My mother was facing a large tax burden and we needed legal advice and tax preparation. The IRS wanted a tax return and payment within two weeks, so we contacted JK Harris (after watching a TV commercial). We were set up with an appointment in their Richmond office (700 E Main, Suite 1633) with an attorney named Bill Iobst in August 2004.
He indicated that the fee for their services was $750.00 for the legal advice and $250.00 for the tax preparation and imprinted my debit card on a carbon form by running a pen across it. He said an attorney would be assigned and he gave us some papers to review that evening, and promised that the card would not be processed until I called him back to indicate my approval.
When I got home and reviewed the papers, they were for financial planning services when what we needed was legal advice and tax preparation.
I called him back and he told me they did not provide the services I need (although their TV ads indicate that that is exactly what they do) and that it would take quite some time to get the taxes done (way beyond the IRS deadline). He gave me a number to call for a refund. They requested that I fax a statement indicating that I did not require the financial and tax services, which I did.
The next day, I contacted a real attorney; got the advice I needed, and got the taxes done two days later by an accounting firm.
In October, two months after our original contact, a woman from JK Harris called saying she was ready to do my mother's taxes. I let her know that they had already been done by a different firm, and that I was supposed to get a refund. She said that she checked the record, and that I was correct about the refund and that it would be taken care of.
In November, three months after I was supposed to receive my refund (and I have been out of work for fourteen months, so I really need it), I began my calling marathon starting from their 800 number and lasting five hours.
In total, I talked to twelve different people on nine different phone numbers without ever getting through to anyone that could help. Five additional numbers I was given were invalid. The only suggestion one of them had was to refax my request for a refund, which I did.
I then called Mr. Iobst back (the one who took my money in the first place), and he promised to contact the home office that afternoon to check on the refund. I heard nothing, so I called the corporate office again in December but only got a voice machine. I left my number but never got a call back.
I then called Bill Iobst again and he promised to contact the main office and have them call me. I have not heard from anyone and it is now January and I cannot make my house payment. I did a web search and found a huge number of problems and complaints indicating that the company is a complete fraud; a scam.
How should I proceed?