[funsec] Fwd: [ PRIVACY Forum ] Intuit's Amazing Web Pricing Roulette

rms at computerbytesman.com rms at computerbytesman.com
Thu Mar 22 16:01:30 CDT 2007

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [ PRIVACY Forum ]  Intuit's Amazing Web Pricing Roulette
From:    privacy at vortex.com
Date:    Thu, March 22, 2007 3:45 pm
To:      privacy-list at vortex.com

                    "Intuit's Amazing Web Pricing Roulette"

                ( http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000218.html )

Greetings.  Earlier this year, 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'"
( http://www.vortex.com/bt/quicken1.txt ) -- 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 ( http://quicken.intuit.com ), 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:
            http://www.vortex.com/bp/quicken-firefox.jpg ).

 -- $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:
http://www.vortex.com/bp/quicken-ie.jpg ).

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.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren at vortex.com or lauren at pfir.org
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, IOIC
   - International Open Internet Coalition - http://www.ioic.net
Founder, CIFIP
   - California Initiative For Internet Privacy - http://www.cifip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
DayThink: http://daythink.vortex.com
privacy mailing list

More information about the funsec mailing list