Tax refund transaction fees surprise Red Deer woman

A Red Deer woman wasn’t expecting transaction fees to retrieve her small federal tax refund.

A Red Deer woman wasn’t expecting transaction fees to retrieve her small federal tax refund.

Patti Bildfell recently took her annual taxes to Bower Place Shopping Centre’s H&R Block location and was told about a debit card program. Bildfell thought it was a new way to retrieve her money, instead of the cheques she was used to receiving.

“I thought I had no choice in the matter.”

She was given something quick to sign since there was a lineup behind her.

The H&R Block employee did explain that retrieving her refund with the debit card would result in transaction fees.

“I went home and thought, wait a minute, this isn’t right . . . this is my money.”

Cleo Hamel, a senior tax analyst with H&R Block out of Calgary, said the cash-back system has been around for a few years and it’s certified through the Canada Revenue Agency.

She said money orders are still available.

“Unless there is a problem with our money order machine, or if there’s a problem with our debit card machine, then on a particular day maybe someone only has one option,” Hamel said.

Hamel said details on transaction fees are provided to clients before they walk out the door.

The debit card is popular among those who don’t have a bank account.

“We’ve had some situations where the banks are putting holds on the money orders,” Hamel added.

Hamel urged the complainant to contact H&R Block to see what can be done. Bildfell spoke with the district manager who said H&R Block would refund any transaction fee and balance of the debit card, once she has used the card at a business.

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