2009 - H&R Block and it's bank are scamming it's customer who normally file for a rapid refund. Customers who have always gotten a rapid refund are now being denied and being told that each year, "Our criteria changes." Yet, their funds are obligated to the Emerald Card and the fees associated with the card ($35 annual fee).
For the past two years as a single mom who helps her sister through college, I have gotten a rapid refund through H&R block. I know the fees are high, but I also need the money and my sister needs books now ($800 worth) that are not covered through her grants. Why I need the money is neither here nor there. The problem is H&R Block says that you will receive a refund in 1-2 days. I was told I was approved for the 1-2 day refund, as I have been in the years prior. This year, however, I was denied and told I would receive my refund in 8-14 days. The reason for the denial is unclear, since my credit is better now than it was last year. I was also told that my Tax Refund had been accepted by the IRS, i.e., they found nothing wrong and are processing it for payment -- so again, why the denial?
When I called the bank several times, I was told that "our criteria has changed, " but they were not sure what was going on, telling me they had been getting calls "like this" all day. That people that had been getting the rapid refund for the past 5 years were being denied this year.
I will never use H&R Block again. My contract says I have until midnight tomorrow (Jan 21, 2009) to cancel, but I was told by the district manager that if I cancel, then I will receive a paper check, and it may take up to 3 months to get my refund.
My problem: 1) I was never told about the 8-14 day possibility of a refund. 2) I can do my own taxes, E-file and have my return back in 8-14 days without any fees. 3) This is a scam to get customers to use the Emerald Prepaid Card, owend by H&R Block so they can make money all year (it cost $20 to withdraw funds over the counter in one of their subsidiary banks).
I am filing a complaint with consumer affairs and I am advising others to do the same. H&R Block knows instantly if you are approved or not for a rapid refund (they own the bank). They should be upfront with customers and tell them right then and there if they do not qualify and that it will be 8-10 days before they get a refund. If they tell customers that, most will just leave and do the taxes themselves, and they lose customers.