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Problem Solved: Woman receives 2017 tax refund after lengthy struggle

Posted at 6:39 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 18:42:48-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Barbara Dunlap's 2017 tax refund is finally where it belongs — in her credit union account.

"I fought it for almost... it was over a year and I got nowhere," she said.

Dunlap says it all started in 2018 when she came to a dead-end after filing her taxes. The Grand Rapids resident went through Davenport University's free income tax assistance program. She anticipated she'd receive a $1,000 refund from the state, and the state direct deposited into Huntington Bank. The problem: Dunlap says she doesn't have an account with Huntington Bank.

"I knew I had my right credit union on there and everything. My social security number was right. My name was right," she explained.

It’s not clear where the error occurred, but when Dunlap contacted the State of Michigan treasury department to fix it they sent her a letter stating that Huntington confirmed her name does not match the name on the account where the money was sent. However, no solution was offered.

Dunlap recalled, "I talked to someone at Huntington Bank. They say they see where it's sitting in somebody account, but they're afraid if they do something to them they'll close the account down."

"I also talked to the lady at Davenport college. She said there's nothing she can do," she said.

Not only was that her money, but Dunlap says she was depending on it to survive.

She said, "I had bills, shutoff notices. I don't understand how they would send my money to a bank that I never ever had before."

So she reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.

"For a while I wanted to give up until I reached out to you, and that's what made me keep fighting for it," Dunlap said.

In December, the Problem Solvers called and emailed Huntington Bank and the State of Michigan treasury to explain Dunlap's dilemma. The two entities connected and in a matter of weeks got her the refund she deserves.

"$1,038," Dunlap read the check.

She says she's glad she reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.

"I am so glad because everyone kept telling me to give up, and I was bout to and I thought about it. I say, 'well, Problem Solvers seem to be helping people that feel like they're wrongly did.' So I just reached out to ya," Dunlap explained.

Again, it's not clear where the mistake was made. FOX 17 reached out to Davenport today as well. The bottom line: the money is back where it belongs.