And Today’s Worst Company in the World Is … Intuit!


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If you’ve ever watched the effusive Keith Olbermann’s nightly talk show, you’re already familiar with this refrain, only Olbermann does “worst person,” which conveniently winds up being a rival talk show host more nights than not. But the shtick works just as well for “worst company,” as in this horrific customer service I just received.

Being a boutique consultancy, we can get by using Intuit’s QuickBooks for our financial system. And it works, at least some of the time. But yesterday I realized the automated daily data back-up to Intuit’s web server had stopped running. The back-up system, which is supposed to dial up a designated HYM work station daily to upload our data, either wasn’t dialing or wasn’t connecting.

So I called Intuit. Or rather, I called their offshore service mill. And I’d say the guy I got was a real “gem,” except he was only following Intuit policy. The first thing he said was that I couldn’t talk to him, because we don’t have a service contract (I refuse on principal to pay $300 or so annually on a service contract for a crappy little PC-based accounting system, especially when most of the issues we encounter are actually bugs in the software). Then he said we could buy a single service incident at close to $100 – to fix a crappy little back-up system that costs $4.95 a month. After I clearly explained that the glitch was on Intuit’s side, he reiterated that it was still my problem, and I had to pay to fix it.

Following several more iterations of this conversation loop, I had a blinding flash of the obvious and asked him to just cancel the service. So what did I do instead? Simple, I went up on Intuit’s website and signed up again as a new user–and got my first month free in the bargain. No problem, no service fee. But doesn’t Intuit have its head stuck up a very hard to reach orifice? Just like Microsoft, Intuit makes customers pay to repair bugs and issues with its systems. Which Makes Intuit Today’s Worst Company in the World!

BTW, I now feel vindicated in my quite long ago prediction that poor customer service would eventually bring down both Circuit City and Sprint. Circuit City declared Chapter 11 yesterday, and Sprint just reported its worst ever retail customer churn rate–something over 2% a month. It has enough cash to stay around a while, but I’m guessing AT&T or Verizon will buy it up before long.


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