H&R Block Upsells Tax Service, But Won't Downgrade

Tax Cat here with a reminder about using a free service to prepare your taxes. Beware sneaky upsells on “free” tax preparation options for people with simple tax returns. We’ve already seen a Consumerist reader get charged for this unawares with TurboTax, and now reader Shane reports that If you miss an option on H&R Block’s form, you’ll be paying extra for access to your own data.

I was pleased to see that H&R Block was providing a free service this year for people whose tax situations were simple. I selected this option (noting that I would still have to pay a state filing fee), and sat down to prepare my taxes. At the first stage, they attempted to upsell me to the paid services (fair enough), and I said “no thank you” and continued on.

Here’s where it gets dicey. There was a screen offering to import last year’s tax information into my current return. I’ve done my taxes with H&R Block for several years (partially for that convenience), and so I clicked to do so. What I failed to notice, though (it’s not terribly well-designed), was that doing so upgraded my account to one of the paid versions. I’ll admit I could have read a bit more carefully, and that the mistake was mine. Once I realized the mistake, though, I tried to downgrade my account. Apparently there’s no way to do this, and even when I contacted customer service, I was told that my only option was to make a new account, whereby I’d lose several years of tax history (outside of my own records, of course).

All told, it’s only $30 and not the end of the world, but I’m really annoyed that they would slide that in (after I had already declined the upgrade) and provide *no* way to go back to the free version. Do I have any recourse here, other than trying other tax prep services?

You could try applying the tools in the The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back to H&R Block and see if they budge. However, if you already have your own paper and/or electronic copies of your historical tax information, you may be best served just taking your business to another tax prep service.

How To File Your Taxes For Free
TurboTax Charged Me $30 For An Upgrade I Didn’t Realize I’d Ordered
Important 2010 Tax Dates