I know I don’t post here on DarqByte anymore, really. I’m resorting to coming here to lodge another complaint to the public at large, much in the same way I did regarding Bar Louie. Hell, that post was actually useful. It got a dialogue going with them and, from what I understand, led to some changes to try to keep that kind of thing from happening again. Didn’t keep them from eventually closing, though. The reason? Poor service. Hah!
Anyway, I’ve decided to take my case against Mint.com to the interwebs. It’s sad, really, because I think when Mint actually works, it’s a phenomenal service. Being able to collect all of your financial accounts into one place and look at your actual total monetary usage across all of them is one of the most useful things I’ve ever really used. Sadly, I can’t really use Mint anymore.
I actually used Quicken Online starting in February of 2008 back before they acquired Mint. I thought QO was pretty good, save for a few things I wanted from the service. When they got ahold of Mint and I saw the feature set that Mint had, I decided to close out my QO account and open a Mint one. After some initial issues where they didn’t actually support connecting to my bank account (or to Laura’s credit card account), we were finally able to get all of our data into Mint. Thus began a happy stretch of actual, usable Mint. It was awesome.
Then came this year. April 7th is the first time I had to email Mint’s support team about issues. This one was a bit minor – my truck loan is with my credit union and the loan was available in Mint, but listed as a checking account. I couldn’t reclassify it as a loan. I got ahold of Mint regarding this issue and it wasn’t resolved until later, due to another entirely unrelated thing. They never really fixed the issue. They said I had to classify it as Other, but it still kept showing up in my account as positive money, not negative. I asked them why this wasn’t possible and never got a real response. In fact, they suggested for me to re-add my credit union account to Mint.
Oh well, I thought. Minor bump in the road, I knew all about my truck loan. Then came April 27th. Well, it was a bit before April 27th, but that’s the email I have with them. My credit union took down their entire online account access section for a couple days. Two days later (likely around the 27th) it came back up again and it was a totally different account management section. Much nicer look, more capabilities, better information. A good change. Mint, sadly, kept listing the account as having a Temporary Issue and it couldn’t collect data anymore.
I told Mint that they totally changed their backend system and I believed this to be the problem. I gave them lots of details too, pertinent details that would be useful to a software engineer. I mean… I am a software engineer, so Mint can’t really get things by me. They got back to me and sounded very confused and said that if I was having problems accessing an account, I had to jump through hoops in their account management interface inside Mint in order for things to get auto-reported to their engineering team. It was a load of bullshit and not even remotely intuitive. I’m a fucking software engineer for Christ’s sake and it wasn’t obvious to me. How about the average person, hmm Mint?
I started getting very irritated in my emails to them. I try very hard not to shoot the messenger when dealing with customer support representatives because they’re not the ones responsible for a problem. God knows the CS reps here at my job get blamed for all sorts of stuff and have to deal with royally pissed off gamers, so I always try to be nice. But it was wearing thin for me, especially since the data access wasn’t restored after over a week.
After two weeks I finally got the formal response that my credit union had changed service providers for their backend. They said I had to close out my existing credit union account and re-attach it in order for things to work properly. I thought this sounded a bit dumb, but I know how software architecture can be and maybe their system couldn’t handle an existing account switching a backend data provider. Thus, I begrudgingly did this. Note now that it’s about mid-May. All of this bullshit happened after I moved here to Los Angeles and Laura and I were operating long-distance on a single bank account. Knowing financials in such a situation is a critical thing!
So I re-added my credit union, and ended up with three problems immediately. On the one hand, I wanted the transactions listed in my now-closed accounts to be attributed to the ones I just re-added. After a few emails to their support team, I got the impression they couldn’t do this, but never got a straight answer. The second problem was that my transactions for the missing period at the end of my “old” account’s closure and the “new” account’s opening were missing, thus giving me an incomplete picture of my financials. These eventually got downloaded and worked out, after I dealt with problem #3. But the biggest problem was indeed #3 – I had duplicate checking, savings and loan accounts listed.
Mint, for some inexplicable reason, kept creating duplicate accounts underneath my credit union’s data. At one point I had four credit union checking accounts listed, each with a small number of transactions attributed to them. I emailed Mint about this, obviously, and they told me that my account was in a batch update mode and that I should avoid touching it for 24 hours. What a solution! Sheesh. It needs to handle customers having no idea what the hell is going on and logging in anyway. I ended up deleting the newly added credit union account and re-added it again. Initially, it held just one copy of checking, savings and loan. But it added a few more again, so I pretty much just washed my hands of Mint at the time and walked away.
About a couple weeks later I returned, hoping to salvage Mint and get things in order. Thankfully, the duplicate accounts had no transactions associated with them and no more had been created. I was able to mark them as closed and move on. In fact, the batch process had downloaded all of the missing transactions that I was looking for. After spending a couple hours classifying transactions and getting the budget numbers in line, our Mint account now finally looked like it should!
Ah, but all was not so happy in Mintland. The next day I saw several transactions with PreAuthorization listed in their description. I emailed Mint about this on June 12th. I’d never seen preauth transactions look like regular transactions in Mint before – my credit card has preauth transactions as well, and those show up in italics in Mint and go away when the real transaction hits. I figured my credit union would operate in the same manner, but apparently not. I told Mint about this happening and their response was to have me mark it as a duplicate manually in Mint. I asked if they could automatically be filtered out and no dice there either. They did tell me that I could delete the transaction as long as I edited some of the details on it. I tried that and never got a delete link like their emails said would appear. All I can do is allow them to show up and then manually mark them all as duplicates. That’s a lot of manual legwork, on top of the fact that the duplicates clog up my view of my transactions, giving me a page of about 1/3 dupes. Thus management of my Mint account had now gotten a lot worse.
So I’d been operating in that fashion for about two months when suddenly Mint was again unable to connect to my credit union to download transactions. Yet again I had to get ahold of Mint customer support. By this point I still had wrap-up emails coming in for prior issues with automated “please take this survey” crap coming in, so I didn’t even know which emails were related to which problems at this point. I explained to the Mint representative that nothing had changed with my credit union website or login information. But just to be save, I changed my credit union password and reflected the change in Mint. It would just sit there interminably trying to login and get transactions. It never got anywhere.
Finally the representative asked for some pretty exhaustive information to send along to the Mint engineering team, so I got happy that they were finally going to get actively involved in my problem. I sent all of that information in about 10 days ago. And guess what? Not a single goddam email back. Nothing. And the problem is still happening, right now.
So right now, I really can’t use Mint, because I can’t access any of my transactions from my credit union. And when things finally do work again, I’m going to have to spend forever and a goddam year categorizing and renaming transactions that represent the gap in access. Of course, that’s assuming that Mint is smart enough to fill that gap. With my luck, it’ll just download the last 5-10 and be done with it, making August an impossible month to step back and financially review.
So I’ve about had it. I want recommendations for a solid Mint competitor that is reliable, usable and actually responds to their customers. This is just ridiculous. All of these problems happened within a half-year window. It’s frightening, really, that my financial information is in the hands of this company. I’ll probably shut down my Mint login here pretty soon, as it’s getting me nothing but heartache and agony in return.
Or maybe I’ll get lucky and some high-ranking person at Mint will actually consider what I’ve gone through to be a travesty and they’ll fucking do something about it.