Saturday, February 26, 2005

New Plugs, Clean MAF and Still Low IAM

As mentioned earlier, my ECU doesn't seem to want to advance the IAM above 11-12 when running on the stock map, indicating that it's encountering detonation and reducing timing advance. Well, I've tried new spark plugs (NGK IX Iridiums, stock heat range) and cleaned the MAF with electrical contact cleaner, but the IAM remains the same.

So either it's normal for cars with the fuel I'm running here in southern California, or there's something else in my engine causing excessive detonation, possibly a manufacturing defect leading to a hot-spot, excessive oil blowby or ??? I need to find out what a normal IAM is for stock WRXs running on California fuel before going any further...

TaxCut Sucks

I ordered TaxCut software back in October as they are a bit cheaper than the main competition (TurboTax) and were also throwing in free state with the purchase of federal as well. The price is for the downloaded version, and I immediately downloaded the federal version.

However, the state version (California) was not yet ready and was informed that I'd receive an email when it was ready for download.

1 month later (November) I received the email and set it aside knowing that I didn't have any of my tax documents ready so didn't need the software yet.

Last week (a bit over 2 months since I received notification that state was available for download) I go to download the State software and find that I can't. Apparently your download is only good for 60 days from the date of purchase, at which point you need to pay another $4.99 to "backup" your download for an additional 2 years.

At this point I'm furious as I've now paid for software which I've never received! I also find out that I need to turn in my rebate form within 30 days of purchase so I've lost out on that as well.

I guess that's what I get for not reading the fine print, but I contact their customer support anyway and tell them the situation. They do not budge after chatting with their customer service for 30 minutes.

Like it's going to actually cost them anything to let me download something I never downloaded in the first place! It probably cost them more than $4.99 to pay the customer service rep to chat with me for that long. I could understand TaxCut's position if I had actually received the software and then lost it but I feel like I've paid extra to get something I never received.

I imagine that a lot of customers have been caught by these loopholes and that is how they are making a significant amount of extra revenue. I feel that it is shady practice, so I am recommending to everyone to avoid TaxCut software.

Their main competitor TurboTax while costing a few bucks more up-front at least appears to offer an immediate rebate on the state product with the purchase of federal saving you from the hassle of filling out any rebate forms. In the future I'll be using TurboTax and recommending that product to all friends and colleages.