H&R Block's Refund Anticipation Loan Card Eats Your Refund

Poor Sam didn’t take our advice. He let H&R Block do his taxes and then took out a refund anticipation loan. The money, which was deposited on an H&R Block Emerald Card, is now tied up by several inexplicable holds for transactions he didn’t make. The companies supposedly holding the funds have no clue who Sam is, or why they’d be holding his money. H&R Block’s only response is to charge Sam $2 whenever he calls their customer service line for help.

Sam writes:

Please help me! I made the mistake of having my taxes done at H&R Block this year, and further made the even bigger mistake of getting a Refund Anticipation Loan on their Emerald Card.

The woman who did my taxes initially made several mistakes on my taxes, including my home address. Somehow H&R Block has, after repeated phone calls, been unable to even change my address to the correct one.

Currently, most of the money I have left on my “Emerald Card” is being held in my pending transactions. This is mostly for purchases that were denied – due to lack of funds – because I was unaware they were holding large sums of money for a company I have NEVER made a purchase from!!! Upon contacting H&R Block, they tell me I must contact the companies who are supposedly holding the money. Unfortunately, none of these companies – there are four – were able to help me. Why? They aren’t holding anything!

Calling the 866 number provided on the back of the card proves useless. I have been hung up on (and still charged two dollars PER CALL) three times; I have been told that the customer rep in one case “didn’t know what the problem was” and asked me to call back in an hour. One gentleman was actually able to help me and reverse about forty dollars worth of charges. Another lady later explained to me that he was able to do this because they were “duplicate charges”. Which does not in any way explain why:

  • 1. one of the charges he reversed was in fact the only charge from the company anywhere on my statement. and
  • 2. why three exactly identical charges from another company entirely cannot be reversed.

She claimed that company was holding the money. This is in fact one of the companies that has said they cannot do anything because they are not withholding anything.

At this point, I am frustrated and angry and ready to just walk away from my money. H&R Block has completely failed me at every opportunity with their customer service.

A hint of irony in all of this – my roommate also has an H&R Block Emerald Card. She went to a different location then I did to have her taxes done originally… and she has had no problems whatsoever with her card. None. Even though she has shopped at all the same retailers I have.

Yeesh, there’s no easy way to clear up this mess. The mystery hold may eventually dissolve, but unless H&R Block is willing to act, there’s really very little you can do.

This is one of the many reasons we call refund anticipation loans the worst tax product ever. Stay away from them!