May 2nd and Turbo Tax still won’t submit my tax return

I’m on hold with Intuit customer support for my Turbo Tax filing problem. Just was greeted by an offshore support person who was not "technically qualified" to solve my problem. I’m being put on hold to get a "technically qualified" person.

Now I’m told by the automated phone line that it too is experiencing technical problems. Just passed menu #1, and now passed menu #2 …. each time had to defer to "wait for a representative".

Ah, got someone …. however this person is only qualified to handle Quickbooks. He is going to put me in touch with the TurboTax people. And, he gave me the same phone number that I started this call with just in case I get cut off. Let him know that, but it didn’t matter.

So, why are my taxes not filed yet? Good question.

I submitted them "successfully" as told by the Turbo Tax service on April 16th – one day before the filing deadline. Automated everything – direct withdrawal from checking and e-file. So, when no money was withdrawn from my checking account at the end of a week of travel, I checked my TurboTax account again.

TurboTax informed me that they had an internal error and I should look at the customer support page for more info (BTW – no link to the customer support page). Also, despite providing my email address, I was never notified that there was an error on my filing.

So, I called customer service and was told that it may be my fault due to my ISP (assumed I was using AOL and it may have blocked something). When I explained that my ISP was not AOL and that I am running behind my own firewall and am very familiar with web based services, since I’m in the business, they told me to file it again with a different computer.

I did that and ended up with the same result, for which I am now on the phone. Again, no email notification of the problem.

Finally, I am to someone that seems like can help me. They inform me that my return was rejected again for an unexplained "internal error". They suggest that I file again with a different computer. When told that I already did that, I am then told that I should just print the return and file it.

Great! I could have done that on April 16th and not have the IRS hunting for me.

So, now it’s time to test Intuit’s customer service recovery. I express my utter frustration with the service and that this is the first (and last) time that my taxes will be filed late.

To Intuit’s credit, there was no debate and I was offered an instant refund of the $106 that I spent on TurboTax. Now is the real rub – I have no idea what my penalty is going to be for filing late. Of course I expect that Intuit will reimburse me for this as well. Again, no debate from the representative, but I will have to see what the fee is going to be to see if they will actually pay it.

I will follow-up to this post on Intuit’s response to my late fee, and will also post the letter that I send to Intuit describing my dissatisfaction with their service and the personal cost to me. This letter will also outline my value to Intuit as a customer – from a lifetime value perspective – which should make it more than obvious to reimburse me for the fee. Whatever it is, if I’m satisfied with the service and response, they will get more out of me and any referrals I make in my lifetime.

Intuit has a good reputation as a customer-focused company. I hope they demonstrate why they have that reputation with this customer satisfaction recovery effort. If they respond properly, they will go a long way to capturing future purchases from me, and from others whom I refer to Intuit for their customer service efforts. If they do not respond properly, I surely will not think well of my experience with them and will be sure to warn others not to fall in the same trap.

My expectations are high, but as the beginning of this note illustrates, Intuit has some issues in handling customer responses.

— bkm