For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: April 24, 2003

Attorney General Wasden Joins Agreement With H&R Block Services, Inc.

(Boise) - H & R Block Services, Inc. will reimburse Idaho consumers who paid for the tax-preparation company's "Peace of Mind" guarantee but may not have wanted to purchase the optional service, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today.

A multi-state agreement concerns the company's guarantee to pay up to $5,000 of any additional income tax owed due to a preparer's error. The attorneys general of 41 states and the corporation counsel of the District of Columbia joined in the agreement with H&R Block.

"This settlement will provide restitution to customers who were charged for the Peace of Mind guarantee but who do not believe they were adequately informed of their choice," Attorney General Wasden said. "The agreement will prevent this problem from arising in the future, as well."

The attorneys general said Block charged an additional $22 for each consumer tax return prepared without first obtaining the consumer's affirmative acceptance. Block denies that it violated any consumer protection statute and maintains that it did not deprive its customers of the choice.

H&R Block will establish a $1 million fund to pay refunds to eligible consumers who had a tax return prepared at an H&R Block office in tax season 2001. To be eligible, consumers must:

  • Have had a tax return prepared in the 2001 tax season,

  • Have been charged for the guarantee as an additional component,

  • Have never utilized the guarantee, and

  • Believe they were never informed that the guarantee was added for a fee to their tax preparation service.

Eligible consumers must make a request for reimbursement. Requests may be made by calling, toll free, (866) 522-7083 or through a website established by H&R Block. A link to the website is available on Attorney General Wasden's website.  To reach the link, click here.

Consumers must request a refund by August 22, 2003.

H&R Block also agreed to seek a consumer's affirmative agreement before charging for the guarantee in the future. Additionally, the company may not make a representation that it "recommends" purchasing the guarantee until the customer has been provided the material terms and conditions of the guarantee.

H&R Block further agreed to reimburse the states for the cost of bringing the action.

- End -

NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.

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