March 22, 2007

Intuit's Amazing Web Pricing Roulette

Greetings. Earlier this year, over on Dave Farber's IP list, I noted my disgust with Intuit's upgrade pricing policy and related customer service discussions -- what I called "Intuit's 'Bait & Switch'" -- which amounted to no discount at all if you only wanted the basic Quicken upgrade.

Now it's time for a much more bizarre installment -- "Intuit's Amazing Web Pricing Roulette" ... and if this ends up looking confusing, that's because it is.

At the present time, depending on exactly how you hit the Intuit Quicken Web site, you may be presented with different prices for the same product (in my test cases, Quicken Basic).

In tests so far, I've been offered three different prices:

-- $29.99 (regular retail -- typical store price and what I was originally told was the only available online price whether upgrading or not).

-- $24.89 (with free shipping -- worthless if you download the package -- this one may be difficult to find, so here's proof).

-- $19.99 (the lowest price)

Which of these prices you will see on their Web site appears to depend on a mix of factors. Whether or not you say you are upgrading does not seem to have an effect.

A key issue appears to be your cookie settings.

If your cookies are off, you are likely to see $29.99. If your cookies are on, you will most likely be offered $19.99.

In at least some cases, if you try to order at $29.99 with cookies off, you'll be told to turn cookies on, then you'll see $19.99 after you've done so. In other cases, you may find $29.99 (or $24.89) carried down all the way through the purchase process (here's an example of the high price being used).

I am seeing different results depending on the exact sequencing of pages, cookies, and Web browser in use (e.g. Firefox vs. IE).

I have not attempted to delineate all possible permutations or the underlying "rationale" for this behavior, but I would obviously urge extreme caution in dealing with this site.


Posted by Lauren at March 22, 2007 12:21 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein