Turbo Tax and the Ask a Tax Expert Rip-Off

turbo tax tax expert rip off

Turbo Tax:
Choose Easy
But look very closely before doing so. They may be trying to trick you.

Murdoc has used Turbo Tax Online for many years now, and he’s always been happy with the service. Until last night.

While going through a few things, I saw that I had been charged for their ‘Ask a Tax Expert’ offer, even though I had not wanted it. After wading through hundreds of complaints on their forum, I just sent a message in directly stating that I had not wanted to sign up and that it looked like users were unable to get out of it without starting completely over with a new account. As I said, I’ve used the service for many years and don’t really want to ditch all that and start a new account.

Here is their reply about the issue:

TurboTax Online – “No Thanks” button is unavailable on the Ask a Tax Expert offer, when starting a new return

The “No Thanks” button is actually gray in color as it was designed, but this is still a fully functioning button that can be clicked.

If you had already selected “Sign Up Now, Pay when you file” the fee will not be able to be removed from your account unless you clear the return and start over.

You can pay this fee when you file, and as long as you don’t use the service, you can request a refund for the $14.95 charge. (This way you wouldn’t need to clear the return and start over.)

You can use the ‘Contact Us’ page to request a refund.

Read that first paragraph again:

The “No Thanks” button is actually gray in color as it was designed, but this is still a fully functioning button that can be clicked.

It is gray in color as it was designed. But if you manage to click on it it will work.

I emailed them back:

It’s refreshing to see a company flat out admit that they are trying to rip you off. Thanks for clearing up that you designed it badly on purpose but that it works just fine even though it’s intentionally hard to understand.

Will the buttons on the refund request page be grayed out on purpose, too? Or will we be able to understand the process without you going out of your way to make it hard to get our money back after you tricked us out of it in the first place?

Now, I’m sure a lot of people have managed to avoid signing up for the service. And I admit that my familiarity with the system probably contributed to the fact that totally missed the fact that I was opting in to something that I would never ever never ever sign up for on purpose.

But they must have known that no one would ever sign up, because they had to try to trick people into doing so. And, though I haven’t paid them any money, they’re playing the whole “get a refund afterwards” game like their system somehow is preventing them from allowing people who have not paid and have not used it from switching it off.

For probably ten years or more I’ve recommended Turbo Tax to friends and family. But this $15 “error” has really shaken my faith. Obviously, I’m a little irritated right now. Jerks.

Comments

  1. “It’s refreshing to see a company flat out admit that they are trying to rip you off.”

    Sounds like the folks who wrote up Obama’s Health Care Bill.

  2. I use a Licensed Accountant (No, NOT H&R Block) even though my return is fairly simple. I’m retired and renting. Sure it costs me a couple of hundred each March, but I think it’s worth it.

  3. I’m with Toejam. I needed the help the past couple years when I had more consulting work on the side.

    I don’t do side jobs anymore, but I still like having the help. My guy is about $200, $210 something like that.

  4. They update turbotax every time you start it up. There is no reason for them to have let this go on this long unless it was making them money. Kind of like Verizon charging for a whole megabyte every time you accidentally launch the browser and quickly close it. So you only transferred half a kilobyte? They just round up. Sure it pissed people off, but it probably made the company a shit load of money. They just have to be careful about weighing the extra profit against customer backlash.

    I’ll probably still use Turbotax this year, but I’ll have to be on the lookout for this.

  5. I ditched them back about ’02 or ’03. That was the retail version of their program though. Glad I never got caught up in this sleazy scam though.

  6. Did my taxes on Monday (bought the software probably a month ago). Apparently word finally got out enough because the Tax Advisor thing is now a page you have to click over to and opt-in on.

  7. You are asked several times throughout the process that there is a charge. This person may not have liked the service, but. No charge was surprised on this person. This service is not a scam.

    1. You are told ONCE and then given a CONTINUE button which locks you into buying the service. The “No Thanks” button is small and grayed out. This is the trick that sleazy internet scam companies use, not legit corporations. They intentionally made the screen difficult to navigate.

      Clicking the button locks you in even though you haven’t been charged yet. You cannot opt out once you’ve locked in even if you don’t use the service. That, again, is how sleazy scammers operate, not legit services.

      That’s like putting something into your online shopping cart and, when you try to remove it, being told that you have to buy the item but that you can then return it at your expense later.

  8. Calm down. TurboTax is not a program that you should be rushing through anyway, and you admitted that. They are still your taxes. Just because you do them on your computer, doesn’t make them any less important. Take your time, and read EVERYTHING. Just like you would if you were doing the paper form. You were charged fifteen dollars, because YOU clicked the button. Just because the button was gray doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It is grayed out to put emphasis on the “accept” button. It is not a sleazy trick. it is modern marketing. Don’t get all huffy, because you fell for it. If you don’t want to pay the fifteen $ then simply call them, and get a refund. Simple as that.

    1. A couple comments:

      >> Just because the button was gray doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It is grayed out to put emphasis on the “accept” button.

      That’s complete and utter bullshit. Pure and simple.

      >> It is not a sleazy trick. it is modern marketing.

      It IS a sleazy trick AND modern marketing. Which makes it, like most marketing, mostly bullshit.

      >> Don’t get all huffy, because you fell for it.

      “Fell for it”? How do you “fall” for something that’s not a trick? Oh. That’s right. It WAS a trick.

      >> If you don’t want to pay the fifteen $ then simply call them, and get a refund. Simple as that.

      Even if it WAS “simple as that” (which it wasn’t) it’s a rip-off. A “we tricked you into paying $15 for something you didn’t want and won’t let you cancel even though you haven’t filed your order yet and now the responsibility is yours to make phone calls and wait on hold and argue with customer support people and get transferred to argue with another customer support person and get transferred to apply for your refund and then wait for the refund to be issued” sort of ripoff.

      I’m glad this post got some attention two years after it was published. Hopefully it will help at least a few people avoid the “modern marketing” bullshit.

      1. I learned the hard way that the Free Federal On-Line Turbotax is a rip-off! I was almost finished with my 2012 tax return, when I read that I could only print a copy of my return, if I upgraded to their BASIC program. Then I couldn’t E-file unless I used a credit card. A credit card was also required to get a paper check refund. Finally, I had to agree to a $20 dollar fee deducted from my refund so I could E-file. Once I said ok, the fee went up to $29. And when I tried to enter my SS Pin# it was a nightmare which took forever, and I had the correct number all along! Numerous phone calls to customer service went unanswered, and couldn’t get through to LIVE CHAT either. TURBO TAX needs to put all this information on their HOME PAGE before customers even start their taxes. I won’t use them again!

    2. LOL what a moron. First you say it’s not a trick and then you accuse him of “falling for it.” How did he “fall for it” if it wasn’t a “trick?”

      And what does it say to legitimate organizations that market their products and services by informing people on the real benefits that there are people like you who have such low standards you consider deliberately trying to trick people into accidentally clicking a button simply “modern marketing?”

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