Taxes and the Internet - NOT a good combination

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Joseph DeMartino, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The following is an actual transcript of a customer support “live chat” from the website of a national tax prep firm that participates in the IRS “Free File” program. With pauses between answers, the actual exchange lasted over 90 minutes. This is the complete unedited text, typos and all. Only the agent, customer and company names have been changed:

    Welcome to Tax Prep. Co. online technical support. Please wait while we find a technical support agent to assist you.

    Feel free to minimize this window. When an agent is available the window will pop to the forefront.

    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.
    You have been connected to Tax Prep. Co..

    Tax Prep. Co.: Hello XXXXXX, welcome to Tax Prep. Co.'s Live Technical Support Chat! How can we assist you today?

    CUSTOMER: i finished e-filing my return, but i didn't get a prompt to enter my credit card info after I selected CC to pay my balance owed.

    CUSTOMER: Just checking, since it took me a minute to answer. Are we still connected? Thanks

    Tax Prep. Co.: Yes, Xxxxxx, I am happy to assist you on your concern.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Please hold on while I process your query.

    CUSTOMER: Great, thanks

    Tax Prep. Co.: Thank you for holding.

    CUSTOMER: No problem

    Tax Prep. Co.: I understand that you have already e-filed your return and you need to know what your payment option was, right ?

    CUSTOMER: No, I KNOW what my payment option was - I selected "credit card" But I never got a screen to input my credit card information.

    CUSTOMER: I need to know how to get my payment to the IRS *with* my e-filed tax return so I am not subject to penalties.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Yes, that's it. Please hold on while I give you your resolution on this.

    CUSTOMER: Thank you

    Tax Prep. Co.: Thank you for holding.

    CUSTOMER: OK

    Tax Prep. Co.: If you already have e-filed your return, and your return has been accepted, then your payment will be through paper check, please allow four to six weeks for that check to arrive.

    If you mailed your return, check the status of your return by calling the IRS at 1-800-829- 4477.

    Be sure to have a copy of your return available because you will need to know the first Social Security number shown on the return, the filing status, and the exact whole-dollar amount of your refund. The IRS updates refund information every seven days. If your check was mailed but you didn't receive it, the automated telephone system will allow you to enter a claim for a new check.

    Currently experiencing network delays, one moment please....
    Network connection re-established.

    CUSTOMER: Cut and paste boiler plate from your manual is UNACCEPTABLE. Why did your site fail to prompt me for CC info? How can I enter this info NOW. If you cannot solve my problem, please put me in touch with someone who can. Your website created this problem. Tax Prep. Co. needs to provide a solution.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Okay, please hold on while I check your account on our techsupport system.

    CUSTOMER: Thank you. I just didn't see the point of sending me something that starts "if you mailed your return" when we've already established that I didn't.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Thank you for holding.

    CUSTOMER: OK

    Tax Prep. Co.: A check on your account on our system, showed that you have filed your return using the free file program and therefore your payment is being taken out of your refund via our debit card and will be sent to the IRS by our partner bank.

    Tax Prep. Co.: You may please wait on mail your debit card for your refund.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Is there anything else we can assist you with today?

    CUSTOMER: I'm not GETTING a refund. I owe TAX.

    CUSTOMER: I am not paying a fee to Tax Prep. Co. that could be deducted from a refund. That's why they call it "Free File" Because it's FREE

    CUSTOMER: There is something you can do to help me. Get me someone who can understand my messages and knows something about taxes.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Yes, your tax is being taken out of your refund on your return using the Simple Pay option on our program.

    CUSTOMER: My phone number is 555-555-5555. I expect a phone call from a supervisor within two hours or else a transfer on your system to someone who can assist me.

    CUSTOMER: How can my tax be taken out of my refund? If I'm getting a refund, I don't OWE tax. If I OWE tax, I'm not GETTING a refund. That statement doesn't even make any SENSE.

    Tax Prep. Co.: I apologize for the delay, but once client returns have been e-filed, we do not have any access onyour returns processing specially on the payment. YOU may please call the IRS or call our partner bank XXXX Bank USA directly by calling 1-800-555-5555.

    Tax Prep. Co.: Is there anything else we can assist you with today?

    Tax Prep. Co.: Hello Xxxxxx, are you still there ?

    CUSTOMER: There isn't anyway that I can log in and simply get to a screen where I can enter my credit card info? Does anyone know WHY that screen never appeared? How would calling XXXX Bank help if I NEVER ENTERED MY CREDIT CARD INFORMATION? We're talking in circles and wasting my time. I need to talk to someone who either knows more about taxes or has better reading comprehension skills because you don't seem to understand my messages.

    CUSTOMER: What recourse do I have if the IRS gives me a hard time later because your website failed to let me pay my taxes owed?

    Tax Prep. Co.: I apologize Xxxxxx, but as I have stated earlier, you have filed your return using the Free file program therefore you may please call on the IRS for any information regarding your balance due.

    CUSTOMER: What does the fact that I filed using Free File have to do with the malfunction of your website?

    CUSTOMER: Tax Prep. Co. offers a service. Whether they charge for it or not, they are supposed to provide that service. Failure to do so is not acceptable

    Tax Prep. Co.: Here is the IRS contact number for : Refund/Balance Due: 1-800-829-4477 or you may visit
    Web site: http://www.irs.gov

    Tax Prep. Co.: Is there anything else we can assist you with today?

    CUSTOMER: So Tax Prep. Co.'s final response is that a user of their website who has been inconvenienced by a malfunction of that wesite should spend over an hour going in circles with a customer service rep and in the end be told to call the IRS - who have nothing to do with Tax Prep. Co. or the site? I just want to make sure before I send the transcript of this chat to the newspapers.

    CUSTOMER: Oh. And you are explicitly REFUSING my request to be put in touch with a supervisor, correct?

    Currently experiencing network delays, one moment please....
    Network connection re-established.

    CUSTOMER: BTW, the IRS phone number you gave me offers two choices: Check status of your refund (automated system) and pre-recorded tax tips. So even in passing the buck you haven't managed to provide any useful information.

    Session terminated

    [​IMG]

    Joe
     
  2. Joe D

    Joe D Supporting Actor

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    Man, that would suck.

    I do my taxes on paper. I guess there was actually a good reason why I haven't switched.
     
  3. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    I used to use TeleFile (over the telephone), but that was discontinued, so I file paper now. I refuse to go online and download sketchy applications and deal with bugs and server lags and the myriad of other issues that can arise when the complications of the internet are multiplied by the complications of the tax code.
     
  4. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    care to explain this? anything COULD happen, someone you know have a bad experience? everyone i know does their taxes online, and any problems they have are usually from their own computer.

    CJ
     
  5. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I have e-filed using TaxCut for several years now - no problems, mate! Heck, I don't even know where to find paper tax forms any more, if I wanted to go that route. My Post Office no longer carries them nor does my local library.
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  7. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Yup, I use TaxCut also. Works very well.

    Heck of a chat... it'd be funny if that customer were an IRS person...!
     

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