Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An unvalued customer (Once bit, Twice shy)

  I’ve used Turbo Tax by Intuit to do my taxes for 4 years now. I’m very happy with the product. I’ve found it to be dependable and so far I haven’t been audited. The feature I like the best is that it will use the previous year’s return as the basis of the current year’s return. If you haven’t had any major life changes, you just need to change the numbers and you are on your way. The only thing I don’t like is that you have to buy the software every year but as we say in New Jersey “everybody gotta eat”. The software normally goes on sale closer to tax time so it doesn’t cost as much if you wait.

  3 years ago I signed up to get the next year’s Turbo Tax shipped to me directly from Intuit. I got it the next January for 39.95 (less than the store price). But last year Intuit billed me for the full price of $59.95. I called them to ask and I was told that it was the retail price and that I should be happy to be getting so early. I didn’t feel I would get anywhere with the service rep and so after pointing out that I would really be happy if the extra $20 was in my pocket instead of Intuit’s and that Intuit didn’t have to work for my business, I removed myself from the auto renewal program. Sure enough, I received an ad today from Amazon that Turbo Tax is on sale for very close to $40. Good for them and good for me, but some of the cash that was going into Intuit’s pocket will now go to Amazon.

  I was also signed up for the auto-renewal of Norton Anti-Virus for the computers in the house. I started buying this product when it came free with a computer I bought and I got a good deal on my initial purchase. I got an e-mail reminder and called them to ask what the price would be. Eerily, the price was $59.95, up from $39.95 last year. I asked for a discount and when rebuffed, I removed myself from the auto-renewal offer and switched to Kapersky Anti-Virus for $39.95. (on the advice of my son Ben, a real computer aficionado). I’m not nearly as fond of Norton as I am of Turbo Tax. I agree that “everybody gotta eat”, but twenty bucks looks better in my pocket than these software companies. It would be nice if these companies would be as agressive about keeping my business as they were getting it.

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