This is the first year John Deer of Naugatuck got his tax refund in the mail as a state-issued debit card instead of a check.
“What I wanted to do was just put the money in my bank,” Deer said.
It seemed simple enough since, after all, the state has touted the debit card program as easy to use. Letters mailed out with the cards encourage taxpayers, in bold print, to activate the card right away through the website ucard.chase.com. But John said he could barely get on the site.
“I kept getting thrown off the site. It kept freezing up and it took me the longest time to activate it, and I wasn't even sure it was activated right,” Deer said. “It wasn't easy, it wasn't simple, when you have to rely on a website that wasn't working, it's very frustrating.”
NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters found out at least a dozen people filed official complaints about the debit card website with the Department of Revenue Services. DRS Deputy Commissioner Joseph Mooney said that’s just a fraction of the 264,000 debit cards that were issued this year. Still, those complaints only account for the folks who came forward.
“I'd say it's a small problem and we don't know exactly what it is,” Mooney admitted.
The state has gone back and forth with Chase Bank, which issues the cards, according to Mooney.
“Really, right now it doesn't seem like it's on the bank's side or at least that's what they're telling us,” Mooney said.
Deer believes no taxpayer should have to deal with the problems he faced trying to get his refund.
“When you are a contractor and people are relying on a service you're the one that has the obligation to make it work,” he said.