23 January 2015

Sheer Gall

Imagine your have a business selling a product that consumers purchase every year because it's the goto standard for years and years. Would you quietly change it by taking away features forcing paying customers into a higher cost version?  And then tell them we did it to improve your experience.

That's what Intuit did with TurboTax(tm). Some IRS forms supported at the basic and deluxe levels are no longer supported, pushing users to more expensive products. Worse, they didn't make it clear up front.    Hold onto your socks Intuit, your arrogance not only pegged the  "how to alienate loyal customers" meter, you bent the needle around the peg!

I have used the deluxe version for the past 15-20 years because a portion of the DayJob(tm) compensation is in the form of company stock. This is an incentive to employees to do everything possible to see that the company does well, but adds an extra step at tax time. The benefit easily pays for the extra paperwork.  Trading stocks means filing a schedule D. The deluxe version has handled schedule D for as long as I've needed.  But no more. Intuit removed schedule C, D, E and F from the deluxe version so users needing any of those forms now have to upgrade to the Premier version (+$30).

The Amazon reviews have been scathing.  Wish I'd read them before purchasing.

Intuit released a "we screwed up" letter (excerpt):
We messed up. We made a change this year to TurboTax desktop software and we didn't do enough to communicate this change to you as proactively and broadly as we could or should have. I am very sorry for the anger and frustration we may have caused you.
They don't even come close to understanding the breach of trust.   And the VP responses "We did it to improve your experience" exude that "I'm sorry if you were offended" non-apology apology.

To atone for their "mess up", they offer a $25 rebate for users that purchased the deluxe version last year and had to upgrade this year.  Hmmmm...  a promised $25 rebate towards a $30 upgrade I didn't need last year is not even remotely a fair deal. For one thing, it builds the price increase into next year's product, not to mention the whole "bird in the hand" thing.  You could have just fixed the Deluxe version, but no.

I'm going to avoid the rush and switch now.  Intuit, you've seen you're last nickle from me. buh-bye!

The trust broken is enormous.  TurboTax served my needs for nearly a score and now they change support under the table.  That's dishonest,  low.  I have a long memory.  And lots of friends.   And if I tell 10 friends, and they tell 10 friends, and they tell 10 friends....  And a blog...

So I'm out.  Nice job Intuit, this is how you lose long time loyal customers.  I predict you are well on your way to becoming a textbook case study in how to destroy a business.  Sure glad I don't have any shares of Intuit.

I spent the better part of an hour on the phone tonight explaining why they have lost a customer.  All they would offer me was to sign me up for the $25 rebate.  Tonight I'd have settled for a free upgrade to Premier and a free version next year.  Since then, we were able to return our CD and I've uninstalled the product.  TurboTax won't be filing my return this year, Or ever,  Again.  AMF/
She, of Intuit customer support,  said she'd have to escalate to a manager level to do any better so sure, do it.   I don't know what it will take to repair the trust now, But the price just went up.  A couple years Premier level won't cut it anymore. I am gone!

Bottom line:  Caveat Emptor, Baby!   If you are a TurboTax user, read the fine print before you buy this year so you understand exactly what you are getting and understand what you are buying.

FTC disclaimer.  Does anyone in their right mind really believe Intuit would pay for a "review" like this.  I haven't yet chosen nor recommended a replacement program but early research shows TaxAct has a "free for everyone" option.  This should be the default, provided by the IRS,  It's to their benefit!  So I'll look closely there.  But I'll look at the HRBlock version as well.

Update 25Jan2015:  There are a lot of bad reviews for TaxAct.  Only thing worse than not filing a return for a customer is not filing that return but telling them that it was filed!

OldNFO reports good experiences with HR Block so we'll give it a try.  Also it's on sale at WallyWorld this week:

List price from HR Block is $44.95.

Update 2 25Jan2015  Block is not off to a good start.  The program crashes when importing my 2013 return.  After waiting ~2.5 hours for tech support tech all he could offer was "It's a known problem with no workaround and no ETA for a fix"  :-(


Old NFO said...

I've used H&R BLock for years. No problems noted. And yeah, Intuit DIDN'T... intuit that is...

Merle said...

Thanks for the heads up!


Dirk said...

Been using H&R Block for 20+ years, never had a problem. I'm not too surprised it's having problems importing a return from a previous year from a different company, though. It'd be a good thing if they'd get off their asses and fix it, since it's likely they'll be getting some extra customers from Intuits debacle.