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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?

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