I was looking for help with my back taxes. I started searching the internet and compiled a list of tax firms I wanted to check out. One of the first that I called was Tax Defense Network. I really liked the way they handled themselves over the phone and took a lot of notes on their company. After we concluded the call, the tax specialist they put me on with told me to check out the competition, of which he sent me links to many of his competitors. He told me that I should do my due diligence and really check out the firms out there, and see how treacherous many of these firms are.
That's when I really started my search. Ironically, the salesman didn't realize that I cover all bases, and would look into his company a bit deeper also. My first stop was to review their Better Business Bureau rating, which they spoke so fondly of in our extensive phone calls. They claim an "A+" rating, which they stated no one else in the industry had. Well, I can tell you two lies right there – They are "A" rated, not "A+"
and there are, in fact, other "A" rated tax firms out there. First off, why lie about the "+"? As if an "A" is bad in anything. That made want to look a little more into their company.
I then looked up their company with the department of state in Florida, as they were a Florida state company. Tax Defense Network started as a debt settlement company in Jacksonville, Florida. If you look up their officers, Joseph and Franklin Valinho, in Google you will find lawsuits they were charged with as a debt settlement company. Attorney General Charlie Crist attacked them personally for taking advantage of their customers, who received no debt relief whatsoever. The settlement was somewhere in the region of $250,000 and was reached in 2006. I immediately got a bad taste in my mouth, but the search continued.
I then come to find out that their "A" rating BBB file started in 2007, meaning their current rating doesn't reflect this little transgression Tax Defense committed against their customers in years prior. Also, the BBB file doesn't even show the Valinhos as officers of the company, while the record stands with the state of Florida that they are. More lies. Lastly, and most disturbingly, is that they use this rating for separate websites that seem to be different companies but are really Tax Defense Network with a different face (i.e. www.irs-tax-settlement-hq.com). At first I thought they just bought a different domain and linked it to their main site, but it seems that these are meant to look and seem different, even though it leads you to the same corrupt people.
The moral of the story – DO YOUR RESEARCH! These guys aren't who they say they are. I am still searching for help with the irs, so if anyone has worked with someone or a firm that isn't completely full of it, please get back to me with a referral. I am in dire need, but don't want to just give my money away to any liars or crooks.
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