Don’t fuck with my finances

Friday, November 23, 2007

We all know that Intuit (the maker of Quicken) treats its customers like crap, yet there are few alternatives for a Canadian wanting to maintain proper personal financial records, especially when they are multi-currency. I’m sure that Microsoft Money would also do this, but the time spent converting my 10+ years of records just doesn’t seem worth it, and there’s really no guarantee that I’m not going to have a whole raft of other problems with MS Money.

In their latest "screw the customer" ploy, Intuit forced me to upgrade from my reliable old 2002 version of Quicken, which did everything that I need it to do, by stating that after the end of the year, bank downloads and securities/fund price updates would no longer work. Bank downloads I can live with, since I could have just blocked Quicken from getting through my firewall and used the old .QIF format for downloading instead of the online exchange format, but I really need to have my securities and fund prices updated so that I know how my portfolio’s doing.

Shortly after updating, I noticed that it had downloaded some historical pricing data from around August — even though I had not requested any historical price downloads — that were totally screwed up: most of the Canadian equities were 10x what they should have been. Note that my old version of Quicken, which I had been using at the time of the faulty prices, had not picked up the bogus prices; I checked the Quicken forums for a discussion on that topic, and found that it is only the recent Quicken versions that are having this problem. I hand-deleted all the bogus prices in order to get my historical numbers back where they should be, completely unimpressed.

Today, I did my usual update in Quicken, and imagine my surprise to see that my portfolio had jumped by a huge amount overnight. Again, it looks like most of the Canadian equity prices are downloading at 10x what they should be.

The only response on the post on the Quicken forum is from an Intuit employee from June 22nd — presumably when the problem first appeared — who stated:

Hello All,
We are aware of the recent issue with the Canadian security prices and are investigating the cause of this issue. We hope to have this corrected as soon as possible–
Thanks for your patience–

Okay, I don’t have any patience left for this, so don’t bother thanking me. The other 7 pages of posts on this topic are filled with people who also don’t have patience for this. A single message from Intuit, left five months ago, as the only feedback on this recurring problem is completely inadequate. These are my finances, you idiots, not my recipe file! I’m extremely concerned with accuracy, and you should be even more concerned than I am about said accuracy.

I’ve just sent Intuit customer support an email, which they claim that they’ll respond to within two business days:

Canadian investment prices that are downloaded to Quicken are 10x what they should be in today’s update. This same error occurred a few months ago, which did not impact the 2002 version of Quicken that I was using at the time, but did get downloaded as historical price errors once I "upgraded" to the 2008 version. I had to hand-delete all of the bad price data from my portfolio and manually type in with prices from my brokerage.

Considering that I was forced to upgrade from 2002 under threat of losing the ability to update stock prices, the fact that the prices are broken is a bit ironic.

Let’s see what happens.

Update: they appear to have fixed the problem of today’s prices, and have downloaded price data that overwrites the previous 10x numbers. I’m still concerned about the larger issue of what they’re doing to prevent this obviously recurring problem in the future.

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