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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

H&R BLOCK: SUCKS, part 2

So, here is my part two. The adventure began when I tried to file for free on H&R BLOCKhead's website.

I immediately pointed out to them that it did not appear that I could file for free.

I was a returning user, and once logged in (despite following the 'file for free' link), I found there was no option for me to file for free.

Well.

What I wanted to know now was:

Was it possible to file for free and I just missed the button?

Was there an instruction I missed telling me I was not qualified?

Was it possible, short of contacting support, to find out what I needed to know concerning filing for free?

(it turns out that the answer to all three of these questions is NO.)

I decided to write to support again, only this time, I'd pretend that I didn't know there was an issue.

What follows below is a complete transcript of my e-mail exchange with their support, but here is a brief rundown in case you'd rather not read it all:

Me: Golly, what's wrong here?

Them: You must go through IRS.gov (Useless response number one. this may be true, but it is not an answer, because I did that, and it did not result in me getting to file for free.)

Me: Saaay now, I did that, and it did not work. What's wrong here?

Them: You must qualify for the free file, and also, you must create a NEW account. (brand new information.)

Me: Where is this information posted on your website?

Them: Go to irs.gov and create a new account. You will have to do this every year in order to file for free. (not the answer I was asking for.)

Me: (I point out how their free file page has a log in for returning users, and how it also has instructions telling retuning users they can log in to free file)

Them: Thank you for your comments, we value them.

Me: Thanks for the brush-off.

Them: (indignant "that-wasn't-a-brush-off-reply" reply)

Me: I should bill you for my time

Them: Here's a discount code for getting your money back


/////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

Hi, I followed the 'free file' link over from the IRS website, but when I logged in, there was no free option. How do I access that? Thanks.

//////////

TaxCut Online Support TO ME

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

In order to use the FFA offer through TaxCut.com, access and sign in to TaxCut Online through the IRS.gov site - www.irs.gov. There is no other entry point.

If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

/////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

Your answer does not tell me anything.

I clicked the link from the IRS site to your site, clicked the 'file
for free' link on the page on your site which I was taken to, and I
was presented with two options- register or log in. When I logged in,
there was no free option. How do I get the free option if I am already
a registered user?

Thanks.

///////////////////

TaxCut Online Support TO me

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

In order to recieve free file you must qualify. If you do qualify you must create a new account and go through irs.gov
If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

/////////////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

Where is this explained at any point between the irs.gov free file
page and the point at which you log in on your website? Please send me
the hyperlink to that page so I can see. I have been looking for it.


-Will

//////////////////

TaxCut Online Support to me

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

Please go to the

http://www.irs.gov
to get information for free file. Also iIf you used TaxCut last year to process your return you would need to change your user and password and create a new account. You will need to create a new account every year in order to take advantage of the free e-file. If not you will be charged. If this is the first year you used this or you created a new account please let us know by replying to this email.

If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

//////////////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

I see.

If I have used your system before I have to create a new account in
order to file for free.

What I want is the link to the spot where I am told this specific
information on your website or on the IRS website.

Their site says: "Before selecting a company link, review the tax
software company's criteria to confirm that you meet their eligibility
for preparing and e-filing your federal return for free."

Your link on their site says: "Free federal online tax preparation and
e-file if your adjusted gross income is $52,000 or less and you are
age 50 or under."

In the informational text on the page which comes up after the "start
my free file return" link on the page I am taken to, which contains a
login for a returning user: "If you completed this program last year
and you remember your username and password, sign in as a returning
user."

Would you agree that your program is currently quite misleading? I
have not been able to locate a spot where I am told to create a new
account- I have to write and ask. Why is that?

Thanks,

-Will

/////////////

TaxCut Online Support to me

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

We appreciate your comments and always value the feedback we receive from our customers. Your comments will be forwarded to the appropriate department, and taken into consideration as we work to develop next year's programs.


If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

///////////////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

Awesome, I've been given the "thanks we're done with you now" message.

Well, I am contacting the IRS website to report your misleading
behavior, and I will be adding on to my weblog concerning this matter,
so that people can find out what you're up to.

So you might want to get around to fixing that. I ought to bill you
for my services. Is there an address I can send an invoice to?

-W

///////////////////

TaxCut Online Support to me

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

Mr. Wizzlepig, I do apologize for any inconvenience you may have incurred in filing your taxes this year. Also, it is not our intentions to make you feel as tho "thanks we are done with you now". We value you as a customer and wish to provide your with as much technical support as possible. Again, we do apologize for your inconvenience.

If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

/////////////////////////

Will Von Wizzlepig TO TaxCut

Oh, don't get me wrong- I've worked in tech support. I know you are
actually trying to help me. I also know the people in tech support are
not the problem, it's a pointy-haired boss somewhere else in the
company.

However, my point is that, for a returning user, there is no free file
unless they write and ask for help or GUESS and set up a new account.
The effective end result? H&R hoping: well, if they can't ask for
help, they should just pay for it.

And that's not cool. There's not a peep about that anywhere in your
help or documentation, in fact, you're told to log in if you already
have an account.

So.

I'm fine with my own situation, and I am actually pretty impressed
with the response from your support department. Support, though, is in
many cases just a clever PR move.

The fact that the 'free file' link is not fixed, right now, for the
peak tax season- that's why I am making a stink, and will continue to.
People have enough frustration with their taxes as it is, and from the
biggest name in the market, H&R Block, I don't feel even the slightest
bit of hesitation to hold you to a higher standard than, say, K-Mart
Tax Services.


-W

//////////////////////

TaxCut Online Support to me

Thank you for contacting H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support.

Again, we do apologize for the inconvenience this matter may have caused you. We are experiencing some glitches with the link. We are providing you with key code to cover the mistaken charge. If you are filing a state return, please know that you will be charged $24.95 for the preparation fees.

Key Code XXXXXXXXXX
Amount $9.95

If you have further questions or concerns, please reply to this e-mail. H&R Block values you as a TaxCut customer and we look forward to serving as your tax and financial partner in the future.

Sincerely,
H&R Block TaxCut Online Technical Support Team

7 Comments:

At February 25, 2007 7:41 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Wow.. ok. So this is my problem then. I wish I had known ahead of time that I had to make a new account.. I already did all the work of entering everything in, and now I guess I'm going to just have to do it again (unless someone there chooses to give me a key code -- I tried calling today, but the "estimated wait time" was 10 minutes and I didn't have 10 minutes).

By the way, they are incorrect when they said that you have to create a new account every year. This is my third year using H&R Block Taxcut online to do my taxes, and I did not have to create a new account last year in order to it for free. It worked fine last year.

It is very annoying that they would want us to create new accounts all the time. The whole point of using this software is so that it can import all of my information from last year and the year before. If I have to do it all over again anyway, I could have just used one of the other free tax preparation softwares.

 
At January 29, 2008 1:16 PM, Blogger Eric D said...

Those bastards got me too. I filed with them last year b/c I was eager to file. Then I realized there are much cheaper options. I fell into the H&R trap too where I saw the "free file" link and the returning user access. Don't worry though, I have deterred quick a few people already from there service. TaxAct.com is highly recommended by Clark Howard, Atlanta's Financial guru. Check it out. Still not sure if you can file for free if your AGI is over $52k though.

 
At April 08, 2008 7:32 PM, Blogger George said...

I've been doing my girlfriend's returns in addition to mine on the H&R Block site for a few years, and curiously this year this happened to me- but only for my account. Her account gave her the option to continue with the free service. As to why, there was obviously no explanation. The fact that our logins seemed to be tied to the problem suggests that they have some sort of criterion for who does and doesn't get the free service without a hassle.

 
At January 30, 2009 7:06 PM, Blogger Bobbie Jo Castner said...

I have been filing free on the same account for about 4 years now.

 
At March 14, 2009 8:03 AM, Blogger mike said...

I just put in ABCD-1234 and it said my e-filing fee would be $0. Seems fair.

 
At March 14, 2009 11:16 AM, Blogger Will Von Wizzlepig said...

They may very well have fixed it now, Mike, it's been a year.

 
At March 07, 2010 9:14 AM, Blogger Will Von Wizzlepig said...

I just thought I'd update this thread- this year I filed with www.freetaxusa.com , and their site was well put together, and it worked flawlessly. I got my return without a hitch.

 

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