So we regularly do our taxes with H&R Block’s Online “At Home” program. Depending on our situation we’ve used everything from H&R Block At Home Basic, to Deluxe, to Premium. Their system is comprehensive, convenient and a seamless operation – when it works right.
This year (for 2011 taxes) started with us forgetting our password. I was pretty sure I knew our login but I mean, you use the H&R Block web site maybe twice a year? More like once actually. At tax time. So I could not remember what the password was. After 3 attempts it locked me out and said I had to wait 20 minutes. So I went through the reset password process. It emailed me a password reset link after verifying my social security number, birthdate, and zip code. I clicked the link and entered a new password. It brought me to the login screen, I was like SWEET!
When I attempted to login it said I was locked out due to too many password attempts and I had to wait (another new) 20 minutes! So I guess it started a new 20 minute window with this new login attempt. I found the phone number (after much weaving through the web site) for customer service and called. They closed at 9pm Central. IN THE MIDDLE OF TAX SEASON LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY FROM THE DEADLINE!?!?
I hung up. I was frustrated and honestly thought okay I’ve used H&R Block Taxcut/At Home for decades. But if this is the way they’re going to treat customers maybe I should try Turbo Tax or some of the various others out there. I forced myself to think calmly.
After some more paging through the hrblock.com site I found a technical support online chat. It said they couldn’t help with tax concerns but they could assist with issues related to the hrblock.com services themselves. I got a representative and explained the holding pattern I was in, and my level of upset at this point. She said due to security you HAVE to wait 20 minutes and not even a representative could override that. I asked for a supervisor and said I could verify all my info in the account, and repeated that hello – I reset the password successfully so obviously I know who I am in relation to the account. A supervisor came into the chat room and repeated verbatim that security required a 20 minute cooling off period. Supervisors don’t even have access to unlock an account. I once again expressed my utter disgust at this silly policy and at this point realized it was just about the 20 minute mark.
I asked the supervisor to provide some compensation for the inconvenience. I always do. I mean I’ve been using and referring others to H&R Block since the late ’90s. A coupon, a % off, a “key code” which is H&R Block’s terminology for a gift certificate. Anything. At first the supervisor said they don’t do that type of thing. I said listen you clearly have a dumb policy in place which shows clients that you a) don’t have any control over anything even though you’re a supervisor b) can’t use common sense and simple verification methods to unlock a wrongly locked account during prime tax season. I said my providing feedback on this alone was worth something to retain me as a customer. She hesitantly gave me a $10 key code to use against the costs of my taxes once I was finally able to login.