Well, it was our mistake not to look". Well, great here I am 90 years old, had a massive heart attack with only 20% functioning, wanting to get my personal matters taken care of and in order and a MISTAKE like this happens in one of your "so-called" functioning offices.
We demand to have our money given back to us and to report this so called "slip up" in your office in Iowa Falls, Iowa. As I stated before, I have been a customer with H&R Block for over twenty years, almost thirty years now and never have I had this kind of treatment and happenstance.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- On February 20, 2009 my fiancé, **, and I entered your location at O'Connor Road and Nacogdoches Road in San Antonio, Texas to see what your establishment could find for us for my 2008 tax return. We had not used your services before and we're eager to determine the outcome. The gentleman at the front desk asked me a short series of questions including my name, status, etc. to which all of my answers were “No”. At the end of the questioning, much to our surprise, a second man chimed in and asked “Do you have a girl-fiend?” Aside from the fact that he was speaking out of turn I found this highly inappropriate and very rude.
Apparently, this man thought that he was being hilarious, but I strongly disagree. Even if I HAD a girlfriend when he asked this it would have no relevance to my taxes and that disrespectful line should not be crossed in an allegedly professional environment. This irritated my fiancé, but we chose not to verbalize our position. I suspect this man thought that he could behave this way with me because I look much younger than I am and perhaps he did not see my fiancé and his son sitting in the waiting chairs. Regardless of how old he thinks I may be, I am a 23-year-old woman and still a potential customer.
The man at the front desk called a woman perhaps by the name of “**” or something similar to assist us with my taxes. She did not introduce herself to us as I told her our names, but she entered some information and we began. As she typed at her computer entering my information she did not ask us about any deductions we wanted to claim or items we wanted to list. My fiancé asked her why she hadn't asked us about school items or business mileage and the woman replied that none of those things could be counted and so it did no matter if she entered them in the boxes and on the screen provided for those items.
She said the numbers “won't go anywhere” and ignored our requests. She assured us that she was certain nothing could be counted because they receive new and extensive training every year. This I would have believed if it had not been for the FAT that she did not know how to properly fill in the information and had to summon another employee. When this second woman arrived to the desk she also did not introduce herself and they both chatted about me and my information and ignored us sitting in front of them. The second woman left the area and finally we began discussing my schooling for 2008.
Something that was particularly odd was this woman asked me if I was in elementary or middle school. I told her that I was in college and an undergraduate. She went to repeat the word but instead said “undergrown” and began chucking loudly which was more than baffling to me. Again I suspect that your staff felt that they had no need to be respectful to me because of my much-younger-looking appearance. Now this irritated ME, but I did not see how it had become MY responsibility to see that these employees maintain a professional attitude or work ethic.
In closing, the customer service was appalling and needless to say we did not employ your services. Hopefully, you will agree and find that this email should not have had to be written. I will be expecting to hear from you soon to further discuss the events.
48858, MICHIGAN -- This is long but holy crap the problems: Crossed bank lines, defective cards, regional managers. If you want the dirt here it is. I had gone to H&R Block for the past 7 years. I normally would get my check, no rush; not a big fan of the advance or anything. I didn't mind waiting the couple weeks. Well in 2007, they enlisted a new policy that if you are to get a check. It is a 20 dollar fee and it may take up to two weeks to print - that's for the advance system with the loan, not the normal standard wait! But they told me all about this incredible Emerald card in which they would just go ahead and give me that day and I could start spending. I said "OK I'll try it."
This is where my nightmare began. I called the hotline the next day because the money still hadn't deposited, and the next day, and the next day. By now I'm thinking I don't much like their idea of "instant". On the 4th day I call my representative at H&R Block, she was going to call me back when she had answers. Two days pass and I call again, she had not gotten a return call yet. So I took time off of work and came into their office. What followed was 3 hours in the back room on hold with my representative waiting to talk to someone who could get the money deposited. We eventually got through, they manually put the money on the card and that was that.
Or so I thought. I went immediately to the ATM to swipe it. Nothing. Called back and they said to try another one. I drove go another and tried again. Nothing. The card they had given me was not magnetized. I assume it was never activated which is why the money had to be added manually. So began the process of getting a working card and transferring the money. What followed was two months of phone tag and frustration. H&R said to call the bank, the bank said to call H&R. The bank said they moved the money, H&R said it did not come through.
I went in the office twice (for hours each time) and eventually ranked the attention of the district manager with all of my calls. Who then enlisted the help of the regional manager. As it turns out the new card had a routing number issued to it that was not affiliated with H&R bank, and my money was sent somewhere completely random, I had to wait for them to retrieve the money it before I got it. Despite how many times I repeated "I don't care where you sent that money to. I want my money, you track down yours." But eventually I got it.
After 3 months of constant phone calls I got my tax return! With my threats of the Better Business Bureau and getting a lawyer they also agreed to compensate the cost to file and all company charges that went with it. I had also demanded the interest they accrued while the money was in the bank. Because for the time I waited that could have accrued in my bank. You see that is the reason for the cards. They have a 300 withdrawal limit. For the money that waits for the next day, they collect interest. It is not a large amount but with all the customers they make a lot! Needless to say they would not give me the interest. So they still got a profit out of me.
Aside from H&R block, last tax season must have been doomed. When I finally got my card I immediately withdrew the max for that day. I then went to have a few cocktails at Applebees with friends to celebrate my victory. While there, my wallet, with the card in it, was stolen from my purse! I found my wallet in the parking lot with the H&R Block card and my Zales card missing (I left the most of my cash at home and had 40 in my pocket).
I checked the account activity on the card the next day and found that starting right at midnight it had been taken to Grand Rapids, Jackson and over to Detroit over night. (From my home in central Michigan that is well over 8 hours of drive going in that circle.) They had hit every liquor store in their path using the card to buy booze, cigarettes, magazines and condoms! But I do give H&R Block credit for a very quick response in getting me that money back (another month btw).
DULUTH, MINNESOTA -- I applied on January 24, 2009 for my refund from my federal return by using H&R Block's TaxCut software on their website. My return was accepted the same day and I set it up to deposit my refund on to my Emerald Advance Master Card through H&R Block. I typed in the routing number and account number and it should have taken 15 days at the most to get the refund back.
The IRS said they deposited the amount on February 6th, 2009. I called H&R Block Emerald Advance Card Member Services several times and I was told twenty different stories, minding you, you have to pay $2.00 each time you TALK to customer service! The charges were wracking up without any reasonable answer given to me. One representative got an attitude with me when I asked for help, stating, "How do you know your refund was supposed to be deposited by now?" Did I mention I waited until the LAST day the refund should have been applied before calling?
I had their customer service, which sounded like it had been out sourced to India, tell me that you never filed your return; oh you did file your return but we're doing 'maintenance' on all of our cards so your return will be deposited in another five days or so; you have to call H&R Block's main phone number (to which those customer service agents said the people I was speaking with were supposed to handle it); you have to call the H&R Block TAxCut software people; you have to call HSBC Bank which handles all refunds (turns out they only handle refunds where you got an ADVANCE from H&R Block which wasn't what I had done and um, I had already told the representative at Emerald Card this information; call this person, call that person.
I spent FOUR hours after a full day of work calling and paying $2.00 each new call trying to get answers and find out where my refund was. Needless to say, my refund is now going to be mailed to me because they were missing the last two digits of the account number for the deposit. Um, yeah the rest of the account number was right and they have my returned money but they just won't deposit it to my account, I have to wait another 10 business days to get a check in the mail from H&R Block. They won't even return the funds that are SITTING THERE to the IRS.
I'd suggest going to TurboTax which I had done a few years ago and never had problems with. H&R Block's stupid customer service stinks.
DANIA, FLORIDA -- What a nightmare!!!!!! My husband had applied for HR Block's pre loan Emerald Card about three weeks ago. Was approved and minus their fees received an advance on this debit card. Fast forward to last Thursday and the nightmare of tax filing begun. First, the tax preparer couldn't get the computer to cooperate. Then onto the rest of the process.. took us an hour for a simple filing. Now we come to the part of subtracting the 1st Emerald Card. Oops, computer can't do it, no one can find this card operational. We also at this time have NO clue where the $30 withholding charge was to add back onto to this original card.
Now the employees, yes we had three at this point trying to figure out the whole mess.. gave us another card and said when the tax return is on the new card call them and tell them to deduct the original loan from the first card. We paid the $$$ to get the 1-2 day RAL and don't you just figure our tax return isn't on the card to this date.. Now 4 days and over 20 calls to both that incompetent Block office and their tax preparers to the Emerald Green Card services and BEWARE!
ALL calls to customer service for the Emerald Card cost you $2 a call guys - $2 a call for you to figure out their mistake. We've been told "computer glitch" to "bank error", etc. This is the explanation for taking the pre-loan out of our taxes twice. They (whoever they are) deposited our refund money minus the original pre-loan amount and then turned around and made an "adjustment" minus of the same pre-loan amount. So in essence they debited our first loan out twice and we now have a whopping $20 of a tax refund thanks to the competent tax people of H&R Block.
Tonight we are still waiting for a regional manager to call back regarding some discount/refund of the 1-2 day charges that my husband has demanded. We WANT some money back - no 1-2 days, then give us the difference!! Ha.. watch how long this will take. We have been filing our taxes with H&R Block for over 25+ years, this will surely be our absolute last!!!!!!! Their computers don't know what their doing, their tax preparers don't know what their doing, their main offices don't know what they're doing and neither does their Emerald bank! We are incensed that we, as loyal customers have been treated in this manner.
CALIFORNIA -- Tax preparer at the Fremont office on Mowry Ave made a mistake on my 2010 federal and state tax returns she filed me as married and filing joint and I am single. She had put ** on my tax returns. I received some forms and a letter from the IRS on December 19th 2011 stating (why are you getting this notice?) and you must return the response form by January 18th 2012. This notice stated that I owed the IRS 801.00 for not reporting this extra income on my taxes for the year 2010. I then had to fill out the response form which read check only one of three options. Then go to step B check the applicable payment options.
So I picked option 3 I like to request a payment plan to pay the tax I owed and fill out the installment agreement request and enter the amount you can pay each month and mail it back before January 19th 2012. I made an appt with the person who did my taxes in 2010, I then informed her that she made a mistake on my 2010 tax returns and told her I now owe the IRS 801.00.
I then gave her all the letters that I've been receiving from the IRS she liked them over. Then she said to me all we have to do is file a amendment which I did and after she was done she said to me "now you owe to federal is 1,467.00 and to state 130.00". I told her I owe them nothing your the one who made the mistake I should not have to owe the IRS any money.
Going back to the amendment she had typed in that the taxpayer made a mistake and filed married and joint and wants to change to single. I told her that is a lie I made an appt with you today to let you know about the mistake she made then she deleted that and typed in that the tax preparer made a mistake filed married and filing joint. Then she looked at me and said is that better in a very mean tone. She did not want to type that she had made the mistake. And then for her to (TYPE) lie and blame me for her mistake is unacceptable. I need to know how H&R BLOCK is going to resolve this matter of paying the IRS. Please get back to me asap.
CORSICANA, TEXAS -- We went to H&R Block for our tax prep like we have for the past nine years and it has turned into a nightmare. During the prep I was treated horribly... rushed, talked down to, my questions weren't answered. I have an 8 wk old son, who started fussing during the prep, and the SECRETARY suddenly appeared at my side and tried to pull him out of my arms so they could "get me finished and out of there". So I finished, paid the $175 prep fee and left. I get home and give the folder of forms to my husband for his signature, and wowee zowee the only forms in the folder were forms for him to sign.
No return for him to review, no receipt for the $175 prep fee, nothing. Just sign here... don't read anything or review anything, just sign it. Needless to say, the husband goes back up there and is told by the owner of the place that my tax preparer "isn't used to dealing with gringos". OMG WHAT!!?? That little comment just about sent my to a whole other level of aggravation. So, the owner re-does our taxes and the amount owed comes out different. So, I have been insulted and my taxes were done improperly and we asked for a refund of the prep fees. You would have thought that meatballs were going to come out of the sky!
We told her we would NOT electronically file anything, and that we would definitely NOT give them our bank account information in order to pay the taxes that we owed. Then I told her that H&R Block charges per form that is generated and one of the forms originally generated was the form for electronic filing and we were due, at the very least, a refund for the electronic filing which we were not doing. The owner got even ruder and after four visits to the office and seven phone calls, she just hung up on me for the last time.
I will be at the Better Business Bureau in Corsicana, Texas first thing in the morning. I checked out the official H&R Block website and there is no way to complain about a franchise. The only thing I can do is complain to the franchise owner, and at this point the only place that is going to get me is put in the county lock-up. Please, please, please... go to an accountant for your taxes. They are up to 4 times cheaper and know more about the tax laws. I will never darken the door of an H&R Block again. NEVER.
NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA -- Against my better judgment we decided to use H&R Block to prepare our taxes this year, thinking they would be reliable and affordable. We had used an accountant in previous years who charged $175 and didn't seem to get us as much back as we could get. We visited our local office in New Port Richey, FL where a very nice man sat down to process our paperwork. We are home owners and have a small home business, as well as my husband being a salaried employee. After about 30 minutes of inputing our information we were told we had a refund of $600 and that we would need to pay $400 to have this refund processed by H&R Block.
After picking my jaw up off the floor, we paid the $29 consultation fee and agreed to "think on it" and decide if we were going to pay $400 to H&R Block or go to our accountant. The man put our tax papers into a file folder and filed it away until we made our decision, ensuring we could come back at any time and get our papers. We decided to go to the accountant after all, and went back to get our file a few days later. The man who prepared our taxes was not in and the man in the office said he knew nothing about it and would not help us. He would not take our name, he would not give us our papers and he said we could only deal with our tax preparer.
This was not acceptable to me as they were illegally withholding our federal tax documents. We called the corporate office from the parking lot. The woman at corporate was very helpful and called the store to speak with the manager and instruct him to give us our papers back. The manager responded by hanging up on her. It wasn't until we threatened to call the police to settle this subject that they finally agreed to get our file, but not without a seriously nasty attitude. Being that it's tax season, buyer beware! H&R Block is shady and unethical.