Buyer Beware: H & R Block = Heist & Ripoff Year-Round


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So I have to take a minute to rant here a bit about H & R block. The past few years I’ve done my own taxes. They are not terribly complicated and I get can around a computer pretty well, so it hasn’t been too bad. But this year, with Anthem’s breech and the Turbo-tax hack, I decided I better go to a professional (especially since I have Anthem). It just made me nervous. Plus someone at worked had their identity stolen and found out when they filed.

I had to H & R block many years ago and for the price one paid, it was well worth it. And friends told me I could expect about $80-120 now. So off I went with my papers in hand. I don’t have much: I never felt it was particularly complicated. I mean, I did it after all and I’m no accountant!

The woman on the phone had told me for no extra charge they would check my past filings to see if they were wrong too! Splendid. They even moved up my appointment since I got there early. And everyone was very accommodating and very friendly.

We got started and it all seemed pretty simple: just plugging numbers into an easy computer program with indexes on the side of the screen. I mentioned to the woman helping me about mine being easy, when she said: Oh gee…not really, you have a lot of ‘forms’. Hmmm, I thought. I guess I didn’t really get that given all I see is a computer screen flashing by and her just inputting numbers.

When I mentioned about how much I thought it might cost (see above), she looked at me stunned and said: why NO, it’s probably going to cost you more like $500! Maybe more! Well, I nearly fell out of my chair. Really? She told me one pays by the ‘form’ and I had a lot of ‘forms’.

You have got to be kidding me?! She did inform me that I could leave at any time, but of course, she had pointed out that I had made a couple of errors on my previous filing and wondered why they didn’t come after me. I was really in a state at that point.

We kept going and by the end it was like $600! I was numb. I really wasn’t sure what to do. Luckily I was getting a return back, but not much more than I had gotten back when I did it myself! But I felt so defeated that I simply decided to let them do it because I wasn’t sure if I would know how to do it correctly at that point.

When I got home, I tried to find an email address to complain (which I couldn’t find on their website) and noticed you can use a free service of theirs to file! Seriously?! So why then does it cost so much to go to one of their sites? It took her about an hour and that was with us chatting! If she had just done it, maybe 30 minutes or less. What could possibly cost $600? The paper? The rent? The salaries? The 2 pens they gave me? It’s simply highway robbery. And that extra service of them looking over the other returns…they will do it, but it would cost more to fix them!

Morale of the story: buyer beware–don’t ever go to H&R block. They are a complete rip off. I will never, ever use them again. The people were nice, but they just take people’s money for no reason. Computers do all the work now and the humans are there to input data. Certainly they need to know where to do it. But being unreasonable in their prices is completely ridiculous. It’s bad enough the government kills us on taxes…then a corporation has to stick it to us too!

Capitalism at it’s best!

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13 thoughts on “Buyer Beware: H & R Block = Heist & Ripoff Year-Round

  1. Yuck. I almost said something the other day, but it sounded like you usually had someone do it, so I didn’t say anything. I kind of like doing taxes, and could do yours. I would think yours would be pretty simple.

    Do they give you a copy of the taxes for your records? Are there any forms that are strange? I have heard of some companies charging extra this year for the AHA form, which I guess if they charge per form, than there is an additional form (though maybe yours might not even have that, but just the checkbox saying that you do have health insurance…)

    And did they fix the old returns/file an 1040X for past years? What was the mistake(s)?

    I’d be interested in seeing your return to see how complicated it was. We use http://excel1040.com/ and do them ourselves. I got tired of the turbotax, taxact, etc. because they made it so much harder to file the taxes, once I knew which box I wanted to put a number in, the interviews/questions took a lot longer than simply typing in the numbers…

  2. The coworker just told me last night that she thought it was the TurboTax breech that resulted in her identity being stolen, but I just looked up what the security breech actually was, and it doesn’t have anything to do with identity theft, but rather if your turbotax data (on your computer or their servers) is accessed, the attacker could gain access to your password to investment accounts (if you had given that password to turbotax to allow them to download your statements automatically, etc.) So, that really has nothing to do with what happened to our coworker.

    They probably guessed her password, and that is how they were able to file the taxes. If you have used turbotax online before, it would actually be better to login to that account now, and make sure that no one has filed a return for this year, because otherwise, you won’t know that you’ve been hacked until the IRS complains that you’ve filed twice this year, and that will probably take a while for them to figure out.

  3. Wow. Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience, but I’m not surprised by anything you said. My husband used HRB once years ago, before we were married, and said he’d never set foot in one of their offices again! We’ve used TurboTax for almost 20 years. I will admit to being irate about having to jump up a level to a different product this year but I think it’s still worth the money — less than $70 — because of the ability to do investments so easily and to import info from banks, etc. I don’t understand about having to pay by the number of forms you have — how many did you end up with and did you have that many when doing it yourself? I guess they have to find some way to make their money…

  4. Hi Secondhalf, I dropped by after you like something on my site. I read your tax tale. Well that’s a lesson learned, I guess. Makes me think we pay our accountant too much, too. Sometimes they make mistakes that my hubby catches. And our taxes keep getting simpler, but the fee never gets smaller.

    1. If you read my next day’s post you will see I called the main office. They said I got ripped off and are helping me fix it. I am filing an amendment and also a case number against this particular branch! I wasn’t about to take this laying down. Something was fishy. You shouldn’t pay more than $150! I know someone with a large estate and that’s what they pay their accountant!

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