April 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM ET
If you're running a site which guides people through the process of completing their tax returns, you should really make sure that it doesn't suffer an outage — especially as the deadline to file federal tax returns looms. And if a service outage does happen? Well, then you might want to cancel any scheduled tweets that discuss the importance of dependence.
Intuit, maker of TurboTax, learned this lesson the hard way on Sunday evening, when the online service associated with the popular tax preparation software became unavailable and customers who consulted the company's official Twitter account for help found only generic "tips."
"[On Sunday], TurboTax Online was intermittently unavailable for some customers for about 1 hour, from approx. 6:40 p.m to 7:50 p.m. PT," a spokesperson for Intuit told NBC News. "We resolved the issue and performance was fully restored. There have been no further issues. The site was never totally offline, many customers continued to work and complete their returns. However, we apologize to those customers that were unable to successfully complete some portion of their tax filing process during that time."
Just as customers were starting to notice that something wasn't right, the @TurboTax Twitter account posted a message: "Dependence isn’t always great, but it is at #tax time! Aren't you curious to find out why? #TaxBreaks #TurboTaxTip http://tax.sh/Zrx4Ny"
"You guys should probably stop promoting your service on Twitter right now, since, you know, it’s not working… #TurboTax #Fail," a Twitter user replied rather quickly.
"[W]e did have some last minute tips scheduled on Twitter to help filers complete their returns," the Intuit spokesperson told NBC News. "As soon as we realized this, we immediately canceled them and focused on helping our customers."
Perhaps next year Intuit will have someone manually tweet during the final days of tax season. Just in case.
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