What Customer Service?

I am in a snit today. Not because it’s tax time, that’s a separate topic in itself demanding its own blog entry. No, I’m pissed off today at the sorry state of customer service provided by most companies today.


Take the financial software giant, Intuit, for instance. It’s a sobering fact that I am today largely dependent on Intuit for most of the transactions I have to initiate. Their software largely does work as expected. I use Quicken for my personal transactions. My caregivers, since the feds regard them as household employees, have to get federally-approved W-2s. They also need to have direct deposit. The only piece of software I know of that fills those two requirements is Intuit’s Quickbooks. That means I’m pretty much at the mercy of Intuit’s whims. Quickbooks is designed for businesses so it’s high-dollar. The basic version was $170 in 2003.


Now Intuit announces at the start of the year that my 2003 basic version will no longer be able to transmit transactions after the end of the month. Furthermore, they no longer sell a basic version at all. It appears—at first—that I have two choices, the pro version for $200, or the online deluxe version for $25/mo. However, the online version requires that I download and run an ActiveX control (sort of a web-based mini-program) to convert the existing data. Ok, I think, no sweat. Wrong! The control does not download. I’ve been trying for three days with different computers and even different ISPs. Nada. Of course all of the online help assumes the customer is a computer idiot who knows nothing about the online security features of their browser. Well Intuit, not everyone is an idiot. I am an IT professional who routinely downloads ActiveX controls. I don’t even bother with prompting on signed controls because I don’t visit suspect sites. The problem is clearly not on my end.


The result is that, after reading more of the fine print on the website, I’m doomed to scrape up $200 for the pro version in order to prevent any existing data from being lost. Intuit adds insult to injury by offering a $30 mail-in rebate. Companies do that knowing that most people won’t mail in the form. If I get the form filled and mailed, I’m not real certain a $30 check is worth the hassles of taking it to the credit union.


Rest assured that Intuit Customer Service will receive a copy of this blog entry. Not that it will change things one iota, but they will know why this customer wants the heads of their board of directors on pikes!


Maybe there is a god after all. The Quckbooks Online Team have a blog over on Typepad, and now they are aware of my opinion of their business practices. Things could get amusing. J






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