I’ve been a loyal Intuit customer, purchasing TurboTax every year for the past three years. They created a good product at a fair price that just plain worked and I rewarded them for it. Next year, I’m going to find another way to do my taxes.
My first grievance: I used TurboTax for the Web last year, and at the end of the process, saved the .tax file it created. When I tried to import it into this year’s return, I found out that the web version of the file is incompatible with the Windows standalone version. What crappy engineering is this, that they can’t make a single document format work across all versions of a product?
My second grievance: I tried to get help for this on the web. After wrestling with the troubleshooter, I decided to try and “chat” with a “live agent”. After connecting with the “agent”, I tried explaining my problem. The slow reaction time, canned responses, and non sequiters the agent responded with made me annoyed and suspicious that I wasn’t talking to a human at all, but to an AI chatbot of some sort. I disconnected from the first agent and tried “speaking” with a second agent. Although the canned responses were slightly different, they followed the same pattern as the previous agent’s responses. I asked this one point blank if it was a human, and it didn’t respond for 4 minutes. I asked it some more questions, and then asked it if it was a human again, and got a terse “yes” in response.
Well, let me tell you something, Intuit — I don’t fucking think so. You may have some decent programmers, but they can’t write AI bots that pass a Turing test yet.
Now normally, this sort of thing would appeal to my geeky side. But as a paying customer who is trying to get support for a product, being told that I’m connected with a “live agent” when in reality I’m chatting with a bot is pretty misleading.
My third grievance: TurboTax installs a nasty piece of software written by Macrovision (the same folks who invented VHS and DVD piracy safeguards) called SafeCast or C-Dilla. The thing is, they don’t tell you that you’re getting a bonus piece of crapware installed on your machine that stays resident in memory and messes with your system. My laptop has never hung once before installing TurboTax, but mysteriously started hanging and acting sluggishly afterwards. I uninstalled both TurboTax and C-Dilla and no more hangs. You tell me what the problem was.
Here’s some stuff on the web:
- “live agent” — see if it passes your own Turing test
- In depth explanation of what C-Dilla does (it writes to reserved sectors of your hard drive, in case you were curious)
- C-Dilla uninstaller
- Should you use TurboTax?
- online reputation management — an interesting article written by Nicholas Carroll. Perhaps if a meme about how Intuit sucks were to spread across the internet, it would make the company respect their customers more.