I contracted a California JK Harris office to file two years of taxes in arrears and the current year's filing, and explicitly told them that I needed their advertised service to intervene with the California State franchise Tax Board and stop the wage garnishments which were precluding me from making my mortgage payment and other responsibilities. I strongly stressed the need for them to at least lower the garnishment if they couldn't stop it. Of course, I was told that "JK Harris" could do that. Well, I was given a set of papers to go home and fill out, then bring them back by the office and drop them off to my "representative," who actually turned out just to be a JK Harris "door-boy".
He quoted $1,300 and asked how much I wanted to put down. I put down $900 and told him I would pay the balance after I reviewed the returns they were supposed to complete. He agreed and took my payment. So the representative proposed a date a month out, stating that "that should be more than enough time." I agreed, presuming they were going to get started immediately and that the month-out date was just a "no later than" target date.
I gave them all my tax data, along with the papers they wanted me to fill out, within two business days. BTW - the papers they want you to fill out basically segregates the tax classes, and having done that, one could easily just do their own taxes from those forms. So, in essence, I basically did their groundwork for them. But again, I stressed the immediate need of reducing or relieving the garnishment, which is why I came to JK Harris in the first place.
One week later I get a phone call message that stated some other person was now my tax preparer and that she would get back with me as soon as my taxes were completed. So far so good.
Then nothing! A whole month went by and I hadn't heard anything from them. Three paychecks also went by and I was still being garnished 40% of my take-home pay. At that point I had already called two other tax agencies who both said that two weeks was the industry norm, but one said they could do it in a week.
At that point it occurred to me that I wasn't going to get anything until they automatically charged my credit card with the outstanding balance. This was in direct contrast to the door-boy's promise that they would "file the taxes as soon as possible" and allow me to review them prior to the last payment being made. So I wrote an e-mail to the door-boy telling him I was "firing him" - literally. I told him he was in breach of contract for failure to perform, I was cancelling the contract due to non-performance, and I wanted a return of the down payment for services not rendered. Note: this was two days prior to the "no later than" target date," the day they were going to charge my credit card for the balance.
Well, the next day I get an e-mail stating expressly that my taxes were completed, and they would be sent to me "once [my] final payment was processed." I was floored! In essence, what this company does, which they don't tell you, is establish a payment plan, and once that last payment is made, they perform their end of the bargain. That's definitely a deceptive business practice. In addition, they did nothing, absolutely nothing, to address the garnishment issue. NOTHING! Come to find out in subsequent correspondence, they weren't going to do anything. That intervention was a whole new deal at a whole new cost! The door-boy knew that but failed to disclose that fact when we discussed resolving my problem in the outset. That was misleading and he knew it!
The next day I notified the door-boy that I needed my tax data back so I could get a reputable Tax Service to prepare and file my returns. I generously offered 3 business days or I would take some form of action. Here it is, two weeks later, and they still have all my files, not to mention my down payment. So, here I have them now obstructing official State and Federal business by failure to return my (and the Government's) property.
The same day I requested my data be returned, I get this e-mail (which you couldn't respond to) which stated that my request for cancellation would be reviewed, and I would be notified within 5 to 7 business days of their decision. NOT! haven't heard anything from them. Also contained in that letter was their policy of reviewing "whether I am entitled to a refund or portion thereof, " which determination would take an additional 30 to 45 days! At this point the fraudulent nature of this company came fully to bear. They were money-mongers with no conscience of their responsibility nor concern for their clients.
I was so disgusted that I did immediately filed a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office. That complaint, according to a very professional letter I received from the AG's Office, was being forwarded to JK Harris to see if the AG's interest would motivate them to come to an amicable solution. NOT! Still haven't heard from them!
So, at this point I have deceptive business practice, fraudulent claims, breach-of-contract for failing to perform within a 'reasonable" time-frame, failure to return payment for which no service was actually rendered, and theft by failing to return my tax data so I could have them prepared and filed elsewhere. Meanwhile, penalties and interest continue to mount, my pay is still being garnished, and I'm out $900 which I so badly need.
I've had some questionable, even dubious business dealings in my 50 years. But I have never seen anything so unethical and, according to my non-legal perspective - illegal in all my dealings.
Lastly, quite a number of state's Attorney General's have sued JK Harris and in fact won a $1.5M lawsuit against it for fraudulent business practices (found out after-the-fact). Obviously JK Harris doesn't seem to care. They haven't changed their ways! Next step must be to close them down!