Post 102

Turbo-Tax Sent Me Spam: Reflections on a Campaign Gone Wrong

So I’m annoyed with Turbo Tax. I’ll tell you why.

On March 22, 2016, 9 a.m. MST they auto-sent it out.

An email.

It’s from TurboTaxCustomerService. This is what it shouts:


I am so totally not! This is false.

I’m all up to date, thank you very much.

Paid up and all smiley, Ts crossed and I’s dotted. 2014 year completed. 2015 not even due yet.

Who are you to be sending an email into my Inbox saying this thing? And what makes you so sure my email is so private? What if it goes to my boss and sits open in front of my friend over there? What’s going on?

I open it up.

This is what I see:

“Don’t wait! Sign in to see what your tax refund will be!
You’re late starting your taxes this year and we’re here to remind you that your maximum refund is waiting for you.”

Excuse me?

That’s it?

You put a lie in your email header Subject Line (the part that any stranger could lean over and see) and when I open it, I see that you’re saying that this year, in 2016 I haven’t submitted yet? In other words, I haven’t purchased this year’s product this year so far?

Canadian personal taxes aren’t due for over a month.

Last year, I completed them more than one month in advance. So now, linking up my SIN (Can you believe, some Canadian somewhere once couldn’t figure out that the acronym all Canadians would use forevermore would be SIN? Can you believe someone would think Social Insurance Number was a good name for the thing? I wonder what they named their child. I shudder to think of it. Check the acronyms, folks! Especially in this day and age! Check the acronym! Don’t name your child Logan Olivia if your last name is Lollipop. Don’t name your child Astor Savannah if your last name is Smartie. Just don’t do it, parents. It’s not funny. It’s your job to think of the very best name you can think of. Saint names are good. Timeless is good. Dignified is good. Girl names for girls and boy names for boys. Let’s keep them straight. But as I was saying, unfortunately some Bright Ideas Canadian was sitting there drinking at some bar, probably losing at pool and he came up with the name of the card, the name of our keep-’til-you-die personal number. Man!) with my TurboTax information and my email address, they send me this email.

That’s a misuse of my confidential information.

They’re using the time of my submission of taxes last year as a tool for their advertising campaign.

Not okay.

I phoned them.

Or, more correctly, I tried to phone them.

How long was I on their webpage, scrolling and dialing and getting dead ends? Felt like forever.

They are a company that has gotten so big that they can’t handle a real call from a real person. You know the kind. Every number you call is a menu-filled option after option like our local police station (where police, apparently, are not stationed).

I scrolled and I dialed. Nothing nobody nowhere.


Until I reached the Philippines. 1-877-440-4288. (Real live person.)

Of course.

That’s exactly where a Canadian tax service should have people answering the phones.


Too big for their own good, you see what I mean?

The fellow wasn’t particularly nice, but what am I to do with Mr. Mostly Anonymous Fellow Overseas? Take down his name? I did. (Hey, if you see Elon, a fellow in the Philippines, could you tell him I thought he could have handled the call bettern’ that?)

He said he’d transfer me to someone in Canada who could handle the call.

“So then I’ll get a Canadian?”

He told me I would.

He transferred me.

Guess who I got?

It was Joanne. She was nice. She was helpful. But she wasn’t in Canada. Philippines too.

I told her my issue. I said, “Someone here in Canada thought this was a good email to send – not your fault, but I want to let them know it’s not right.” She sounded concerned, like she really wanted me to give TurboTax a second chance.

Alright. Second chance. Fine. She seemed to really think that someone, some Canadian would care about customer Social Insurance Number 011 011 011.

Apparently not.

I’m customer zero.

I must be one of the few that has actually gotten through with the phone (an accomplishment that) and when I give feedback, they turn their wide back.

Kind of.

Well, they know it’s me.

It’s all linked up, you see. They’ve traced the phone call to the number and the SIN or whatever and voila, it’s in. Right in my inbox.

They’ve invisibly – without person or phone call, solved my problem.

They write to me saying that they’ve resolved my issue. Given the issue a number, and now, wordlessly, the case is closed, according to? According to them.

Then the computer program asks me to rate them.

Rate them?

Am I satisfied, totally satisfied, or do I have “suggestions for areas to improve”?

Hey, I thought the opposite of being satisfied = unsatisfied. (I guess ‘dissatisfied’ might be properer.)

Since when is the opposite of being satisfied = giving suggestions?
Since when is the opposite of being satisfied = being suggestive?


These people.

These TurboTax Intuit people.

They’re not intuitive at all, these people.

Not impressed with this “Canadian” company.

Not sure if you’re good enough for Canada and or good enough for Canadians.

Besides, as I said, why is a company which takes money from Canadians not hiring Canadians? I have nothing against the people of the Philippines, and I myself have gone online looking for help internationally when I couldn’t find anybody here to help me with a side thing, a hobby, where I profit nothing.

But Turbo Tax is making a profit. They are in it for cash, for Canadian cash.

Then hire the Canadians! You know we can do it, Intuit. What’s wrong with us?

Oh right. I forgot. We don’t pay our taxes on time.

Or do we?

You seem to want to talk about it, or at least send one-way Inbox messages about it, to which we cannot respond.

But I did.

I tried.

I filled out that survey (as you already know, Intuit Turbo Tax Indiscreet Ltd)

Here’s what I wrote:

I dealt with a support person in the Philippines (?!) who took my contact information, as if a representative from TurboTax would get in touch with me. Instead, I receive this email saying that my “case” is now closed and asking me to complete this survey.

My initial complaint related to the TurboTax computer-generated email send out which was entitled “your taxes are past due.” What kind of title is that?

I strongly dislike it, because it is as false as those Spam emails that clutter my Inbox. My taxes are not past due. Not at all. So why say this? To get my attention?

You certainly have got my attention, but you will not get my business – not this year, nor in any future years.

For some reason (don’t know why now, come to think of it) I expected better from Turbo Tax. I am going to discontinue using your product.

I also dislike the fact that it was nearly impossible to reach a real live person using your website. Why are you unable to hire Canadians for your Canadian software?

You have grown too big and too careless for your own good, “Turbo Tax.” You have forgotten about customer service.

Mena J.

There. Feel better now.

I have read that if you’re ever angry with someone, you should write it all down and then throw it out.

That’s what I did.

I wrote it all down, and now I’m throwing it out.

To you.


[Note added April 16, 2016: I have just submitted online by visiting I had never used it before, but I found out about it by visiting the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website. It is made by some people in Vancouver, Canada, and at the end, they will ask you for a donation. You choose whether you wish to donate $0, $9, $19, $34 or $49. It was quite enjoyable to use – upbeat and clutter-free. I don’t have any connection to either TurboTax or SimpleTax or know anybody who does, just for the record.]