Personal Finance Software #3

After getting quite grumpy, they emailed me back to say they would send my request on to the software developers :)

I had to get quite nasty, though…

Here is what I wrote which broke through the barrier.

Email #1 which started it all:

Hi
I’ve just bought XXX 2006 and upgraded my databases from XXX 2002.

I think I have found a serious defect in XXX 2006 (which was not present in the 2002 version).

My customer ID is yyy

Details are:

When I transfer an existing shareholding from one brokerage account to another, the short term / long term state of the shares is not correctly transferred (the cost base is ok, but the holding period is not ok).

The effect of this is that the capital gains tax report is wrong, because the ultimate sale of the shares is recorded as a short term capital gain instead of a long term gain.

This means that customers in my situation who use XXX 2006 for preparing tax returns will pay the wrong amount of capital gains tax. This could be either too much or too little depending on the exact circumstances.

Here is an example:

I create two brokerage accounts.

I buy shares in one account on 1 Feb 1999.

I transfer those shares to the other account on 30 Jan 2005.

I sell those shares (from the second account) on 10 Feb 2005.

Because the ultimate ownership did not change, the transfer between accounts is not considered to be a sale, so there is no capital gains tax to pay.

The eventual sale reflects an ownership period of just over 6 years (1 Feb 99 -> 10 Feb 2005). This is clearly a long term capital gain or loss.

When I do this using XXX 2002, the capital gains tax report is fine.

When I do this using XXX 2006, the capital gains tax report ERRONEOUSLY classifies the sale as short term (because it is using the period from the transfer to the sale).

This defect in XXX 2006 is so serious that I cannot use it. I have dumped it and reverted to the 2002 version, however, I would really like to upgrade.

Can you please refer this to your software people URGENTLY to get a patch? I’m sure I would not be the only customer you have who finds the product does not work correctly.

I am attaching 2 ZIP files for your further info. These are the databases created using XXX 2002 and XXX 2006. Each has the same transactions with the same dates. Each is set to show a capital gains report. You will see from these that XXX 2002 gets it right, and XXX 2006 gets it wrong.

Thanks and Regards

Wally

This got me a reply about how I could check the knowledge base, or find a trainer, or call their their paid support line at a mere $4.95 PER MINUTE.

My email #2 seems to have eventually done the trick:

Hello zzzzz

If this email service cannot be used to report what I believe to be a software defect, then how do I do so?

To address your points:

- I am running XXX 2002 and 2006 on the same PC. I DO NOT have a PC configuration or hardware problem.

- I don’t need training. I’ve been using XXX 2002 for 4 years and I have just bought an upgrade to 2006. when I set up the SAME transactions in 2006, I get DIFFERENT results to the SAME transactions in 2002.

- I have used the knowledge base on the web site, and there is nothing there to help me.

- I have read the help files for capital gains reports and they don’t tell me anything useful either.

- I don’t want to pay $4.90 per minute to report what seems to me to be a BUG in your program!!!!!

- I’d like to report this BUG and GET it ESCALATED to A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, PLEASE.

To give you some background: I’m not some mug dumbo punter off the street!  I’ve been writing software for large companies (much of it military standard) for nearly 20 years. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m doing driving a PC, and using Windows programs. I can see the correct answers in XXX 2002, and the incorrect answers in XXX 2006. I’ve done the comparative testing for you. I’ve sent attachments with databases where I have reproduced the issue so your developers have an easy life. I’ve set out the steps I went through. (I know this all to be important (in the company I now work for I’m the manager who gets it in the neck  just like I’m doing to you when software does not work as expected, and I know how important it is to have the steps to reproduce, and a simple example).

What do I have to do to either:

a. Get my money back; or

b. (preferably) Get a developer to look at this and either tell me I’ve done something really stupid, or to release a patch to fix the program.

Furthermore, as it stands XXX 2006 will be generating INCORRECT capitals gains reports.

YOUR CUSTOMERS USING THIS SOFTWARE WILL BE LODGING INCORRECT RETURNS WITH THE ATO, AND MAY PAY EITHER TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE TAX.

THEY WILL GET FINED IN AUDITS.

IF YOU DON’T FIX IT THEY COULD SUE YOU!!!!

You cannot just brush this off.

Regards

Wally

A very unhappy customer

As John Cleese would say… “Sometimes you have to go nyucketd nyucketd nyucketd!!!”

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