Refund Regrets: Online bank freezes taxpaying customers’ prepaid debit cards

(WSVN) - Everyone wants to get their tax refunds as soon as possible, but one South Florida couple learned the hard way that the fastest way isn’t always the best way. 7’s Brian Entin reports on their “Refund Regrets.”

Living in a hotel is frustrating for Dylan.

Dylan Goforth: “I’m just ready to go off the wall.”

He and his girlfriend Jessica moved here from Tennessee. They’re living in a tiny room while they save money to pay for an apartment.

Dylan was counting on his tax refund for that money.

Dylan Goforth: “I’m stuck in this room. I can’t even get out of it and get my own freaking place, because I have to pay so much for this room weekly.”

Dylan expected to get $3,900. He chose to have his tax refund placed on Jessica’s Green Dot prepaid debit card because he thought he’d get the money faster.

They did the same thing last year with no problem.

Jessica Redmon: “They loaded the money onto the card over a week ago, but as soon as they loaded the money on there, they blocked the card where I couldn’t even get on my app on my phone.”

Green Dot is an online bank that advertises on its website: “Why wait so long for your tax refund?” “Direct depositing your tax refund to your account is easy.”

But people across the country say it was anything but easy getting their money.

Amber Delmot lives in Detroit. She says Green Dot never notified her there was a problem with her refund.

Amber Delmot: “We went to go to the store yesterday, and my card [was] declined, and when we called my Green Dot card it said my card had been locked out.”

In fact, dozens of customers have posted on www.ConsumerAffairs.com, saying their accounts were frozen by Green Dot until they could verify their identities.

Dylan and Jessica were asked to verify their identities and submit a copy of their tax returns.

Jessica Redmon: “I’ve sent loads of emails, and it’s the same emails.”

A week later, they still couldn’t access their money. That’s when 7News sent an email to Green Dot … and the problem was fixed.

Jessica Redmon: “Two days after you guys were here, they were available. We had our money in our hand.”

In our emails, we asked Green Dot to address the tax refund problems across the country. They said they would e-mail us a statement. We never received it.

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