They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

Have Fun Storming The Castle! (It'll Take A Miracle)

Call me a glutton for punishment. After all, I still use Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Norton Anti-Virus and TurboTax. It's not like there aren't alternatives, but then alternatives are not always what they're cracked up to be, either. Seriously -- so don't just comment on this post about your Mac, your Linux, your OpenOffice, your Tax Guru 4000... (grin)

I have reasons.

A while back there was a prompt from Amazon that TurboTax Deluxe, which I have used for many years, was on sale. Since I was going to buy it and download it eventually anyway, I bopped over to to the Amazon page. Did I just click on the Buy button? I did not. I looked through the page... and was astonished by all the One-Star reviews. 2059 out of 2334 reviews as of noon today -- 88.2% according to Alexa. (grin) Now sometimes this happens with early versions of even well-known software, such as Norton Utilities, where apparently the current version loses all sorts of functionality and messes up things or just doesn't run, versus the previous version. (Versions 14 & 15? 15 & 16? I haven't bought the product since Norton Utilities 95.)

But apparently the key thing is that TurboTax Deluxe no longer supports Schedule C. Oh, you can add the form, but since it's not part of the interview process, you then can't eFile your Federal return but have to do it manually. Suddenly TurboTax Deluxe 2014 Fed + State + Fed Efile Tax Software + Refund Bonus Offer - Win doesn't seem like a such a good deal anymore.

The one reason, okay the two reasons... the THREE reasons that I moved from regular old TurboTax, which we started using when we bought the house twenty-some years ago, was the free Federal eFile, the free copy of the State program and Schedule C for my writing business.

Typical of the 1-Star comments: "I contacted Bob, the VP of turbotax, and he advised me that the changes were necessary because 'it was causing problems for 10 million customers at the expense of a very small fraction of the others.' I'm guessing most of us on this blog are apparently a part of this small fraction of others. Considering that people who do not need schedules C, D, E, F, and K-1 probably do not care either way, I think this suggest Intuit hopes to get an additional $300 million revenue (10 million users who apparently care times $30 per upgrade); don't let anyone say it is not about the money/revenue!!"

Well, I did buy the download product, because by the time I did, Intuit was promising to rebate the price differential between Deluxe and Premier. For 2014 taxes only. Indeed, a while later, I got an email from Intuit itself on January 27 -- similar to the January 21 posts I'd seen them add to the Amazon 1-Star comments:
Important notice from the General Manager of TurboTax.
Intuit® TurboTax®
Sasan Goodarzi - General Manager, Intuit TurboTax

Dear Philip,

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.

Intuit has a long history of doing right by our customers, and in this instance, we did not live up to the standards of excellence you have come to expect from us. We did not handle this change in a manner that respected our loyal customers and we owe you an explanation of what we are doing to make it right.

The change we made to our desktop products, both the download and CD versions, includes removing Schedules C, D, E and F from TurboTax Deluxe, which some long-time customers had relied on to report business income, investment sales and rental property income. As a result, you may now be required to upgrade the version of TurboTax you use even though your tax situation hasn't changed from last year.

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.

So this year, we made the product experience consistent across all TurboTax offerings. This change enables us to innovate faster and make improvements that benefit all customers at the same time, regardless of whether they use our online or desktop software. You can be sure that we've preserved what's unique to our desktop product: the ability to e-file up to five returns, switch to forms mode and install the software on multiple computers. Find the TurboTax product that's right for you.

But good intent must be matched with great execution, and that is where we let you down. We have heard from many of you that you were surprised when you discovered the change. No one likes this kind of a surprise, so we are taking immediate action to make things right and help you through this transition year.

We are giving $25 back if you purchased TurboTax Deluxe desktop software (CD or download) and filed your 2013 tax return and have to upgrade to TurboTax Premier or Home & Business to file your 2014 return. This will help you move to the right desktop product, while reducing the immediate and unexpected financial impact. After completing and filing your return this year, request your $25 here.

I deeply regret the anger and distress we have caused those of you affected by this change. 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.

Sincerely,
Sasan Goodarzi and the TurboTax Team
General Manager, Intuit TurboTax
Intuit® – simply the business of life

Eligibility: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59 PM PST April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer.

Intuit respects the personal nature of email. Please note that if you have chosen not to receive marketing messages from Intuit, that choice applies only to promotional materials. You will continue to receive notifications that are legally required or could affect your service, software or account.
Oh yay, the corporate non-apology apology... Gee, we're sorry that you're pissed off because you are too stupid to realize that we are doing this For Your Own Good because We Know Your Circumstances Better Than You Do. So I fired a shot back:
Philip Kaldon Jan 27 (9 days ago) to TurboTax

Here's the thing. I read through some of the 1-star ratings on Amazon, surprised to see such a thing. And part of the lame excuse for not including Schedule C in the Deluxe version was that upgrading was best for small businesses because that (sic) have 1099-MISC or whatever it is and income more than $1000.

Well, my small business is that I write short stories. Most years I have income less than a thousand dollars, but the IRS says I still have to file a Schedule C. I have NEVER gotten a 1099-MISC in my life. Worse, because of health issues, I sold no stories in 2013 and 2014. My sole desire to have a Schedule C is so that the form carries over in TurboTax like other forms do, for when I _do_ have story sale income. There are no office depreciation or vehicles. Just Story income. Versus stamps and professional meetings, if any.

We don't have total income for the tax prep deduction to actually work, so buying a more expensive version of TurboTax will just simply waste my money.

The other point made by some Intuit person was that you can still file a paper return with the extra form using Deluxe. Oh great, that just negates the whole free Federal e-File benefit. It's bad enough the free Michigan state part of TurboTax is useless for State e-File, because it costs far more than a stamp to mail the paper state return. Until state e-files are free, Michigan can cry me a river about how e-filing is cheaper for them.

In short, I bet there are a lot of TurboTax Deluxe users who have no business dealing with a full on small business version, and just need to fill out and maybe file a very, very simple Schedule C to satisfy IRS requirements.

WHAT IS SO BLOODY HARD ABOUT THAT WHICH MADE YOU GET STUPID THIS YEAR?

For 2015 taxes, I will be seriously looking at your competitors. I have used TurboTax ever since we bought a house more than twenty years ago and rebate aside, this is the first time you have let me down and then informed me that it's just a communication issue. That TurboTax just knows better. Sorry, that's a lousy excuse and frankly just a money grab from Intuit.

RETHINK SCHEDULE C IN DELUXE. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

Dr. Phil
Ahem.

Well, apparently I was not the only squeaky wheel out there. Besides comments on Amazon about switching products, I guess Intuit heard back from people. So today there was another email:
Important notice from the General Manager of TurboTax.
Intuit® TurboTax®
Sasan Goodarzi - General Manager, Intuit TurboTax

Dear Philip,

We recently tried to explain the changes made to our TurboTax desktop software and apologized for the impact it had on you. Many responded and let us know our apology and rationale were not acceptable.

You want the TurboTax desktop product (CD or download) you've used in the past to do what it has always done—handle your tax situation. We heard you. It's time we make it right.

Beginning February 7, 2015, you can buy the same product you'd normally buy, and if you need to upgrade for your tax situation, we'll help you do that at no additional cost. This means you'll get all the forms you need, including Schedules C, D E, and F, without paying anything extra. Learn more.

If you're a returning TurboTax Deluxe CD or download customer and you've already filed using TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business, we're offering you $25 cash back. Simply visit TurboTax.com/25back to claim your money.

Next, we are committed to bringing back the product you know and love. By the time you are ready to prepare and file your taxes next year, the TurboTax desktop product you trusted in the past will include the forms you've counted on for years.

I understand our actions have caused anger and frustration, and our response has been far too slow. TurboTax is committed to regaining your trust and providing you with the level of excellence you have come to expect.

Thank you for your feedback and continued loyalty,

Sasan Goodarzi and the TurboTax Team
General Manager, Intuit TurboTax
Intuit® - simplify the business of life

Eligibility: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59 PM PST April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer.

Intuit respects the personal nature of email. Please note that if you have chosen not to receive marketing messages from Intuit, that choice applies only to promotional materials. You will continue to receive notifications that are legally required or could affect your service, software or account.
(*BLINK*)

Well, I was already somewhat set for the 2014 taxes, but I am glad that they decided to restore Deluxe to its previous state for next year. Because a whole year of festering by a chunk of your users -- especially ones not afraid to either post 1-Star reviews or fire back at your lame emails -- would not be good for business.

Nice when manning the barricades manages to score one for the little guy without any massacres. On either side. (grin)

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
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