TurboTax’s Deceptive Marketing


Intuit, TurboTax’s parent company, is faced with having to return USD 141 million to an estimated 4.4 million customers who were duped by TurboTax campaigns that promised free tax filing services from 2016 to 2018, only to force users to pay a fee anyway. A lawsuit against the company found that Intuit had intentionally suppressed ad links to its free service, even rerouting customers who used the federal government’s free filing partnership with TurboTax to services that they had to pay for, putting strain on low-income filers who thought they’d be getting a free service. This short case examines the misleading TurboTax campaigns and asks students to discuss them in the context of ethics, marketing, and advertising.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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