I've been utilizing H & R Block's services with satisfaction for several years now but I retract the use of the word "satisfaction" due to my recent experience with them this year.
I used the same preparer as I had last year being confident with this person's ability and familiarity with the complexities of my tax filing but was disappointed in that the preparer was unwilling to cover all aspects of my return, attempted to invalidate several valid deductions, omitted deductions even after I'd pointed them with proof of validity which resulted in a substantially lesser return than what I should've received.
Additionally, I was offered an option to receive my tax refund much faster than would be with standard e-filing by use of a Refund Anticipation Loan which H & R Block makes available through HSBC (Household Bank) Tax Payer Services for an additional fee beyond what H & R Block charges for the preparation fees.
I went for the expedited option, received a call from the local HR Block office the following day to tell me that my application for the RAL was denied, had no explanation for why I was denied when I asked but gave me a telephone number to contact HSBC and that H&R Block has no control over the outcome of RAL applications.
I called HSBC, was responded to by an automated system that resulted in no live contact but instead instructed me to visit their website due to security reasons. I ended the call, visited the HSBC TFScustomer website as instructed, had to type in my SSN and DOB..., was then directed to "my account" and found no other information than that I didn't meet their screening requirements and that a letter should be received within 10-15 days.
ELEVEN DAYS LATER, H & R Block calls me to tell me that there's a check waiting for me to pick-up, I picked-up my refund check and noticed in the attached check statement that in addition to $184.00 that I paid for tax preparation fees, HSBC charged $29.95 for a "refund account" fee and an additional $20.00 for a check processing fee. $20 to print a check on cheap paper!!??
This whole set-up is questionable in that the RAL as offered by H&R Block/HSBC in my situation was to cost me just under $67.00 to expedite my tax refund to within a 3-day window as opposed to the standard e-file estimate of 8-15 days. As of today's date I've not received a letter from HSBC explaining why I didn't meet their screening requirements (whatever that means), I was charged fees by HSBC that equaled nearly what the amount would've been if approved for the RAL even though no services were rendered other than sending a check to H & R Block and even though I have an established bank account to where my refund could've been deposited directly, I had to go pick-up my refund check in person.
After voicing my contempt for this overall experience with H&R Block and HSBC, I was given a verbal ditch and dodge routine and told that if they had deposited my refund directly it would've cost me a great deal more in fees.
Before I close this statement I want to also point out that if any person's tax filing is processed by the IRS and it's deemed they're entitled to a refund, there are no liens or otherwise to restrict receipt of the anticipated refund by means of an RAL or otherwise, isn't it suspicious that anyone would be denied such a service and then charged with what appear to be exaggerated fees?