Geekery Abounds

All Mouse’s Geekery in one place.

Nanowrimo 2009

Posted by mousewrites on November 3, 2009

Ok, so, I haven’t posted in a few months…


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TurboTax and the Tech Support Fumble of 2009

Posted by mousewrites on March 28, 2009

Oi, long time since I posted. But I had to post this.

I like TurboTax. I’ve used their online tax filing service for years. In fact, when I logged in today to do my taxes, it offered me a discount on their premium service, since I have been such a good customer. Only $39.99 for me!

Awesome! Thanks, TurboTax! I click the accept button, knowing that state taxes would also be $34.99, bringing my total to $79.98.  Again, TurboTax is really easy, and I did my taxes, including pesky 1099-DIV and 1099-R forms easily. I go to e-file, and lo, the payment page comes up.



I check what I’m paying for:

  • Federal Premium service: $79.98
  • State: $34.99

I scratch my head. That’s not what the page said. That was the offer for NEW customers, not returning ones. And they know I’m a returning customer, because they imported my info from last year. I pop open a chat support window, and have the following conversation: (my comments in perens)


Please wait while we find an agent to assist you…

You have been connected to TurboTax Tech Support Guy. (Names changed to protect the innocent)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Thank you for contacting TurboTax Support, may I have a moment while I read your question, Mrs. Geek?

Me: Sure.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: If I have understood you correctly, you want to know why you have been taken to the Premier program asking to pay $79.95 for the Federal. Am I correct?

Me: I would like to know where my ‘returning customer discount’ went, yes.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Not to worry Mrs. Geek. I will certainly help you in resolving the issue. (Wow, right out of the ‘offer of assistance’ handbook.)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: May I know the name of the TurboTax product that you are using for your returns? Also is it Online or CD/Download version?

Me: Online, turbotax premier 2008

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Is that you used a link where you can get the premier program for $39.00?

Me: I used a link from the email turbo tax sent me to. It specifically asked me which version I wanted (basic or premium) and asked if I wanted the premium for 39$ because I was a returning customer.

Me: I chose that version, and continued my return.

Me: I’m in the same browser. I haven’t used another link to open it.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Can you help me with the email that you received stating that the Premier program is available for $39.00?

Me: I did not receive an email stating that.

Me: I clicked on a email I received, and it took me to the turbo tax page stating that.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Can you copy paste the email for me? (Ignores my last reply, because it doesn’t fit with what he already assumes my answer is.)

Me: If I log out and log back in, will it allow me to receive my discount?

Me: There is no mention of the 39$ fee in the email, Tech Support Guy.

Me: I can copy and paste it, but it doesn’t mention it.

Me: Do you still need me to copy and paste it?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Sure.

Me: Please click here if you are having trouble viewing this message.

TurboTax(R) – Choose Easy. #1 Rated BEST SELLING*

Lock in your LOW PRICE. Finish NOW and SAVE! Hurry – prices go up after March 27! Finish & File Today!

Your TurboTax User ID: bobsyouruncle (not my real user name. I don’t have an uncle bob)

Dear person,

Don’t wait! You are running out of time to take advantage of your LOW TurboTax(R) Online price. TurboTax provides you with the help and guidance you need to finish your re – snip (email cuts off in the chat window. he doesn’t get the whole thing)

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Just give me a moment so that I go through this email.

Me: Ok, but it doesn’t say anything about the 39$.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, in the email that you have pasted above, it is clearly stated that the price will go up after March 27. Now it is March 28, that is the reason why the program is not available for the mentioned price. (ARG)

Me: Tech Support Guy, you are not listening to me.

Me: Please listen to what I am saying: the email DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE DISCOUNT. (Which I already told you, up there.)

Me: The discount was offered to me TODAY.


Me: So the fact that the email says that DOES. NOT. MATTER. (breathe, geek. just breathe for a second. Rephrase the question.)

Me: Question: Is there a returning customer discount?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, i have checked and would like to inform that there are some discounts.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: In your case, what I can suggest you is, pay for the charges and contact us after 24 hours with the incident number that I can provide you, so that we can refund you for $20.00 the charges that you pay. Is that okay?

Me: No. (Whut?)

Me: I’m not paying you extra money now because you messed up.

Me: I’ll do my taxes elsewhere if that’s the case. If you can’t fix this simple mix up, how can I trust you to properly do my taxes?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Please note that as the discount is not applied to your order total, it is not possible to give you discount until you pay and get back. I can offer the price that you state that the program is offered at discount, if you pay and get back for refund. (ARRRG, that makes no sense!)

Me: What? That makes no sense. Your system has made a mistake. You’re telling me that I have to pay for the mistake NOW and then you can fix it? I haven’t put in my credit card yet; why can’t you give me a discount code or change the amount the system is billing me?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: As I said earlier, we can process the refund for the discount amount only after you have paid for it. There is no code that gives the discount. (Then why is there a ‘enter discount code here’ link, schmart guy?)

Me: I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.

Me: I will have to use a different service to file my taxes, and recommend to my friends and family that TurboTax is unreliable.

Me: Your system has a glitch. You can’t fix the glitch.

Me: Therefore, your system is unreliable.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Mrs. Geek, although you might not agree with my decision, I explained it so you can at least understand. (oooh, I made him mad!)

Me: No, I don’t understand.

Me: You told me something that makes little sense. I know it’s your script.

Me: I know you don’t have a better answer for me.

Me: But it’s a stupid answer. If I said “Do you want to buy this apple? It’s $1”

Me: and then when you tried to pay me, I said “Actually, it’s $40. Give me $40, and I promise I’ll give you $39 tomorrow”

Me: Does that sound right to you? It’s not. It’s what’s called a ‘bait and switch’.

Me: It’s actually illegal in most states.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: I do understand that such changes can be frustrating for you. (Changes? What changes? You fucking up is not a ‘change’)  But, that is the procedure we follow.

Me: How do I know that the ‘system’ won’t say that tomorrow I can’t have a refund?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: I will give you the refund reference incident number that has this conversation and the if you provide the number to the agent after paying, he/she will surely refund you for the discount amount.

Me: Just like the system will surely not over charge me in the first place?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: No, it will not. (Oh, it won’t? Then why am I talking to you?)

Me: how do I know that?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Firstly, it will not overcharge. Secondly, if overcharged, will will refund for all the over charges if any. (First, I won’t shoot you. Second, if I do shoot you, it will only be a little bit.)

Me: So, you’re saying I have to accept the ‘overcharge’, trust that you won’t actually overcharge me, and if you do, believe that you’ll give me the refund?

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: As an alternative, you can call us live so that we will charge you $39.00 for the Premier program and unlock the $79.00 charge. Is that okay?

Me: can you give me a incident number? I will call them, thank you.

TurboTax Tech Support Guy: Please make a note of the incident number: 123456


So I called them. Same deal: It was the price from yesterday. You can’t have it today. Oh, you were quoted that today? Pay the overcharge, and we’ll refund you.

Now, I’m a QA for tech support.  I understand that both of these techs were not speaking in their native language; even without the tell-tale accent, certain phrases are very, VERY common in overseas support. I’m fine with overseas support… as long as they actually listen to the customer. Both of these techs were dead sure that I was calling about a price I had been quoted in an email before. The gentleman on the phone actually interrupted what i was saying to tell me that.

I eventually persisted enough that I talked to a supervisor, who took my creditcard and charged me the correct amount, and then gave me a code for the website. I happily filed my taxes at that point.

The system wasn’t broken, but the Tech Support people were.

TurboTax, give that sup a high five. He listened to what I was actually saying, and didn’t give me a patently rediculous answer. Thank you.

Posted in GeekLife, Internet, Technology, Work | 5 Comments »

Test: Does this work?

Posted by mousewrites on January 27, 2009


Just a test of the Delicious Play Tagger.

EDIT: Yeah, ok, that totally doesn’t work. I was trying to embed the Javascript for playtagger into the page, and cheerfully strips it out every time. Le sigh.

Posted in GeekLife, Internet, Music, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Epic Fail.

Posted by mousewrites on November 30, 2008

catgirl army gearSo… It’s November 30th, around 9:30 PM. If all had gone according to plan, I should be somewhere around 49,000 words, pulling though the home stretch. My main character should be either in as much danger as superhumanly possible, or about 10 seconds from it.

Instead, she’s having a soda and a slice of pizza, blissfully unaware of the shadowy group about to pull her world down.

Yes, I fail. My final Nanowrimo count is 22,060, a full 27,940 words short of goal. I didn’t even make 50%. I am made of fail!

Yet, I do not despair. I have hope. I will continue to write, as I like this story, and have had some feedback from the couple of people who have read the work in progress that it just might polish up into something awesome. It has a mind-controlled emo catgirl army, for fuck’s sake. What could be better?

A finished novel could be better, I hear you cry.

Indeed, indeed. I know. But I’m happy with my WIP as it stands, and am optimistic for the future.

Posted in Writing | 5 Comments »


Posted by mousewrites on November 23, 2008

victory dance


Um, I mean… forsooth, a victory! I’ll keep going, but… hell yeah!


(Picture from  Code Arachn!d is back, via flickr, titled ‘victory dance’)

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Posted by mousewrites on November 22, 2008

death note.

This isn’t fun anymore. I can’t write. CAN”T WRITE. I suck, i’m worthless, i’m unmotivated… looking at my story is like staring into the sun. Why do I do this every year! Oh, to take arms against a sea of semicolons, and by opposing, end this madness that is NaNoWrimo! Take heed, my brave and noble savages, those of you with rightfacing hearts that never had the hubris of the ‘NaNo novelist’ who, with pen upraised and soul wrapped in cotton, thought to themselves ‘I can do this.’

You are the brave ones, the right ones. I? I am nothing but a ball of madness wrapped in a sweater, with dishes undone and fingers aching. I will continue, as I have left my tenuous sanity behind.

Remember me, when they find my broken form, bleeding words from a hundred thousand paper cuts. Remember me.


(Picture credit .diamond grave. via Flickr)

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Posted by mousewrites on November 12, 2008

Starting to stress. Tried to write for hours tonight… didn’t get very far. Have a long day of work and a date with the hubby tomorrow, so no writing then, either.

… this coming weekend will have to go better than the last if I’m going to survive this thing.


(awesome picture that sums up what i’m feeling right now by …rachael…)

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Posted by mousewrites on November 9, 2008

Second life

:: whimper :: didn’t catch up, but wrote a bunch.


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Posted by mousewrites on November 7, 2008

Snatched a few mins at work at lunch.

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3486 – I’m way behind and I don’t CARE

Posted by mousewrites on November 6, 2008


Because I have a plot.


(picture by the Pleb via Flickr)

Posted in Writing | 1 Comment »