Consumers Speak: H&R Block’s Free Offer, Only $5.95

Dan F. writes in with this chat log from H&R Block’s online support system.

Here is the IM exchange I just had with H&R Block after attempting to use the “free” 1040 return service they pitched to me via e-mail. I own to some early crankiness but keep in mind their “fast” online response had kept me waiting a lot longer than it would have taken to do my taxes the old fashioned way:

Welcome to H&R Block online technical support. Please wait while we find a technical support agent to assist you.

All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.

If you think that’s bad, wait until you see what’s after the jump.

An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.
The next available Agent will be with you in a moment.
All agents are currently busy. Please stand by.
An agent will be with you in a moment. Thank you for your patience.

You have been connected to Leonardo G.

DANIEL F: Why are you trying to charge me $5.95 when the words “FREE PREPARATION AND RETURN” have been plastered over every link I’ve followed to get here? Here is what you sent me in your email: “Come back to TaxCut and get FREE federal tax prep with eFile, no qualifications – just use the links in this email!” Then, once I get through the whole process, it tells me I have “selected” to pay $5.95. Why? I never “selected” that. This is dishonest.

Leonardo G: Hello DANIEL, welcome to H & R Block’s Live Technical Support Chat! How can we assist you today?

DANIEL F: See above.

DANIEL F: The word FREE literally appears ten times in your email

Leonardo G: Yes Daniel, and I am currently reviewing it, one moment please?

Leonardo G: Have you been charged already Daniel?

DANIEL F: Nope, I stopped when it asked me how I “wanted” to pay

Leonardo G: Sorry to keep you waiting Daniel.

Leonardo G: I am currently processing the information so please bear with me.

Leonardo G: Daniel did you create a new account with the link that was provided to you?

DANIEL F: No I used the one I used last year

DANIEL F: That’s why you had my email address in the first place

Leonardo G: Thank you for that information.

Leonardo G: Sorry for the confusion, please be informed that in order to avail the promotional program, you have to create a new account with the link that was provided to you.

DANIEL F: OK, Leonardo, why would it send me a promotional offer to an EXISTING ACCOUNT, with my user name highlighted, to get me to sign up for a NEW account? That makes no sense at all. Nowhere does it say that I have to sign up for a new account

DANIEL F: It says, “just use the links in this email” which I did, where it led me to sign into my already existing account.

Leonardo G: I am referring to the link that was sent to you by e-mail Daniel.

DANIEL F: Right, and I am telling you that the promotional offer in the email referred to my existing account. Why else would it say, “Get started now” with a link to my account sign-in?

Leonardo G: Okay I am checking the matter right now, one moment please?

DANIEL F: Sure.

Leonardo G: Thank you for patiently waiting Daniel.

Leonardo G: If you wouldn’t mind Daniel, may I ask for the link that was e-mailed to you? Or if it is possible for you to have that e-mailed posted here?

DANIEL F: The email referred to this link: http://www.hrblock.com/taxes/blahblahblah

Leonardo G: Thank you for that Daniel. I will be looking for the link right now to check about the matter, one moment please?

Leonardo G: Thank you for all the information Daniel.

Leonardo G: Well Daniel the reason why your username is indicated within the e-mail that you received is for verification purposes only.

DANIEL F: Why would it tell me to “login to get started today” instead of telling me to create a new account, Leonardo?

DANIEL F: Why would H&R Block send a promotional offer requiring the setup of a new account to their existing customers?

DANIEL F: Hello?

Leonardo G: Sorry to keep you waiting.

Leonardo G: Inasmuch as I would like to help you with that, I have already exhausted my resources and did not find the correct resolution for that, I do apologize.