I am sorry to hear about your problem, I wish more people knew that this can happen more often than people suspect. When a person owes the IRS they are vulnerable and will generally pay anyone who promises to make it better. Those of us who work this industry know that. While most of us are good and fair there is a handful out there that are BIG advertisers who fall flat when it comes to helping their clients.
I have been negotiating deals with the IRS for over 25 years and from now on I suggest to all that are reading this that you check out the Firms reputation with regard to this type pf happening. Here are some good tips when looking for help in this industry.
The Better Business Bureau BELIEVE IT OR NOT-does do their job. I didn't think anyone went there anymore; but they do, you put in a complaint, and they investigate it immediately and if a resolution can't be found they make a judgment call based on fact and circumstance. I like them allot, I have had one complaint in my career and I felt they were very fair in their handling of it.
You will get COO-COO Birds who will never be satisfied and people can see through them immediately but for the most part the bureau works. Then as far as getting your money back...have you got a detailed bill yet. If you send it to me I will look at it for you and tell you if the fees substantiate the work product. For example: To make a payment plan you have to prepare with information based on how much your client owes.
If the client owes under 25K it is easier than over due to the paperwork needed. You said they made a payment plan for your 1, 000, so if you email me the plan the paperwork and the bill I can tell you if they earned their fees. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email, I have worked in one of Sacramento's largest CPA firms and their billing as well as my 25 year IRS history, and I know a viable bill when I see one. As the Partner and the partner in charge of billings for them and now the Negotiation Center billings, I know my business.
For 1, 000 dollars you should have received at least 5 hours worth of service. Do you have an engagement letter from this firm? I don't know where they are located or who they are. Always get an engagement letter because it sets forth the expectation and what you both can expect from each other. For example: In ours we want honesty, a surprise can cost us the case. We have never lost one Offer in Compromise because we pre-qualify all people and know where we stand prior to our conversations with the IRS. A client who lies is a client we kick to the curb...that is just one small expectation. You the client has expectations and they should be spelled out in clear ENGLISH no legal-mumbo jumbo. Don't sign anything you don't understand or you can expect to get hosed. Like you were.
Go with your GUT feeling, are you talking to a salesman or the person representing you. Ask this question "Excuse me Sir, how many offers or deals have you made with the IRS this month? Not how many people have you talked to...how many deals. When they stumble you have your answer. If they say, I am not the person portraying the work ask who is, is it your partner...if they say Yes that will be OK, then ask for their name. If you get, an "I don't know who will be assigned to your case"...RUN, with your money in han
If you get satisfactory answers to here then it might be wise to hire them.
Sorry for running on I get so mad because this bad press flows all over all of us, when one bad apple gets dropped into our barrel we all get spoiled. So, I hope I can help you. Lesley Bunning The Tax Negotiation Center