TurboTax denies low-income customers were cheated out of free tax prep — reps tell customers it’s ‘fake news’

It’s one of the most charged phrases in American culture at the moment, and now a tax prep giant is using it to fend off accusations that it cheated customers.

Customer service representatives for Intuit’s INTU, +1.18%  TurboTax have been telling angry customers that an investigation by the nonprofit news website ProPublica is “fake news.” ProPublica has published a series of stories charging that TurboTax misled low-income taxpayers into paying for tax prep when in fact, they were eligible to file their taxes for free.

TurboTax has acknowledged that the company made certain sites easier to find in internet search results and said it would conduct a ‘thorough review’ of its search practices.

One 60-year-old man said he paid TurboTax for tax prep even though he made less than $30,000 in 2018. When he called the company to ask for a refund after reading the ProPublica piece, a customer service manager told him the ProPublica stories were “fake news.”

“She said what I read was fake news and I shouldn’t believe everything I read,” wrote the taxpayer, Steven Mueller, in a note to ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott, who shared it on Twitter TWTR, +2.13% “She was very rude,” Mueller added.

Readers now saying Turbotax/ @Intuit reps are calling ProPublica “Fake News” when they ask for a refund after being charged, even when they should have been able to file for free.

Intuit has not answered multiple Qs from me about refund policy. @IntuitBrad @sasan_goodarzi ? pic.twitter.com/DYPojCHARz

— Justin Elliott (@JustinElliott) April 30, 2019

Mueller confirmed the exchange to MarketWatch and said the experience “infuriated” him. Worse still, he didn’t end up getting a refund, he said.

“The part that most irked me was that she called it ‘fake news,’ because I hate that term,” Mueller

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