Administrivia, General Chaos

H&R Blockheads

Here's a tale of how not to do customer service, or write commercial software, or to do business generally.

Back in December, I downloaded a copy of H&R Block's Tax Cut Deluxe for Mac OS X. I figured this was a win–I've used Tax Cut for my returns for the past 5 years, and now I could do it on the Mac, instead of rebuilding all of my return data in a new package. Well, a few things happened along the way–a drive crash, a Powerbook getting pulled off a desk by a cat, the usual–and I didn't get to import my last year's return data until last week.

Which was when I found out I couldn't. The interface was there to do it, and it pulled up a file list, but I couldn't select the file to import. It was like they just hadn't gotten around to writing that module or something.

In fact, that was exactly what it was. I called tech support, and the poor sap on the other end said, “That's the first thing Mac users complain about.”

“So is it getting fixed?” I asked. ” Is there a workaround?”

“Nope,” was his reply.

So I called customer service. And they told me that I was S-O-L; they didn't do exchanges and had a strict 30-day return policy. That was all.

I got them to let me talk to a manager, and mentioned that this particular absence of feature wasn't documented anywhere , and that there was no mention of this particular bug on the tech support site. I mentioned the word, “fraud.”

So they gave me a refund.

Now I'm stuck–I guess I have to run out and buy the damn PC version of TaxCut again. But next year, TaxCut gets the axe.


A picture named 85.jpgZoe went down her first big slide this weekend, at the Rogers Forge Tot Lot. We spent about an hour there, snapping Zoe action photos and playing, but it was a little too windy and nippy for us, so we bagged it and headed home.


Another avid heard from

A picture named cowbird.jpgNow, we’ve got brown-headed cowbirds hitting our feeder–8 at a time. The boat-tailed grackles have hung around, too, though the redwing blackbirds seem to have moved on. We’ve not seen the cowbirds here before in the six years we’ve lived in this house; I don’t recall seeing them inside city limits before at all.