Being Locked Out Of Quickbooks Leads To An Endless Series Of Upsells

Quickbooks from Intuit is a very popular piece of accounting software used by accountants and non-accountants alike. One of its more annoying features is that customers must call to register their software after purchase, or it won’t work. Brian writes that his problem with Quickbooks came when the registration code for his new copy of QuickBooks wouldn’t work, and Intuit wanted him to pay $40 for technical support in order to get help registering the software he had already paid for.

I had such a horrifying experience with Intuit’s Quickbooks Pro “registration” procedure last week that I thought was worth writing in about.

First of all, Quickbooks ain’t cheap, I paid $159.99 for a single-user license back in January (that was with a hefty discount applied). The software forces you to register after 30 days or it locks you out of the program. I had not needed to use it for awhile until last week, so I finally had to go register.

The online registration did not work. Instead, I got an error code and had to call in for phone registration. I call the number, wait on hold for a few minutes, and get someone to “walk me through the registration process” (her words). This “process” consists of probing questions about my business and personal information, followed by several attempts to sell additional products while the rep “generates” the activation code.

Unfortunately, the code that the CSR gave me did not work, I kept getting an error. At this point, the rep starts telling me that she can transfer me to tech support to fix the problem, but that I would have to sign up for this additional service for “a modest annual fee of $39.99.” Here’s my best attempt to recreate the remainder of the conversation:

Me: “But I already paid $159.99 for software that I am currently unable to use, you obviously can’t help me fix the problem, and you want me to pay you a fee just to talk to tech support?”

CSR: “Well, we can give you the first 30 days free, I just need your credit card number, and I am truly sorry for the inconvenience.”

Me: “Again, all I want is to be able to use software that I PAID FOR. I don’t want any add-on service, what I want is to be transferred to someone who can fix the registration issue so I can use Quickbooks.”

CSR: “I’m sorry sir, I can transfer you to technical support, but they require an activation code to help you, so you have to sign up for the service if you want additional help.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I am not accepting that as an answer, do you have a supervisor I can speak with?”

CSR: “My supervisor is in a meeting.”

By this point I had already wasted an hour on the phone with an Intuit CSR who was obviously instructed never to budge on this issue, so I gave in and took the add-on service, got through to tech support, and got Quickbooks working after another hour on the phone.

I am utterly appalled at the way I was treated. I just assumed that, since Quickbooks is relatively expensive, I would have access to at least some level of free tech support, especially since I was completely locked out of a program THAT I PAID FOR until the registration issue was resolved! The upsells while a “registration code is being generated” made the whole situation even worse.

I wrote Intuit an email about my experience, and have as yet heard nothing back.
Here’s a link to a website about Quickbooks registration problems. Seems like these issues might be widespread, wondering if any Consumerist readers out there have experienced something similar.