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 Feedback Requested: Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) Shops
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MariaPec
Valued Contributor

PA
USA
183 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2009 :  12:18:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I completed one of these on Friday and was approved for the loan. The preparer couldn't tell me immediately if I would be approved, but said if I did not get a call the next day saying that the loan was not approved, then it was.
My concern with this shop is that I had to take my loan on a debit card, or go back to the site to pick up a check - they wouldn't mail it to me or use direct deposit to my bank. Since it was not close by, I took the debit card. So now I have to carry around my refund to use it up, get cash back, etc. I guess if you're used to a debit card it's not a big deal, but it is to me.
The preparer also told me there would be a $20 fee to have my bank take the debit card as a deposit. Has anyone tried that? Is there a fee and will the MSC refund it? I would think not, since it's not required by the shop, but I wish I knew about the debit card thing before I did the shop...

Maria
Silver certified
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CherieN
Valued Contributor

MD
USA
248 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2009 :  12:34:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree that there was a lot not said in the guidelines. All I could do was make assumptions. It has on the CPI that you may choose any disbursement method but doesn't tell you about the options. I was looking confused because I didn't pay any fees yet. Now that I am getting a check, assuming from IRS now, I'm not sure how it is paid. It saved me time this year but not a headache. I may opt to do my own next time.
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PJLaw1
Star Contributor

Nowhereville, NW
USA
370 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2009 :  4:42:26 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I got both loans. A fee for both checks.

Philip
Silver Certified
Shopping Eastern NC
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CherieN
Valued Contributor

MD
USA
248 Posts

Posted - 03/15/2009 :  5:23:53 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I entered my report as in and put in the fees that I knew from the loan. I emailed the help desk yesterday but didn't want to risk my report being rejected from not turning it in on time.
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Cary in Cincy
Star Contributor

Cincinnati, OH
USA
259 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2010 :  12:42:38 PM  Send Cary in Cincy an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have seen them posted for a few years now. Sorry, but I use an accountant for my taxes. The money would be nice, but he has my last few years of filings on record and can easily tell me of any changes. Too much to trust to fly by nite preparers.

Cary
Mystery shopping and Merchandising in Ohio, KY, IN, WV, and More....
Video Certified with Own Camera
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MaryS
Apprentice

Washington, Il
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2011 :  11:34:48 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did one of these last year and was happy with getting the money back quickly, and since I was reimbursed for the fees, I didn't mind. In fact, I would really like to do one again, but I don't know where to find one. The company I did it for last year is not offering a shop to me, although they offered one to my friend. If anyone would like to PM me with the name of a company who is offering them, I would appreciate it.
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2011 :  5:08:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MaryS
If anyone would like to PM me with the name of a company who is offering them, I would appreciate it.


Mary, you are asking fellow shoppers to violate their ICA by revealing who shops who. We can't do that.

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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SheenaC
Member

CT
USA
46 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2011 :  8:56:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just went to pre qual for a tax shop I do every year and this year I was disqualifed for some reason they had some werid prequalfication question that didn't even apply for me. They even have a note stating don't contact them about tax shops. Im so stressed because my taxes are so complicated. Is there any other tax shops going on listed on the daily check list? besides the one that requires a cpi.

Sheena
Shopping CT
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JenGA
Valued Contributor

Kingsburg, CA
USA
157 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2011 :  09:25:13 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sheena, I was disqualified too-I think we may just bite the bullet and go through HR Block instead of hunting for a tax shop. We've been pleased w/ how they have handled our complicated taxes.

Jen
Mystery Shopping in the Central Valley of CA since 2005
Silver Certified since December 2008
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JenGA
Valued Contributor

Kingsburg, CA
USA
157 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2011 :  09:29:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sheena, I was disqualified too-I think we may just bite the bullet and go through HR Block instead of hunting for a tax shop. We've been pleased w/ how they have handled our complicated taxes.

Jen
Mystery Shopping in the Central Valley of CA since 2005
Silver Certified since December 2008
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Mike Krieger
Star Contributor

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2011 :  10:50:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Another thing to consider is just buy Turbo Tax on Amazon. It costs $70 for Home and Business (which is the proper edition for self employed contractor), which is less than the price it takes to do 1 tax return at any tax place that I know of. You can do 5 tax filings for $70 (5 federal and 5 state filings). The process is pretty much self explanatory to file taxes on Amazon and it transfers all the info automatically to the state return. You efile Federal for free and then send State in the mail or efile the state for an extra fee.

Also, the other thing is that I like how I can make sure everything is correct for myself as I go along rather than relying on someone else that its correct.
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
917 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2011 :  11:28:30 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
You can also do them on Turbo Tax's http://turbotax.intuit.com/ website. Several banks have partnerships with them and get you a discounted price. (Bank of America offers a 35% discount, for instance.) The online one doesn't charge until you get to the end, so you can try walking through it to see if you find it looking like your previous ones that someone else did. I do not know if you can still do 5 returns, I only have my own.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Servanne
Star Contributor

Silver Lake, MN
USA
2430 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2011 :  06:51:11 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I got mine assigned this morning. Phew! I was stating to wonder when they would be out! It's been a nice shop for us the past 3-4 years. Our taxes are quite complicated too, and the fee to get them done usually amounts to close to $800. So it's nice to have that as a shop!

Servanne
Merrily shopping my way through the Twin Cities, Western Minnesota and beyond...
MSPA Gold Certified since April 2007!
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SheenaC
Member

CT
USA
46 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2011 :  07:41:28 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm glad you got one servanne. I don't understand why they are asking some prequal questions that don't apply to me but expect me to answer. Its like taking a blind shot. I just hope another company comes out with some.

Sheena
Shopping CT
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KimberlyNWest
Valued Contributor

Louisville, KY
USA
145 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2011 :  09:34:05 AM  Visit KimberlyNWest's Homepage  Send KimberlyNWest an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Mary,

We conduct the RAL mystery shops. You may apply to work with us at our website:
http://www.measurecp.net

Thank you

Kimberly Nasief
Measure Consumer Perspectives
http://www.measurecp.com
FB: http://measurecp.net/6V
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SheenaC
Member

CT
USA
46 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2011 :  11:52:57 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KimberlyNWest

Mary,

We conduct the RAL mystery shops. You may apply to work with us at our website:
http://www.measurecp.net

Thank you



Kimberly,
Do you know if Tax returns can be done in a different state you live in? I see shops for the two states next to me.

Sheena
Shopping CT
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6556 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2011 :  2:53:08 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks for letting us know Kimberly, I have been sending some people your way.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Raymond E
Valued Contributor

Gilbert, AZ
USA
159 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2011 :  09:35:54 AM  Visit Raymond E's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SheenaC

I'm glad you got one servanne. I don't understand why they are asking some prequal questions that don't apply to me but expect me to answer. Its like taking a blind shot. I just hope another company comes out with some.



Sheena, I'm assuming that you are talking about the same MSC that i'm thinking of. You just have to answer the pre-qualification questions in the way you know that the MSC wants to har them. For instance there was a question that asked something like "will your spouse be available to jointly file with you."

Now obviously I am not married so technically the question does not apply to me. But if I had answered no the system would have disqualified me. So you just have to think through the question and answer the way it wants you to.

Could anyone give their experience with doing a RAL shop for the two portal MSC. I'm just afraid of having the shop rejected for some reason. I can do my taxes for almost free through Turbo Tax. But making an extra chunk of change and having someone else do it sounds wonderful.

Raymond
MPSA Silver Certified
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Joyce in Maine
Valued Contributor

Maine
USA
123 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2011 :  6:08:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond E

quote:
Originally posted by SheenaC

I'm glad you got one servanne. I don't understand why they are asking some prequal questions that don't apply to me but expect me to answer. Its like taking a blind shot. I just hope another company comes out with some.



Sheena, I'm assuming that you are talking about the same MSC that i'm thinking of. You just have to answer the pre-qualification questions in the way you know that the MSC wants to har them. For instance there was a question that asked something like "will your spouse be available to jointly file with you."

Now obviously I am not married so technically the question does not apply to me. But if I had answered no the system would have disqualified me. So you just have to think through the question and answer the way it wants you to.

Could anyone give their experience with doing a RAL shop for the two portal MSC. I'm just afraid of having the shop rejected for some reason. I can do my taxes for almost free through Turbo Tax. But making an extra chunk of change and having someone else do it sounds wonderful.




Raymond-- I did one two years ago with that company. I usually do my own taxes on turbo tax -- but thought I would try the shop. I had everything typed up and organized before I went -- so the tax guy just entered everything --- we had to do the apply for loan --- I think our tax fees including the loan fees were about $300 - $400. Well they called me a few days later and said we didn't get approved for the loan -- I just about passed out ---because our credit score is near 800. There are some wierd indicators on the loan thing -- if you itemize and I think it was because we had mortgage insurance deductions --- or some wierd reason we didn't get approved. So I called the scheduler right away -- thinking I was out the $300 in fees -- but she was extremely nice and said the shop would still go thru -- she said she had a lot of people that were turned down for the loan. We picked up our refund check about 3 weeks later and we were paid in full for all the fees and the shop.

I qualify this year for the shop --- but I am just going to go ahead and do it myself on TaxAct.


Joyce
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Ms.Baker
Valued Contributor

Evansville, IN
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2011 :  7:49:03 PM  Visit Ms.Baker's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hello all,

With no debt indicator coming from the IRS concerning these loans, many clients are a big risk. Why loan money to someone if there is the possibility that they have a debt with the federal government that will take all or most of their refund? As single male (or female) may owe back child support. A recent student may be in arrears with a student loan.

The approval rate at most locations is about 20%.

My question is... what mystery shopper qualifies for any of these shops. The ones I reviewed said you could not be self-employed. Aren't all mystery shoppers self-employed?

Shopping the Tri-State area
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