Paul L. Caron

Friday, January 23, 2015

TurboTax Apologizes for Bait-and-Switch, Provides $25 Refunds to Customers

Turbo Tax (2015)Following up on last week's post, TurboTax Customers Angry Over Change In Tax Return Software:  USA Today, TurboTax 'Messed Up,' Refunds Customers:

Investors outraged by TurboTax’ recent change that forced them to pay 50% more for the tax preparation software: put down your pitchforks. TurboTax isn’t just apologizing, but will refund your money.

Beginning Friday, TurboTax’ maker Intuit will issue $25 refunds back to any TurboTax customer forced to buy the most expensive version of the company’s software this year after buying the less-costly Deluxe version last year. Intuit will put a link up on its Web site on Jan. 23 where TurboTax customers can claim their refund. ...

In addition to refunding $25 to affected customers, TurboTax General Manager Sasan Goodarzi is issuing a lengthy written apology to TurboTax customers for the change.

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I purchased TT after using HR Block for the past 4 years. Before moving to HR Block I was using TT. I have had numerous issues with TT and am regretting the purchase. Issues are listed below:
1. For schedule D transactions, I was forced to upgrade to Premier from Deluxe. With HR Block Deluxe had the schedule D capability.
2. Premier has numerous errors. I have spent 2 hours with various people with no resolution. Very poor and inefficient customer support.
3. I have interest income from CA muni bond funds. This income is exempt from FED & CA taxes. TT does not recognize that CA interest is tax exempt.
4. I have a large carryover loss on Schedule D. TT does not recognize the carryover loss for CA.

This has been very frustrating for me. The problem has not been resolved and the case has been closed. SHAME ON TT FOR SUCH POOR SOFTWARE AND EVEN WORSE CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Posted by: Abid | Feb 21, 2015 8:25:33 PM

FYI. I have never used turbo tax, yet today i had to block my visa card and sigh up for a new one because of several charges that showed up on my account. They got big problems....

Posted by: DJ | Feb 19, 2015 1:21:52 PM

This is good for TurboTax & good for me. My priorities: (1) keep quality of precision and user interface, and rapid filing, (2) minimize cost of filing. If I perceive price gouging (focus toward getting filthy rich, instead of running a good business) or lack of candor, precision & general integrity on part of Intuit, I'll learn to do my taxes on my own. I don't enjoy paying $50 for Deluxe w/ State-prep. But this year I did it again. I haven't done my taxes yet, but I don't require forms C, D or E. I'll learn where I fit as I proceed through the process next week. I expect that the controversial TurboTax changes will not be reversed in future. It may be OK.

Posted by: Bruce Beveridge | Feb 7, 2015 7:32:09 AM

“ 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.” [ didn’t do “enough to communicate” or didn’t do anything? Based on my own experience and that shared by so many others, we TT veterans would seem not to have any reason to check the version-to-version chart but simply buy the same product we have always used ]
“Intuit has a long history of doing right by our customers…” [ after the fact though, and several times now ]
“Here’s why we made the change. Over the years, we have worked hard to make it easy for you to choose the TurboTax product that is right for you and your unique tax situation. We want that choice to be clear and confidence inspiring. However, as new online and mobile technologies emerged, our products, and the tax scope and features they included, began to differ, leading to customer confusion. These differences also impeded our ability to introduce new innovations across our entire product line.” [ Huh??? Sounds like double-talk to me, but let’s try to understand… so you removed these necessary forms from the desktop version so as to be in line with an already stripped down online version, is that it? And this was to “make it easier” for us? Sorry, no sale! ]
“Our customers are the heartbeat of every TurboTax employee. Our hope is that we can regain your trust and demonstrate that our commitment to you has never been stronger.” [ The only way this will be achieved would be to return to the previously structure and cost of the products that some of us have used for about 20 years. Period. Otherwise, H&R is going to continue to raid your base by showing their “commitment”. ]

Posted by: Nick | Jan 29, 2015 6:31:51 AM

I was switched to the more expensive Premier addition because I had a Schedule C and it was $40.00 more than the Deluxe for which I had used to file for 6 years. I was infuriated, but they had my records with all sorts of carry overs, so I filed. When I heard about the $25.00 refund for those like me that were baited and switched, the website to put in the claim did not work. So I called the number and was given a big run around by an arrogant customer service rep. I asked to speak to a so-called 'supervisor' and thereto received a run around, where they said the refund was only for "Desktop" users. I was finally told that, yes it is $40 more and that is the way it goes - period, end of story. So in being really upset I called the corporate number and asked for the "Office of the President", which appears to be a unit that really cares to help. The person there, Sonya took all the information and promised that someone would get back to me since I used the refund I was getting to pay Turbo Tax. Believe it or not I received a call that evening from another very nice person, who arranged to send me a check for the difference between Delux and Premier.

So, while everything turned out OK in the end, the experience left a very bad taste in my mouth. I certainly never expected Intuit to try to gouge customer, and you can be sure I will be sure to check this type of activity more carefully and go somewhere else if they try it again.

Posted by: Florida guy | Jan 28, 2015 7:41:09 PM

A seeming apology that lacks substance... they "really didn't do enough to communicate"? and claiming the change was to eliminate customer confusion? Really??? there are hundreds of forms in the Deluxe version most of which no normal person needs, yet they take three of the most commonly used forms and remove them - to create less confusion. Right... now how about that Brooklyn Bridge - I can make you quite a deal !

Posted by: Nick | Jan 28, 2015 7:06:03 PM

Mike, like you, I bought TurboTax Deluxe. When I learned it wouldn't do my wife's Schedule C, I called and complained. They upgraded me to Home & Business at no charge. Also plan to apply for the $25 refund since I used Deluxe for the same Schedule C on the 2013 return.

Posted by: Elmer Stoup | Jan 26, 2015 7:00:44 AM

Been a TurboTax user for many years.... NO MORE! Glad I read all the "Bait & Switch" articles before I went out and bought my usual Deluxe version of TurboTax. I'm going to TaxAct this year... as I don't want to deal with unscrupulous Intuit anymore!!

Posted by: Walter Abbott | Jan 25, 2015 11:15:12 AM

Fiasco. Plainly. After 26 years... goodbye Intuit and TurboTax. Breach of trust to loyal customer base... deceitful, greedy... much like their approach to Quicken in previous years, which I no longer use. IMO, Intuit needs a top-to-bottom look at ethical business practices, trust and customer loyalty. Based on the last two decades of experience, they are arrogant and dismissive of customer input. It is not the product, or company, that it once was.

Posted by: Mike | Jan 24, 2015 6:49:22 PM

Eight years now with TT, although always on Premier, and will stick with Intuit because I actually like and respect the company. As a retired software engineer I appreciate the insane difficulty of the tax prep task faced by any software provider. Overall Intuit does a great job, and I say that even though I've reported a lot of user interface disconnects to them over the years, and of course I've learned and am somewhat "locked into" their product. However recently I got a lot of training in professional TaxWise software, and you know what? I've been more disappointed than impressed by their UI compared with TT. While it's designed for expert use, there are relatively more UI disconnects and rough edges that make it annoying to use, and I think will still do so even after long experience.

Posted by: Alan | Jan 24, 2015 1:42:15 PM

Did I miss something??? What about those of us who already purchased Deluxe but have not yet done the "forced" upgrade. Will we get a free upgrade or have to go through the steps to pay for the upgrade and then remember to apply for the rebate in April? As with just about every type of after purchase rebate, the seller is counting on a percentage of the people to forget about requesting the rebate. If Intuit was 100% sincere about their "apology", they would rebate those people right now. Why wait until you file?

Posted by: Mike | Jan 24, 2015 11:03:13 AM

I can't wait to see what their product lineup will be next December. They would be smart either to revalue all the products or to introduce a completely new set of product names.

Posted by: AMT buff | Jan 23, 2015 8:42:00 PM

F--k you Intuit. You did something underhanded and tired to cheat your customers (again). Aw gee, now you are disingenuously sorry you got caught and pissed off your customers. Sorry folks, I've already switched to H&R Block - for free. May Turbotax rot in hell (I hope the jerk that thought up the scheme and his bosses got canned, but that's probably not what happened. Probably planning another way to screw their customers. You fooled me twice before (remember the last printer fiasco). Not again.
If you had the slightest remorse you would eat the entire cost of your product. Now customers get to jump through hoops for $25 BFD. I wouldn't go back anyway, slimeballs.

Posted by: Max Radials | Jan 23, 2015 5:10:12 PM

They'll give me my $25 back and all they want is my social security number.

Posted by: SMD | Jan 23, 2015 2:56:24 PM

The trust is gone. They can shove their $25

Posted by: Rife | Jan 23, 2015 11:33:31 AM

Thanks, Mr Caron, got here via Insty link. I've been mulling a change to TurboTax after a couple of software induced errors to my simple situation, and this is a good time to look for alternatives, if Intuit leadership is this bad.

Posted by: Publius | Jan 23, 2015 11:11:10 AM

Intuit did a similar thing with Quickbooks when they moved key payroll/tax processing from the standard version to a more expensive version. I would like a refund too

Posted by: h1bee | Jan 23, 2015 10:18:28 AM

I stuck with TutboTax through the cdilla fiasco (Google it) 11 years ago , but this is a bridge too far. I am making the change to H&R Block and ending my association with a company this greedy and stupid. If Intuit really wants to reform and rebuild consumer trust, they should fire everyone in management who agreed to this stupid pricing strategy.

Posted by: Bluegrass Pundit | Jan 23, 2015 9:37:54 AM