• Subscribe to the AG's RSS Feed
  • Join the AG's FaceBook
  • Follow the AG on Twitter
  • View the AG's YouTube Channel

Attorney General Lockyer Announces Settlement with H&R Block That Reforms Company's 'Peace of Mind' Guarantee, Provides Consumer Refunds

Consumers in 2001 Not Adequately Informed Service Optional

Thursday, April 24, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced a multi-state settlement with H&R Block that will strengthen consumer protections in the tax preparation firm's sale of its "Peace of Mind" guarantee, and reimburse customers who were not properly informed they did not have to buy the service to get their returns completed.

"The settlement provides refunds to customers who paid for the Peace of Mind guarantee without being told by H&R Block the service was optional," said Lockyer. "The settlement also ensures that, in the future, H&R Block will properly inform consumers when marketing and selling this product."

The settlement requires H&R Block to provide $1 million to reimburse consumers who paid for the Peace of Mind guarantee during the 2001 tax season without giving their informed consent.

The settlement, called an "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance or Discontinuance," was reached between H&R Block, and 41 states and Washington D.C.

Under the Peace of Mind program, H&R Block guarantees that if one of its preparers errs in completing a return, and the mistake requires the customer to pay more taxes, H&R Block will pay up to $5,000 of any additional amount owed. The attorneys general and Washington D.C. allege that during the 2001 tax season, H&R Block automatically charged a $22 fee for the guarantee without first obtaining consumers' consent to buy the service.

To be eligible for a refund, consumers must have had a tax return prepared by H&R Block in the 2001 tax season, been charged an additional fee for the guarantee, never utilized the guarantee, and believe they were never informed that the guarantee was an optional service.

Consumers must apply for a refund no later than Friday, August 22, 2003. They can request a refund by calling a toll free number H&R Block has established, 866-522-7083 (available in English and Spanish), or by logging onto the H&R Block website created for customer refund requests, http://www.hrblock.com/customer_support/pom.jsp (for English) or http://www.hrblock.com/customer_support/pom_es.jsp (for Spanish).

Information about the refund claims process also is available on the regular H&R Block website, http://www.hrblock.com.

Besides providing $1 million in consumer restitution, the settlement requires H&R Block to enhance consumer protections in the Peace of Mind program. The company must obtain consumers' affirmative consent before charging a fee for the guarantee. Additionally, H&R Block must disclose all terms and conditions of the guarantee before selling it, and cannot recommend that consumers buy the product before disclosing those terms and conditions. H&R Block also must clearly inform consumers that they have a right to cancel the guarantee within seven days from the date of purchase, and obtain a full refund for the fee.

# # #
PDF icon 03-045.pdf135.26 KB
PDF icon 03-045.pdf135.26 KB

Press Office Contacts

Email: agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Phone Number: (415) 703-5837


Megan's Law

California Registered Sex Offender Database

Search Now

Site Navigation

Translate Website

  • Google™ Translation Disclaimer

This Google™ translation feature is provided for informational purposes only.

The Office of the Attorney General is unable to guarantee the accuracy of this translation and is therefore not liable for any inaccurate information resulting from the translation application tool.

Please consult with a translator for accuracy if you are relying on the translation or are using this site for official business.

If you have any questions please contact:Bilingual Services Program at (916) 324-5482

A copy of this disclaimer can also be found on our Disclaimer page.

Select a Language Below / Seleccione el Idioma Abajo

Close this box or use the [ X ]