Saturday, February 26, 2005

H&R Block Bait&Switch

I went to file my taxes tonight. I followed the link on to free file. I filed with H&R Block last year, so I thought I'd use them again so that they could import my data. Free and less typing. Good deal.

When I finished everything, I went to eFile and I was asked how I would like to pay the $29.95 for the "Online Tax Program." Huh? I thought this was free.

I figured out how to do their online chat support, so I was able to IM with someone. Her resolution? Do my taxes again, and this time create a new account, don't sign in using the account I created last year.

Huh? Can you say Bait-and-switch? I said, "You're telling me that I have to do my taxes AGAIN?"

"Unfortunately, yes," she said.

"I'm sure that you have the power to make this be free."

"Unfortunately, I do not."

I was livid. I got a phone number which I'll call on Monday. The sad part about this is that it would probably take me less time to do my return again than it will to call them. But I'm interested in taking up the fight. This is absurd.

So if either of my readers haven't yet filed their taxes, please don't use H&R Block.


According to their website: "Free federal online tax prep and e-filing for all taxpayers. No restrictions. Everyone qualifies.*" (Emphasis theirs, not mine!)

"* You automatically qualify for free filing through the IRS Free File Alliance - NO AGI limitations. To receive this FREE filing offer, you must click 'Start Now' on this page. Includes one federal return."

Update: I called and was given the same solution: create a new account and start over. I said, "No way am I doing my taxes again. I'm going to get the service for free, so why make me do it again?" And I was issued a coupon code. Amazing how that worked. The 16 minute phone call (most of it on hold) was actually much less time than doing my taxes again would have taken. Victory is mine!


Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by Patrick.] That's really bizarre, I used it last year, used the same account this year, and it was free to file federal taxes. Maybe your account is a different type than mine. Regardless, though, I second the recommendation to not use HR Block. This year I filed with them, and was going to file state, but found out I had to file a paper return, so I cancelled the state filing. They still billed my $9.95 for the state return, and when I did the online support, I was told they had to charge me, EVEN IF I DIDN'T HAVE THEM FILE MY STATE RETURN. Well I thought that was total BS, but the rep I talked to insisted that was the case. So I filed a complaint with the BBB, and low and behold, they've now decided to refund my $9.95. Regardless, they won't be getting my business ever again.

Travis said...

[Imported comment* originally authored by jason.] very, very weak. i've been using turbotax online since '99 with no problem. i know some people were turned off to them by their lame registration by the install version a few years ago, but i very much endorse the online version. especially with the turbotax vault, which stores all of my past tax returns online for free.