Customers question tax preparer name

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – What's up with Jackson Hewitt and Teal Tax Services? A few unhappy customers want to know. They claim they were mislead into believing Jackson Hewitt was preparing their taxes, when in fact, it's a different company.

It seems customers are caught in the middle of a feud between a company with a well-known brand and a new one, trying to build clientele. I went to the source for answers.

The sign out front says "Jackson Hewett" but the office isn't Jackson Hewett anymore. In fact three offices on the Southside: Jefferson Davis, Southside Plaza and Hull Street Road have a new owner.

"I thought I was in Jackson Hewitt," said Shanta Jennings. "The tax preparer takes your W2 never mentioning you are at Teal Taxes and continues to do your paperwork with a Jackson Hewett sign outside. They're being deceitful...stealing Jackson Hewitt business to build up their business."

Shanta Jennings' complaint led me to their office.

James Griffin's son says his father sold his franchise to another Jackson Hewitt franchisee. Then a new company, "Teal Tax Services" took over the offices using some of the same staff. In fact, former Jackson Hewitt franchise owner James Griffin is now a consultant for "Teal Tax Services".

"If you look around in the office, you don't see anything that has to do with Jackson Hewitt," he said. "I don't see Teal either though," Diane replied.

It's all rather generic inside, except for the Jackson Hewitt trademark banners and the Teal Tax sign in sheet.

"We're letting the customer know that we are Teal Tax Service and not Jackson Hewitt," said Griffin's son.

They got Teal Tax Services owner, Kelvin Jefferson, on the phone for me. He declined to meet in person but told me, no one is being mislead, customers were notified, and the dispute is over who pays $5,000 per sign at three locations to remove the Jackson Hewitt name.

Teal Taxes says it can't afford to take down the signs. It won't be able to make payroll if it does. Jackson Hewitt has filed a court injunction for a judge to decide.

Diane Walker: "Why should Jackson Hewett take it down?"
James Griffin: "Because they're the ones that want it down."

Teal Tax Services says customers who complained have other issues going on with their tax returns. The owner says he's working with Shanta Jennings and four others, to resolve any differences over service or rapid refund fees.

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