January 31, 2005 11:01 AM PST
Taxpayers get unexpected return--sex chat
Not exactly the kind of message you expect to hear in the middle of doing your taxes, but that's just what some TurboTax customers are getting as they try to set up their state returns.
A message in the business version of Intuit's market-leading tax preparation software erroneously directs customers to a sex talk operation.
The message pops up when TurboTax Business users advance to their state tax return and decide they need to file for more than the single state return supported in the product. The message in the software tells them they can purchase software for additional states, at $30 each, online or by calling an 800 number.
That number goes straight to Intimate Encounters, which bills itself as "the exciting new way to go live, one-on-one, with hot...girls waiting to talk with you." The pre-recorded message on the site makes no mention of tax preparation services, although you never know what you can get for 99 cents a minute.
Intuit acknowledges the mistake in a customer support alert that offers another 800 number but doesn't admit where the original one goes.
An Intuit representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Paki Papaioanu, president of SyncroVision, an IT services firm in Somerville, Mass., discovered the typo as he was installing tax software for clients.
Papaioanu said he initially tried to order state software over the Web but found Intuit's site a little confusing when it came to which product he needed. He decided he needed to talk to a real person and called the 800 number listed.
"I thought it was going to take me to India, and then I got...this," he said. "I thought I dialed the wrong number. They don't usually talk to you like that at a tax operation."
"We're all having a really good laugh about this," Papaioanu said. "It's kind of amazing nobody checked this before the CDs went into production."
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