One of the most heavily-advertised tax repair services in the nation, TaxMasters, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Associated Press reports. The agency is also facing a trial after having being accused of misleading customers. According to KHOU-TV Houston, the agency is being sued because the advertisements claimed that people could call the agency to consult with a tax specialist but that those customers were, instead, routed to salespeople who had no particular tax expertise. This is not the first time that one of these businesses has landed itself in hot water over the claims it makes to customers.
Lawsuits and Charges
Another well-known tax expert, “Tax Lady” Roni Deutch, was sued in 2010. California’s then Attorney General filed the lawsuit, which claimed that her firm made claims that they couldn’t back up as far as getting settlements from the IRS was concerned. She has since filed for bankruptcy and given up her license to practice law, according to Forbes.
Another firm that ended up facing similar problem was JK Harris & Co.. Again, they were sued by customers who felt that they had been deceived by the claims of the company, as well as by the states in which they operated.
Expertise Is a Product
When someone makes a claim that they have some sort of expertise and charges you for that expertise, they do have some responsibilities. The people who sued JK Harris & Co., because the company was liquidated, are unlikely to get any money for their judgments. If someone does sell you their expertise, however, and it turns out that they have made deceptive claims, they are liable.
Understanding Defective Advertising
Whenever someone is marketing a product, they have a responsibility to make sure that the product’s marketing is accurate. This applies to expertise, as well. For example, if someone was marketing that they could get you relieved of any and all tax liability that you owe to the IRS-a patently false claim, since it’s a case-by-case situation-they would open themselves up to being sued for advertising in a defective way. Remember that the advertising you read does have to give an accurate picture of the product that it is describing.
Contacting a Lawyer
If you believe that you have been deceived by someone who offered you a professional service, you may want to consider contacting a product liability lawyer.
A product liability lawyer will want to meet with you to get an idea of the basic nature of your claim. There’s no guarantee that you have a lawsuit that’s worth pursuing and, of course, there’s no guarantee that filing a lawsuit will result in a win. What an attorney can do is give you an idea of whether or not it’s worth your while to pursue the lawsuit and, if so, how best to proceed with the matter. Some services out there do make efforts to deceive their customers, but this has to be established to a jury before you can receive compensation.