H&R Block — tax service in totality
So, I'm going to let this all out. Since I may be commenting alot, despite moderators rightly analyzing it for their professional upkeep of this site as a whole, I'm going to say what's happened that I experienced. The mods may realize that I'm not even giving out my real name. It'll also be a task to disguise what I actually know. Why? Because I used to work there. A real torture pit. And they're not above violence if disgruntled employees are found out, even years after they left.
All I will admit is that this was a site in Philadelphia. And I'm glad that I got of there. So here goes:
The first year, less than 4 years ago, I signed up. You had to pay $350 for their course, which I must say, was rigid and very fast paced. The teacher was very strict also. We butted heads because the teacher was a loyalist and I was more of a realist. Really hated TurboTax. Like a mantra. Hating on it just to hate it. VITA, the free tax prep place the IRS controls, was on the radar, but not like TurboTax. Like political propaganda against a target, and you have loads as examples, which won't be listed here. Oh, and the people there, very well to do off, since the majority would brag about how much they're worth. Usually about low-end, $40, 000. High end, $80, 000. Those people would just glare at me and just be overcompetitive with each other. Very intimidating. People I don't work well with to put it PC to appease the mods here.
I'm assigned to my site. I'm looking forward to it. I already step on a toe. There's a hierarchy. The older workers, as in more seniority more so than actual age, gets the clients, all the time. You break it, you're berated, sometimes in front of the customers. Happened to me alot. Further, I notice a mistake. This couple was never told to take mortgage along with healthcare expenses. For over 20 years!! And they were going to the same guy. I brought this up to the boss there at the time (FYI: H&R Block goes through more bosses than a burger joint with burger flippers) and I was threatened and told that I'd have a real rough time working there if I was just trying to show people up, and I'd come to regret it. The next day, it came true, since the guy must've got told what I did with his clients, and he verbally harassed and mocked me at every chance. Even refused to help me when I needed it. Made it clear not to approach him. Which I didn't. What this guy did, amongst other rude acts, was bring up more than once daily how he has more experience than I have years on earth. That infuriated me inside.
Also, again, from people's braggings there: Each one of them had a day job. On average, that job earned them $40-60K. Here, to summarize the "compensation" package, as it was slave labor, and to touch on the $350 part I mentioned above, which I found out later after doing this coming up now, is it's a draw against commission. So, your commission, paltry as it is, such as 5% per $200 charged as a bill, $3 per product sold, like Peace of Mind and Tax Shield (More on those 2 coming up), not considering that time-eaters, like computers constantly failing, a crappy software system, and of course, customer questions plus sales pitches of said two plus their card (Which in itself is a failure), the sales alone was to take 30 minutes. EACH!! Now you see how paltry it is and how H&R Block motivates employees to gyp people out of dollars to put pennies in their pocket.
That get your billion back crap? I always said Block gets of that $999, 999, 999.00 and leaves you with the rest. The only way you advance is if you do dirty, illegal acts. Oh, before I go, if your DAC money, that $6 after tax, is more than your commission, you get demoted from one of your 15 levels of knowledge. As in, the tests you took to earn more money per return. If you do it 2 times in a row, like the next year of employment, you're fired. No exceptions.
Back to illegal, unethical acts. First, the products: Peace of Mind. You were pretty much saying you couldn't prepare a return properly so you need to pay $50 for the peace of having the error difference covered. I rarely did it because I had enough educational confidence in my returns, especially 1040EZs, that I didn't do it, much to the chagrin of my bosses. Next was the debit cards. Those cost $40. If you were getting those two, the bill already is $90. And for any return getting money back, it was $55 just to get your REFUND!!! WITHOUT considering the card and check yet, check costing $45!!! I didn't have an answer to give, and didn't try, when the only customer to question it did to me. I just said H&R Block said so. They walked out. Fun note: "Employees" would wonder why I didn't care about walk-outs when the tax return was just about done. I responded it was because of that paltry $6 an hour pay, though they went through the same situation I did.
Another product was Tax Identity Shield. For $100, you would be notified if your ID and Tax Return was submitted somewhere else. Thing is, it was only a notification. We didn't stop it. Plus, it had to be at another H&R Block location. Since everything was instantaneous, it was the equivalent of saying you just got shot when it happened instead of seeing the threat and being a shield or force evasion to the target. Rubbing salt in the wound, to get a PIN, we'd charge an extra $40. To just tell you the site to go to! We didn't actually walk you through it! And it's actually simple enough that you don't have to pay for it when I researched it as if my ID was stolen!
For the unethical and illegal act for the product part:
Unethical: Peace of Minds, we rarely got them in terms of redemption. Where we had to follow through on the product the customer paid for. When we did, we shredded them. Reason: It'll cost the company money. So the H-E Hockey Stick with them, was the censored part of what my now ex-boss said.
Illegal: Tax Shield: We had access to pertinent tax info, such as Social Security numbers. What one higher up did there at our site was take such numbers, write them down, along with other pertinent information, and call somebody and give them info. I thought nothing of it when one day, I was told to look up some random numbers. I thought it was just to check tax returns. When I asked if it was the customers asking or management for quality reviews, the guy said neither. Then he told me to mind my business. Then after that said others do it too, and that I should try it. If I were to mention what was going on, I'd suffer severe repercussions that could risk my safety. Needless to say, I chose my life over others. I don't regret it too much, considering I was pretty much a pariah with the upper management with my upper level bosses, which was hopeless to improve. All total, I estimate around 60-70% of potential ID theft came from us. On purpose.
Cards: The debit card, I shuddered when people wanted it. It was attached to no bank, and if you put your work check on it, you could face the possibility of having no funds available if card was stolen/lost or H&R Block would shut it down for unknown, arbitrary reasons, which happened VERY frequently. Admittedly, I would hang up on people who were victims of the card, as 99% of the time, it would be filthy vulgarities mixed with a death threat. I also did it when I was on a tax return, as the majority of the calls would take alot of time to figure out what kind of tax problem they had, or try to ask questions to do their own taxes, which was understandable, but slightly wrong if I was on a tax return or research problem and instead of coming in, I'm doing your return for free. Those were so bothersome, plus the filth-laden complaints of how Block screwed them, I just looked around, made sure no one looked, and picked up and hung up the phone immediately. So at least you know why I was one of the many ones who did it, but just my reasons. I don't know why the others did it.
Checks, maybe a third of the people who wanted them actually got them in the mail. We'd just purposely go into the system as soon as they were done and redirect it away from their address. I have a strong suspicion the people there had a way to get said checks and cash them and not get caught as of present. I wanted nothing to do with it and got flack as usual. Calls about checks were immediately given a blurb of "Blame the Post Office/IRS" after it was past the 4 weeks to get the check and a hang up. This was a way to punish those who didn't get the card or immediate deposit through their bank.
The next year, when I came back because I needed money, it got worse. The place was falling apart. Next, that Tax ID Shield was in effect. There was a woman who was the only one to sell them at all. Others like me, didn't. This paragon of virtue had alot of elderly clients. She scammed them all using sales techniques. She bragged that elderly clients were the easiest to manipulate and called them stupid, idiots, amongst other insults. This "woman" had a full time job at a retail place making $50, 000 annually. I saw her tax return online. PLUS has financial resources elsewhere that's earning her a tidy sum, thanks to her Ivy-League educated children. Guess she really needed that little pittance of $3 per product sold.
We also went days, which stretched into weeks, without clients. Because of the price. Some recollections: 1040s cost $250. States, $50 per. W-2s, $10 each. Other papers cost anywhere from $10 to $100!! Those were mainly focused on SS income, Schedule A deductions, and Schedule C deductions. Though for Education, that form cost $120 alone! It wasn't uncommon for EIC people to cost over $500, as the form was over $350 BY ITSEL[censored] And we haven't got to the end products yet. A return would take, the simplest being 1040 EZ, about an hour, majority of it doing unnecessary sales pitches. Including state, those simple returns were $200. Dependent returns cost $200, including refund costs as stated above in this statement. 1040 ranks: EZ=$100, A=$150, regular, as stated above, $250. EICs and others that were simple-moderate, about 2 hours, with all the paperwork to go over plus sales pitches. Remember, 5% increase per every $200, plus that uniform $3 per product sold, regardless of the price, and you'll see how it becomes like a slave shop for fruit picking wages. EVERYONE gets the same $6 an hour DAC regardless of company length, Also consider walkouts, which occurred about 40% of the time, and customer drought, and now you see that the only way to make it is to do unethical/illegal acts to make it profitable.
This next part is where I left: First, there was a pensioner who had to pay $400 total, though he had IRA and SS. He broke down, because he had to choose between paying the cost, which was way more than the refund, or eating. He chose to pay. The kicker was when a very old, sweet lady who was doing taxes got physically attacked by an irate client who looked thuggish. The manager, who was delinquent in every way, sent her home and gave it to this other co-worker, who was like the cookie-cutter weasel who makes work that much less desirable. She gleefully snapped it up like a rat to cheese. And this beacon of truth would curse people, sometimes loudly, behind their backs when they were gone. She would sometimes wish death on them. After such acts as begging to tears on the phone for them to come back went unheeded. I found it repugnant, others found it funny. Because misery and backstabbing was the order of the day. I remember the year before I had 60 clients, and then the next year when I left, I only had 12 left, of those only one number worked, where I left a message, but no return call. In effect, I had nothing. When I confronted my boss about it, I was told to suck it up and stop wimping out, since I stole those clients. No, those were forced on me, by the same people who did them before, but now don't want to.
And this whole pay structure is what this breeds: Hatred and bile, plus cannibalism of other people's clients through dirty deeds. And these are people that don't need it. And when they reduced the entrance minimum passing grade to a 50 instead of an 80, we got crap people. We had those who got the bare minimum, bragged they had an accounting degree to boot, and couldn't even do a simple W-2 entry!! So cesspool of failure because of the cut-throat rates and training. Plus, before I go, the $350. Remember, for first years starting out with maybe 0-10 clients, they're not going to go past the $6 DAC. So simple division to figure out hours to break even with that course: 350/6=58.333 and so on. You were lucky to get hours above 10! Then understand numerous taxes relating to fed, state and municipal and it's even more hours! In other words, it's 99% free labor, with 100 in some cases. In one of our training meetings, some woman in our district made $100, 000 in the tax season Jan-Apr. After fees and so forth, pouring through the numbers, that seemed humanly impossible to reach, she only made $12, 500. An EIGHTH of what she should've made. Slave labor if I ever saw it. I'd rather pick fruit for what I was paid.
And I'm purposely leaving out, probably about 33-50% of what went on because of identification concerns. This was made as a guide to let you know, in summation, all the complaints you have and suspicions of what your H&R Block "Tax Experts" do, yeah, they do it. I'd say, with the usual caveat of not all employees are doing it, but those that aren't are, well, like me. Disillusioned and thinking they'd be getting paid a base minimum of $15 because of the complication of taxes to begin with. That's why you don't see people with welfare at the many useless meetings I had to attend. They had hot cars and dressed to the 9s. They're thinking this job will have more pay than their other job. Only to be brought crashing down to reality. I hope, if you read this all, this really helps. If it gets through the mods. I pray it does.
Updated by TruthinessAvenger, Jan 13, 2017
The majority of my complaint here is that the H&R Block you worked for is NOT the H&R Block I worked for. And not just one site. The WHOLE district was that nasty. I HAD to attend those nasty meetings of creepy old cat ladies and those high of their professional horse, as if they're still competing with someone ruthlessly. Oh, and there was NO DIVERSITY!! Only about 4 or 5 non-whites. And those weren't where I worked. If it was at least a higher commission percentage and higher wage, or have wage and commission separate, then I'd still be there. Oh, and the blatant hostility of anti-ethical, anti-lawful behaviors gone also. In short, what you purport you enjoy. Since it's not, I feel it's my duty to commiserate and use empathy for the numerous people victimized maliciously by depraved "Professionals" only interested in putting pennies in their pocket in exchange for the client's dollars. The majority the taxpayers can't claw back after the amended return, WHICH by the way cost $200 flat fee when I was there. So thanks for what you say, but I'm letting you know the simple things they could do to improve client experience and reduce that horrible turnover rate that people like me contribute to. But since they don't, they'll have disgruntleds like me, the few who will speak out, albeit anonymously, speaking out for the clients we, at one way or another, victimized. Just to ease our conscience for those who are affected, like me.
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