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Liberty Tax Service / bad service/bad customer service

1 5203 Cortez Road WestBradenton, FL, United States
Contact information:
Phone: 941-761-7777

According to the paperwork I was given by Liberty Tax service “We guarantee our services 100% If you are not satisfied with our service, for any reason, we will refund your preparation fees.”
This is a lie.
Here is my story. I moved from New York to Florida in 2012. Being new to Florida I was unsure of the tax implications having lived in two states so I went to Liberty Tax, located at 5203 Cortez Road West, Bradenton Florida, 34210.
I should have suspected something when the preparer told me I knew the forms better than he did.
After several attempts to contact customer service I sent them this message on Feb 15:

Dear Liberty Tax,
As I had recently moved from New York to Florida last year I decided to use an "expert" tax preparer this year and chose your company. Frankly, I have been underwhelmed by your company's service.
I visited your office at 5203 Cortez Road West, Bradenton, FL - 34210 on 01-28-2013 and your "expert" needed assistance with the proper forms-from me! That should have been my first clue. As I have education expenses I was informed that the IRS might reject my return, and if that was the case that Liberty Tax would refile without the education expenses (form 8863) and then file an amended return when the IRS began accepting them.
I was never notified whether the return was rejected or even if it was filed. So I called the local office in February and was told they could not file until "mid February", and apparently could not define what "mid-February" meant even though I was able to find it defined on the IRS website as February 14th. That should have been my second clue. I was again told to file a return without the form 8863 and later file an amended return and when I agreed they hung up. Third clue.
On February 14th I called again to see whether it had been accepted or not and was told that it could not be filed yet because the IRS was not accepting education credits yet and when I informed them that according to the IRS they indeed were accepting forms starting the 14th I was informed that it had been rejected. Yet again I was told to file a return without the 8863 and later file an amended return and made an appointment for the 15th.
So today when I came to my appointment I spent most of the next 30 minutes waiting while one "expert" handed me off to another "expert", and while I was with expert number 1 I was again informed that the IRS is not accepting form 8863 and when I informed them that the IRS website stated that they began accepting them on the 14th the response was "OK you can go ahead then". Another clue.
When I finally got to speak to expert number 2 she asked for a copy of my return, which I was never given, and then told me that I would have to make a new appointment because my file was not available as it had been sent to headquarters for security purposes. I was then told that I should have called, at which point I told her that I did call, which was how I made that appointment in the first place. So now I have to take time out yet again to file my taxes, which I originally filed on 01-28-2013.
I fail to understand how your so called "trained" tax experts seem to know less about taxes than I do. I used a paid tax preparer for their expertise, which at this point I am not confidant that your company possesses. You are charging me over $350 for this service, which basically boils down to my walking your expert through my return, and waiting to find that beyond that you don't seem to have done anything at all. I cannot even be sure that it has even been filed yet because your office tells me, in the same phone call, that it can't be filed and when informed that it can be filed, that it was rejected. So after nearly three weeks since I first visited your office I am in exactly the same position I was before I stepped foot in your office, except for the fees you have charged me.
I am extremely disappointed with your service and believe me, I will not be referring friends to your service. I have been patient but since almost three week have passed and I have no idea what the status of my return actually is I feel it will be my duty to warn people about your service.
And on Feb 16 sent them this:

I should add that I paid my third visit to your office today. Only now has my return been filed. This despite the fact that on 01-28-2013 I was told that the return would be filed on 01-30-2013 and if it was not accepted then it would be refiled and an amended return filed when the IRS began accepting form 8863.
I am also troubled by the fact that when I called on 02-14-2013 that I was informed that the IRS was not accepting education benefits yet and when I informed them that they were accepting them that my return was rejected. I was informed in the office on 02-15-2013 that the IRS was not accepting education benefits yet and I had to inform them that the IRS was indeed accepting them. Now I find out today that my return was never rejected because it was never filed. I was also informed that I was on a list to be called, but since I was the one who had to inform your tax professionals that the IRS began accepting benefits on 02-14-2013 I find this rather dubious.
I am troubled by the fact that you claim to employ thoroughly trained tax professionals but my experience is that they are simply form-fillers. I was not offered any tax advice and the claim you make that all of your preparers know the tax code is rather suspicious. Had I not continued to contact your office and been insistent over this matter my tax return would still not be filed. So please tell me exactly what my $350 in fees is going to. It is clearly not training, and it clearly not qualified assistance. Your trained staff did not know which forms to fill out, did not follow through on any promise made, and quite frankly I could have stopped a stranger on the street and gotten equal service.

I was told that someone would contact me within 24 hours. 24 hours passed, then 48, and 72 and so on. I finally did hear from Liberty Tax, reminding me to tell all my friends to come in and get their taxes done. The office manager finally did call, leaving me a message on my phone declaring she had tried four times. Apparently it is company policy to try desperately to contact someone and never leave a message. She informed me that all employees of Liberty Tax are fully trained tax professionals, and that the reason that I, a non-tax professional knew more about taxes than the professional preparers of Liberty Tax was because the company computer had not yet informed them. That does not seem a reasonable explanation since these supposed professionals are supposed to be tax experts. She could not answer why I was given alternate answers to the same question.
She promised to get back to me. Weeks passed and she did not.
Now, two full months after I entered their doors I discover that my New York State taxes were never filed. I was told that they must have been trying to save me money, and that New York does not accept e-files. That is, by the way, yet another lie as New York does accept e-files, and in fact they prefer it. I was told that I was given the forms to mail myself on my first visit, despite the fact that despite three separate visits I still had no copies of any of my taxes. I now paid a fourth visit. I spent another hour just trying to get a copy of my taxes. The lone “professional” in the office said his boss would be there in about five minutes. He told this to the gentlemen who came in after me, and to the several people who called. Turns out she was coming in a couple of hours later. The couple that came in for an appointment with her turned around and left and they did not look happy. The big boss came in, who, coincidentally was the manager’s mother, and I was given forms to mail in. Two months after I first stepped foot in their office.
The next day I called the representative from the company who had promised me action, only to discover it was the same boss I had dealt with the day before. She could not help me at the time because she was not if the office but was out having lunch with her daughter, she informed me, but would call me as soon as she got back to the office. Of course there was no call.
“We guarantee our services 100% If you are not satisfied with our service, for any reason, we will refund your preparation fees.”
Or we will just stop returning your calls and hope you go away.

Mar 29, 2013

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