Oh how I hate Intuit — Awful behavior from QuickBooks Online

Oh, how I hate Intuit. For lack of any decent alternative, I use QuickBooks Online. This morning, when opening the Mac app, I’m notified that an update has happened, and I find this giant un-dismissable block front and center in the UI:

Apparently I’ve been assigned a “Task” to complete some bloody setup. Clicking, I arrive to this screen:

I’m offered two “preferences” for QuickBooks Payroll, neither of which is, “I don’t fucking want this service”. Leaving the default selected, and clicking, “See your plan” leads to:

I don’t want the “recommended” service, but there’s only two links on this screen, “Back” or “Next”.

Unbelievably, “Next” takes me back to the home screen of QuickBooks Online, giving the impression that nothing has happened, and STILL there is no way to cancel that giant damn “You have a task” block.

But here’s the kicker — An email from Intuit arrives confirming that I’VE JUST SIGNED UP TO QUICKBOOKS PAYROLL for $30 per month, and if I want to cancel I HAVE TO CALL THEM!

So a “Next” button actually signs you up. No confirmation. No, “You’re about to make a purchase.”

Fuming that I had to spend my time with this, I called, and was told that the subscription has been cancelled. While they couldn’t give me a cancellation confirmation code, they did say I’d receive a cancellation email in about 5 minutes. Well, 5 minutes later, here’s what arrived:

Un. Fucking. Believable.

Reaching out to @QBCares on Twitter, they tried their best to help, and after DMing them my company ID, they did manage to cancel the payroll subscription, and I did then receive cancellation confirmation emails.

But then, unbelievably, 10 minutes after that I received a new set of welcome emails! OMG, and even the @QBCares people were face-palming. They did some more digging and reported it was a “v2” software bug, and they were immediately rolling back to “v1” to fix it.

I will repeat — Oh, how I hate Intuit.

Unbelievably bad experience with Skype (You just can’t make this stuff up.)

Today I received an email from Skype, informing me that my Skype Number was about to expire, and that I didn’t have enough “credits” to process the renewal:

My first inclination was change the payment method, but clicking that button in Safari did absolutely nothing.

Next, I tried to purchase some credits. Amazingly, the site doesn’t tell you how many credits you need, so I tried purchasing $25, returned to the page, and it continued to report that I don’t have enough credit. Same thing after another $10 purchase. And again after another $10 purchase!

When my account finally had $51 in credits I thought, “Jeez Louise! How much does one of these Skype numbers cost!?!”

At that point, tired of losing time, I thought I’d give Chrome a try, and see if the change-payment button issue was a browser incompatibility. Sure enough, it was, and I switched to credit card payment for the renewal.

Wanting to get my previous Skype-credit purchases refunded, I started a chat session with Skype Support, during which I was actually told that:

  1. It’s not possible to know how many credits are needed to renew a Skype Phone number
  2. Even after purchasing enough credits to cover the renewal, the website will continue to report that you do NOT have enough credits.
  3. She’s going to report this to the developers, so they can “add that feature“.

You really have to read the following transcript yourself to truly appreciate the insanity.

You are now chatting with ‘Karen E’:

  • Karen E: Hello! My name is Karen. Welcome to Skype Live Support! What can I help you with today?
  • Matt H: Hello, to understand the problem I’m having, please see this screenshot: http://d.pr/i/1beKy
  • Karen E: Hi there! I do apologize but I cannot see any screen shot here.
  • Matt H: Are you telling me, you are unable to use a web browser while we are talking? The link I sent is to a web page that contains an image
  • Karen E: Yes, I can use it, however, the screen shot you provided is blocked here in our end.
  • Karen E: But I can send you an email now and you can reply to it and attach the screen shot.
  • Matt H: Can you just try to open the link in your web browser?
  • Karen E: I already did that, but again, it is blocked.
  • Matt H: Ok, please sent the email.
  • Karen E: Sending it now. By the way, may I have your Skype name and email address?
  • Matt H: Before entering the chat, I was asked for my Skype name and email address. It seems sad that you don’t have access to that information.
  • Karen E: I understand. However, since we have new process now, we do not see your account information now. That’s why we need to get your Skype name and email address. We do apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Matt H: OK, you’ll now sent the email? Can I attach the screenshot image to that email in reply?
  • Karen E: Yes, please. I already sent the email and you can reply to it now.
  • Matt H: OK, you should now have it. So here is the problem: When logging into Skype, I’m alerted to the fact that my Skype Number will expire in 2 days as I have insufficient Skype Credit. So my first question is: How much credit is needed? But guess what? — There’s no way to know how much credit is needed.
  • Karen E: As I can see here, your skype number is worth $24.00. You will not be informed on how much Skype credits you needed. This is because Skype credits has fixed amount. Do not worry, I will take note of this and will forward this to our developers.
  • Karen E: As I have also noticed on your screen shot, you mentioned that when you click on change payment method, nothing happens after. Does something pop up or did you get any error messages?
  • Matt H: Nothing happens. It’s broken in Safari on the Mac. You would imagine it would be tested on such a common browser, but evidently not.
  • Karen E: Oh I understand. Do you have any browser? Can you try to change the payment method again using IE? This is for us to isolate the issue.
  • Matt H: Since the website doesn’t inform the user how much credit is needed, I started purchasing credits, hoping to eventually see this screen update with a message like, “OK, you now have enough credit.” Eventually, after two purchases, the website reported that my credit balance was $51 And this screen STILL reports I don’t have enough credits. So I finally tried it on Chrome, and found that the Change Payment Method works And so I switched it to credit card.
  • Karen E: Oh okay, I understand.
  • Matt H: So now, I would like my purchases refunded, as I don’t need $51 of credits.
  • Karen E: All right for your first concern, yes, you will not notified if you already have sufficient funds. For Skype number that’s payment method is Skype credits, you just need to add credits on your account (make sure that it will cover the amount of your number) then your number will automatically renew within 24 hours.
  • Karen E: I am adding this now to the lists that I can forward to our developers. And for the browser, we really cannot assure that your browser will work, so if that happens we highly suggest to use different brower.
  • Karen E: I can process a refund for you. Do you have an order number for those Skype credits?
  • Matt H: There were three orders, for $25, $10 and $10
  • Karen E: Thank you very much, is that all? Let me refund this for you now.
  • Matt H: I still have a question: If you’re going to tell the user that they don’t have enough credits to renew their number, and you’re not going tell them how many credits they need, then why doesn’t this alert clear itself after they’ve purchased enough credits? You said my phone number needs $24, but the alert remained active even after I purchased $51 of credits.
  • Karen E: As mentioned, Skype credits has fixed amount. Meaning once you purchase it, it will show you the amount you purchased. No worries, I have already forwarded this to our developers, currently, Skype does not have the option to alert you once you have reached the amount of your number.
  • Matt H: What I’m saying is, once my credit balance was $51, why does the alert still say, “You don’t have enough credits”. If the balance on my account is $10,000 would it continue to report that I don’t have enough credits?
  • Karen E: Yes, that is correct, that option is not available in Skype yet. But do not worry, we are already aware of this and our developers are working on this feature. We do apologize for this inconvenience.
  • Matt H: Ok, well, it will be really great when that feature is available, so that if I have enough credits on the account, the website will not report that I do NOT have enough credits. Please tell the developers I appreciate the effort for going the last mile to consider such subtle details.
  • Karen E: I do understand that. Thank you for raising this up. Hopefully, this feature will be added soon.
  • Matt H: I hope so, too. And thank you for your the help today.
  • Karen E: You are most welcome Matt 🙂 It’s been a pleasure assisting you today. I hope you continue to enjoy Skype. Have a great and safe day!

The user experience of European banking websites

One area in which the United States is light years ahead of Europe is online banking. Some time ago, American banks finally came to understand that the usability of their online interfaces represents a competitive advantage, ever growing in importance. Most European banks have not gotten that message yet.

For example, here’s the login screen at Deutsche Bank:

The login form required three pieces of information—my passport number, an account reference, and a password. But here’s the kicker—these fields can’t be filled in with something like 1Password. You can’t even copy and paste manually from 1Password. Deutsche bank actually requires you to manually type everything out using that “virtual keyboard” you see on the screen! Arrrrg!

In addition to being a major pain in the ass (Did you notice the numbers are scrambled?), this also serve as a total disincentive to using a long password.

Don’t do business with LocalFlavor.com

Somebody signed up for an account at LocalFlavor.com using my email address (a common occurrence, since I have a relatively common name, and was the first to grab it at Gmail.) Here’s what happened next:

  • LocalFlavor don’t verify that the people who sign up for their service actually own the email accounts they specified in the on-boarding process. As a result, I started getting “Daily Deals” email for someone in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • I clicked the unsubscribe link at the bottom of those emails, and was taken to the subscription management area of the website, which reported that I was unsubscribed. But the site doesn’t respect that setting, and I continued to get the daily emails.
  • And here’s the worst — Since I own the email account the person used when signing up, I reset the LocalFlavor account password, logged in, and attempted to delete the account. Any you know what I discovered—no surprise really, from such a slimy business—the accounts area of the website doesn’t provide any link to delete your account.

I absolutely hate companies who make it difficult to leave.

Beginning of the end for 9to5 Mac?

For many years I was an avid reader of TUAW, “The Unofficial Apple Weblog”, for my daily dose of Apple-related news. But then something happened. Things changed.

It all began when I noticed that the full contents of the TUAW articles stopped appearing in the RSS feed—thereby requiring me to visit their site (and see their ads) if I wanted to read their content.

Soon afterwards, TUAW’s content began to grow in volume, while at the same time decline in value (can you say, “Caturday”?) As a final step in the decline, the business was shut down completely.

Just before TUAW’s demise, I was happy to discover a service that was similar to what TUAW used to be—9to5 Mac. 9to5mac replaced TUAW in my RSS reader, and all was again good.

Until today. Today, when I opened Reeder, and clicked on the 9to5 feed, I saw this, which I hope doesn’t mark the beginning of the end:

Why can’t Twitter fix their Mac app?

The Twitter app for Mac OS X appears to be full of bugs, the worst of which, for me, is that the timeline displays tweets for people I’ve muted at Twitter.com.

With Tweetbot for Mac, I used a private list, my “A-List”, to effectively create a timeline filtered to the 10 or so people I really want to read on a daily basis. The default display of this list in Tweetbot survived app restarts.

But as we’ve known for a while now, Twitter have stopped supporting third-party developers, and this is beginning to show in apps like Tweetbot. For example, the historical scope of searches appears to extend only back about a week in time.

With the official Twitter app for Mac, to view my “A-List” list involves clicking the list icon, then hunting through the inexplicably non-alphabetically-sorted list. And I have to repeat this each time I launch the app, as the previous view on quit isn’t preserved.

When Twitter announced dropping support for third-party developers and clients, the stated justification was that Twitter wanted to ensure that every user received the best Twitter experience possible, and that could only be achieved if Twitter themselves controlled all vehicles through which users experienced the platform.

Fine, but how can we reconcile that position with the awful state of Twitter for Mac today, and the fact that it is apparently receiving zero attention within the company?

The unethical business practices of eFax

Some companies can’t be satisfied by simply earning their revenue through the provision of a service. For these companies, a part of their business strategy depends on making it as difficult as possible to leave, and even unethically continuing to charge you after you’ve cancelled your account.

On January 28, 2014, I received an email notification that eFax had charged me $50 for another year’s worth of service. Unlike decent companies, eFax doesn’t email you in advance, giving you the opportunity to cancel prior to being charged. No, you just get an email once it’s too late.

At that point, I decided to cancel my account, and hoped to perhaps get a refund.

Like similar companies, I found that you can’t cancel your eFax account through their website. To make the process as painful as possible, you have to call and argue with a representative. Once I got someone on the phone, I was informed they could not issue a refund for 2014, and that if I wanted to cancel my account, I should just wait until January 2015, and call them before the 28th.

So on January 1 of this year, 2015, my Mac alerted me to the reminder I’d set last year, and once again I got on the phone with eFax. After some discussion about why I wanted to leave the service, the representative finally agreed to let me cancel, and gave me a case number as confirmation of the cancellation.

I crossed my fingers and hoped that would be the end of it. But of course it wouldn’t. It never is with slimy companies like these.

Sure enough, today, January 30, I received an email from eFax confirming that they’ve again charged my credit card for $50 for another year of service.

Update: The story gets worse. The email alerting me to the new credit card charge states that if I have any questions about the charge, to send an email to [email protected], where people are stationed around the clock just waiting to help. So I sent the following email:

Dear Sir or Madam, With reference to case number 08912513, I canceled my eFax account in early January, and so I’m tremendously upset to receive the attached notification. Please refund my credit card for the $50 you just charged, and CANCEL MY ACCOUNT as I requested in early January.

Then, I nearly fell out of my chair when I received the following reply:

Please note that cancellation requests may be processed 24/7 by calling (323) 817-3205. Please note that your account will remain active until your cancellation request is confirmed by Customer Support. Sincerely, Doug M.

Un-fucking-believable. Is Doug M. illiterate, or did he not even read my email? Such utter disrespect and disregard for their customers.

So, once again, I had to spend further time and effort getting on the phone with eFax. According to the representative, it’s a good thing I hadn’t discarded my fax number, my “telephone PIN” number, and my case number, or he wouldn’t have been able to locate the previous cancellation.

He stated that his colleague unfortunately forgot to process “Phase 2” of the cancellation process, which he’d do now. He promised that within 24 hours, I should receive the $50 credited back to my card.

So the wait continues…

Update 2: Speaking with the second eFax representative, he promised two things would happen within the next 24 hours:

  1. I would get an email from eFax with confirmation of my account closure.
  2. I would see a $50 refund on my credit card.

Two days later, I have received the first (the email confirmation), but, of course, not the second (the $50 refund.) Those bastards. At this point, I’ll just try to perform a charge-back on the original charge.

Be careful when doing business with Virtual Post Mail

On December 26, I requested by email that my account at Virtual Post Mail be closed. (Unsurprisingly, their web interface doesn’t provide a way to do this, nor any instructions regarding how to close your account. Don’t you hate companies that don’t provide account closure from the web?)

Anyway, on the same day, I received a reply from Naohe that my account had successfully been closed, and will not be charged again:

As I expected, today, January 27, I received another charge on my credit card from this company:

So now I have to spend my time and effort contacting them to get the money returned, and again asking them to confirm closure of the account.

In the future, I’m sure that I will at some point again need a mail reception and scanning service, and you can be sure that when the time comes, I will not be returning to Virtual Post Mail.