Refund Issue-Client seeks full reimbursement for services rendered.
The Foundation Group gave false advertisement regarding the details of what they could do for my organization. I was misinformed regarding the do's and don't of what they could, and could not do after obtaining services from them and making full payment of service. I began to obtain feedback from TFG advising me that they could not do certain things concerning my services and that I would have to do the leg work myself. After several attempts to resolve this issue with them the service still has not been completed. I spoke with Shannon, which is one of the representatives at TFG and I was told she would cancel my contract with them and I would only receive a partial payment of reimbursement of services that were never completed. I am requesting a full reimbursement of payments that were not even started. This includes my state franchise tax in the amount of $250.00 and my 990 form which is in the amount of $900.00.
Full refund of the $250 + $900.
Thank you for opportunity to respond to this complaint. Our team has truly pulled out the stops to work with Mr. *****, but to no avail. With regard to his actual complaint, it is not at all representative of the facts of the case. Each and every phone conversation and message board interaction is logged by time, date, team member, and summary of conversation...and there are many of them. They are available to BBB on request.
The client's actual frustration seems to be rooted in the fact that in order to provide professional tax services, we require all clients to provide accurate information and take personal responsibility for following through with counsel. These are matters of legality and require due diligence on the part of the client and Foundation Group. This was fully explained to Mr. ***** at the commencement of service, as it is with the thousands of clients we work with each year. We provided him detailed information regarding what data we would have to obtain from him. As the relationship unfolded, it became apparent that Mr. ***** didn't think he should have to provide what we needed and fought every effort on our part to actually serve his needs. In short, the overall view of our experience with the client was of his contempt and anger at us for things that we were out of our legal control and squarely his (and every taxpayers) responsibility.
We contracted with Mr. ***** for two separate services, Corporate Tax Exemption in Texas and IRS Form 990 preparation. We began work on the first service in December 2014 and this was purchased by Mr. ***** when his organization received a fine from the state of Texas. The second service was initiated in early May 2015.
With regard to the first service, it took more than a month for him to provide us complete information about his penalty. We discovered on our own that his organization was also not in good standing with ****** Our ability to work on securing corporate tax exemption was dependent upon Mr. ***** rectifying the underlying forfeiture of his ability to legally operate in ****** While that particular problem is not one we can fix directly, we provided meticulously detailed instructions for Mr. ***** to walk through in February 2015. By July 2015, nothing had been done by Mr. *****, despite repeated efforts on our part to encourage him to get it done. When we finally were able to connect with him by phone, despite the fact that we couldn't legally fix it, he was enraged that he had to do anything. Instead of simply doing it, his interactions with our representatives was to launch angry tirades and accuse us of fraudulently representing our services to him. Nothing could be further from the truth. By August 2015, his inaction resulted in further substantial fines from the State of Texas (of which we warned him), but yet it was somehow "our fault". By last week, it was simply no longer in our interest (or his, for that matter) to continue having fruitless conversations about something he still had to do, but refused to do...for what reason, we still cannot comprehend. He demanded a refund and we offered a full refund of the $250 he paid for the service in an attempt to simply appease him. This, for a service we had already invested untold man-hours of time in research, actual prep work, and frequent conversation (logs available).
The second service was purchased in early May 2015. At that point, our relationship with Mr. ***** was already strained, but had not yet reached the level it finally did. Once engaged with our team for this service, we provided Mr. ***** with the list of information we must legally obtain from all clients in order to prepare federal tax returns. What we received, however, was financial estimates that were not an accurate reflection of his organization's financial activity. When our staff accountant working this case attempted to walk him through what need from him, he responded that they didn't keep financial records or books and that we needed to just figure it out...that's what "he paid us to do". We continued to attempt to work with him on this over the next couple of months, spending multiple hours with his assistant, counseling them through issues of setting up proper bank accounts, accounting systems, and record keeping...something we hadn't even charged him for. Eventually we arrived at the same place as with the first service. The conversations became venting opportunities instead of fruitful interactions. He demanded a refund because "we hadn't done anything for him". It's helpful to point out that most of the interactions with Mr. ***** after May 2015 were about both situations simultaneously.
Our team members truly went above and beyond in attempting to help Mr. *****, always maintaining patience and professionalism, even in the face of abusive conduct. We offered a full refund of service #1 and 50% for service #2, even though there is no refund that should be reasonably expected. Given the hours we've invested in this client, we would be at a substantial loss if we gave them nothing. Regardless, in our attempt to end the relationship respectfully, we offered to refund $700 of the original total of $1,150. This is absolutely non-negotiable and is our final response on this matter.
Thank you again for the opportunity to respond. We hope to put this matter to rest promptly.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
In response to TFG's comments:
Number one, we inquired their services, and were told by the Foundation Group that they would take care of several needs for us including our taxes and setting us up as a 501C-3 organization. This means they had all the pertinent information needed to take care of our needs as a client.
As mentioned we started with The Foundation Group back in 2013 of which they helped set us up as a nonprofit 501C-3 organization, etc.... This was to include The Corporate Tax Exemption for ******
We kept receiving notices from the Texas Comptroller's Office for Texas State Franchise Tax to be filed even after payment for services to TFG to take care of it. Mind you, if we knew how to handle this it most definitely would have been taken care of and very quickly at that. Considering they took care of the 501C-3, this should have been taking care of as they had all the pertinent information to do so. When we called regarding the letter we received, we were told by *** that it was no problem and he assured us they would and could take care of this for us. So we made the payment, but come to find out nothing was done. So, we get another notice in August of 2015 stating that we are in collections and need to pay a good sum of money for ***** Franchise tax. We were then told by TFG that we needed to call and get it straight ourselves, fill out the form(s), and submit a fee of which we paid them to take care of this matter. We were not given meticulously detailed instructions at all. Since we severed ties with the Foundation Group we have hired a new CPA. This firm is doing all of this for us without the use of a "POA" mind you. What actually was uncovered was that nothing was done at all for us. Nothing was filed at all for 2013 for us and of course 2014 as well. The new firm is submitting the proper forms, and taking care EVERYTHING to clean up this mess that Foundation Group dropped the ball on. And the information they needed the Foundation Group already had it, which was very very minimal at that. So now we are looking at forms and fees for both 2013 and 2014 in order to get back in good standing w/the TX Comptroller's office for our organization. Also, as mentioned there was a lot of misrepresentation of their services all around. We began to obtain feedback from TFG advising us that they could not do certain things concerning our services and that we would have to do the leg work ourselves. When we did ask questions we were spoken down to with a snooty attitude as if we were incompetent. We pay for a service as a customer to take care of matters that we are not familiar with, we rely on that company to lead and advise us, but we were met with snooty, uppity, and disrespectful attitudes of which is totally unprofessional. Another issue is that we had paid for services since 2013, and all of our paperwork is in the portal on the Foundation Group's website. We were locked out of our record without notice, and no time to download any pertinent documents we needed for our records for our business. This is totally unprofessional as well. In conclusion to this matter we again state we want a full reimbursement of the monies paid and of misrepresentation of services that were not met at all, as well as, access to our paperwork on the customer portal of The Foundation Group.
We stand: Refund Issue-Client seeks full reimbursement for services rendered. We are requesting a full reimbursement of payments that were not even started. This includes the state franchise tax in the amount of $250.00 and the 990 form which is in the amount of $900.00.
Final Business Response
While we are disappointed Mr. ***** does not like our refund offer, we firmly stand by our prior statement.
Our official, documented stance is this:
We did absolutely everything we could legally do for Mr. ***** and his organization in a timely and professional manner. Any limitation in our ability to perform what he wished from us was solely due to state ******* and federal ***** law, plus lack of required action by Mr. *****. Mr. *****'s response stated that a new service provider is now accomplishing what we couldn't. We cannot speak to what has been done by another company, except to say that the new provider cannot legally do more than we did under identical circumstances. If they are, circumstances have changed or new, serious questions are raised.
Tax compliance is an extremely sensitive matter for our clients and we take seriously our responsibility to keep them safe from compliance-related problems. Professional ethics rules require us to follow the law and advocate for our clients' best interest at all times regarding all tax matters. Shortcuts that we know can harm a client are not things we will do, even at the risk of Mr. *****'s consternation and complaint to BBB. We attempted many times over many months to work with him and to help his organization understand why these matters are so important, ultimately to no avail. We think it boils down to Mr. ***** expecting an outcome that didn't have to involve him or his time. That's understandable, but not legally possible.
Respectfully, this is our final statement on the matter. Our original refund offer stands and our accounting department will issue a check to him in the stated amount by Friday, September 18. We consider this matter closed.