TurboTax turmoil: Online reviews pan the top selling software

The holiday season doesn't seem to be very jolly for TurboTax 2008, at least not on Amazon.com where 171 online product reviewers have panned the perennial best selling software with one-star ratings.

Users are not complaining about the functionality of TurboTax. The problem, as they see it, is with pricing changes. For the first time, TurboTax producer Intuit started charging users an additional $9.95 for each additional return whether they print or e-file. Also, readers complain that the 2008 software costs more at checkout, jumping from $44.95 to $59.95. (However, when AccountingWEB went on Amazon, the software could be had at the discounted price of $54.99.)

Many reviewers commenting on the product identified themselves as long-time TurboTax users who would be switching to different software because of the pricing issues.

"I have used TurboTax for many years, but not any more. The $10 fee for printing of each additional return is simply not acceptable for those of us who file a return for our children or parents as well as our own. TurboTax has not made this new fee very obvious in their advertising, so many previous users are in for a nasty surprise," one reviewer wrote.

Another user in Santa Cruz, CA, claimed to have been a fan of TurboTax since first using it in 1992 but would be switching to another program because of "a completely obnoxious pricing decision by Intuit." The reader continued to comment, "If you want to print another return you have to pay $10. I actually only do our joint return, but I often create new files to model "what if" scenarios, and I would be unable to print even a single form in the draft file without paying $10."

One reviewer seemed to be issuing a battle cry by writing, "Time to start the boycott." Another reviewer had criticism of a more personal nature: "You should fire the person who came up with pay to print!"

Of the 182 product reviews as of the evening of December 9, 2008, 171 of them were one-star reviews and only five were five-stars, the highest rating. Of the five five-star ratings, one user named Fernando Ortega said TurboTax is still the best, pointing out that he doesn't have to enter all of his personal information and previous returns manually.

"Perhaps those folks would prefer to pay an accountant hundreds of dollars as to avoid any additional software fees!" Ortega wrote.

An Intuit spokesperson said the company is aware of the complaints and is responding online to Amazon as well as other Internet communities, according to CNET.com.

"Federal e-filing is now included in all TurboTax desktop products," Intuit spokesperson Julie Miller told CNET.com. "This just makes sense since the majority of TurboTax customers now e-file. With this change, the majority of TurboTax customers will actually save a few dollars when they purchase the product versus last year."

According to the TurboTax Web site, the product is the number one best selling tax software year after year and more people trust TurboTax than any other tax preparation method.

Related article:
Intuit responds to TurboTax customer revolt

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