This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Turbotax and Intuit Just Lost a Customer

I've been a huge fan of Turbotax for years, including it's maker Intuit. I've always considered Intuit a master at making customer-friendly and usable software, and putting the end-user first. I've used the online Turbotax to file my returns for about the last decade, always happy with the result.

This is why I was especially surprised this year to see what must basically be price-gouging by Intuit. In years past I ran my own business and therefore paid for a much higher priced option. Now that I no longer work for myself I need to use a lower-priced version (the price difference is significant). Turbotax and Intuit give you a way to _upgrade_, but no way to downgrade. In fact, you have to literally delete your account and create a new one (with none of your years of tax return info carried over) in order to choose a lower priced Turbotax option. Here is their official answer in the help section:

"Can I Switch Back to a Lower-Priced TurboTax Online?
Updated: 1/22/2009
Article ID: 2659

Once you've started preparing your tax return with TurboTax Online, you can upgrade your TurboTax Online product to Deluxe, Home & Business or Premier to take advantage of the extra features and tax guidance available in those products. After you've upgraded to one of these versions, your tax information will transfer to the upgraded version automatically. However, to switch back to a lower-priced version, you'll need to start a new return with a different User ID, as there is no option to switchback to the previous version once you have upgraded your product.

Important: If you decide to start over in a new return with a different User ID, you will not be able to transfer previous year's returns over to the new account."

This is so a conscious price gouge. Especially in this economy where folks job situation can change it's especially surprising.

Congratulations Intuit! You've turned a loyal decade-long customer into someone now looking for other options. Yes, I'm going to pay the higher price this time because I don't want to lose my data and am running out of time around my taxes, but don't expect to see me around next year. I tend to be a pretty loyal customer, but this is so blatant that it surprised me.

Has anyone else run into these issues?

Comments:
I'm glad I haven't "upgraded"! Every year I think about it, but now I definitely won't consider it.
 
I worked for a year at Intuit in 2006. I found it antagonistic to most design. The CEO (since then, he left) was pretty brutal towards the design community in the company.

I am surprised you had such a good impression of them. I have been extremely frustrated with Quicken and their products for years.
 
I had the exact same thing happen to me a few years back. I wasn't quite as vindictive, though (which I'm sure they love). I ended up making a new user id and I've been using it ever since. Still terribly handy to just use the online thing and be done with it.
 
I used to use them, but last April my taxes were more complicated since my wife started a business. So I dropped them all together and found an excel sheet that did it all for me. All I had to do is figure out which forms I needed (not as easy as it sounds).
 
Same thing just happened to me.
This is completely unacceptable. I cannot believe this company tries to hold peopleís information hostage.
I have used TurboTax for 10 years.
You just lost one customer, Iím creating a whole new account with another company.
 
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