Local woman says she was 'ripped off' after filing for refund anticipation loan

She said she did not find out until after she filed that she did not even qualify. She said the tax preparer didn't even mention that was a possibility.


“Ripped off, taken, scammed,” said Ashley Everman, about how she felt after trying to get a rapid anticipation loan, which she thought would provide her with $1,500 within 24 hours of filing her taxes.

She said she did not find out until after she filed that she did not even qualify.  She said the tax preparer didn’t even mention that was a possibility.

She said the representative at Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service told her she would get her money in seven to 13 days. However, 15 days later, her federal refund did not arrived.

“I would have just filed myself and saved myself $400 if I had known it was just going to take the same amount of time,” said Everman.

It is out of their hands, said Delores Mundy, an office manager with Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

She said a recent IRS computer programming issue might be to blame.

“Her return could be in that glitch and if it is in that glitch, we have no idea how long it is going to take her to get that money but it is an IRS glitch, not a Jackson Hewitt glitch,” said Mundy.

According to IRS.gov, even with the glitch, they expect the majority of refunds to be issued in 10 to 21 days.

Here is their full statement regarding the issue, from the website:

“We are aware that some taxpayers who have filed electronically and received an acknowledgement from the IRS are concerned when they visit "Where's My Refund" and are told that we have no information regarding their return. This is a temporary situation, and we expect to resolve the matter in a few days. At that time, taxpayers will be able to get an expected refund date when they visit ‘Where's My Refund.’

“If a taxpayer received an acknowledgment message that their e-filed tax return has been received, they can be assured that the IRS has the tax return even though "Where's My Refund" does not reflect that. Taxpayers should not call the IRS unless specifically directed by "Where's My Refund," as there is no new information to give them.

“We expect the vast majority of tax refunds to continue to be issued within the historical range of 10 to 21 days. The IRS is taking steps to update information so that Where's My Refund has current information. The IRS apologizes for any inconvenience and will provide updated information as soon as possible.”

Still, Bill Thomas, the president and CEO of Central Indiana’s Better Business Bureau said even when they go through properly, refund anticipation loans don't benefit the consumer.
“It’s  short-term, it's high interest, there are going to be other fees involved, you're going to end up paying a lot of money, just to get your refund, your money a few days in advance,” said Thomas.

He compared the program to payday loan services and check cashing businesses, preying on people who are already dealing with financial hardship.

“It’s just really not a good product, we don't recommend that consumers do this,” Thomas said.

Even Mundy warns that you need to read the fine print.

“Compare the timelines and their situations if they really want that loan, because they're paying an extra $61.22 on top of the regular fees just to get a loan,” said Mundy.

However, Everman said nobody from Jackson Hewitt was that upfront with her or even mentioned that a credit check was involved in the deal. 

“I think we should get our $415 back,” said Everman. “I think they need to be more open with people and tell people what is going on in the beginning, and not just scam people.”

Mundy contends they've done their part by filing, and now, can't control when Everman gets her money.

Thomas said the FDIC has made some deals with banks to phase the "refund anticipation loan program" out and it is expected that this will be the last year they're allowed at all. However, he said it is likely something similar will be created for next tax season, so consumers need to be aware.

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