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Jackson Hewitt Sues H&R Block over Ads

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Jackson Hewitt Sues H&R Block over Ads
Parsippany, N.J. (January 31, 2011)
By Michael Cohn
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service filed a lawsuit Monday against H&R Block claiming that Block is disseminating “false, misleading and highly disparaging advertising claims about Jackson Hewitt.”

The lawsuit, filed in New York Federal Court, seeking emergency injunctive relief to stop H&R Block from further disseminating the advertising claims about Jackson Hewitt in Block’s nationwide ‘Second Look’ marketing campaign.

The complaint states that H&R Block has been making claims that are material to taxpayers’ decisions regarding which paid tax preparation service to use. It further states that H&R Block is deceiving consumers, diverting business away from Jackson Hewitt and disparaging its reputation and goodwill in the marketplace. In the Second Look marketing campaign, Block offers to take a second look at the tax returns prepared by its rivals and claims that two out of three tax returns prepared by Jackson Hewitt contain errors.

“We are extremely disappointed with H&R Block and feel they are doing a significant disservice to U.S. taxpayers with their false advertising claims that are designed to undermine trust in Jackson Hewitt,” said Jackson Hewitt president and CEO Philip H. Sanford in a statement. “We intend to pursue every avenue available to us to stop their campaign of misinformation. We stand by our commitment to our clients, as well as our franchisees and tax preparers, who exhibit the highest level of professional service in the industry.”

Block said it would defend itself against the lawsuit. “This lawsuit was filed without any requests for substantiation,” said a statement forwarded by spokesman Gene King. “H&R Block stands behind our advertisements and will vigorously defend our claims.”

As first reported in www.accountingtoday.com magazine online.