I’ve been using Mint.com since December when K. expressed her love for it. It’s been a long time since I tried for a comprehensive view of my finances, and it’s been a fascinating learning experience.
Mint.com has a few tremendous features, chief among them its attractive and generally usable interface. When that interface fails though, it does so spectacularly, and getting help from their customer support team is a study is poor reading comprehension.
The big interface issue causing me to consider deleting my account revolves around their “rules”. Mint.com tries to smartly categorize your various transactions, automatically converting a semi-cryptic credit card entry from “Lucky #757 000000000SAN JOSE” to “Lucky” and placing it in the “Grocery” category.
Extremely handy when it works.
Extremely frustrating when it doesn’t, and it often doesn’t. The problems start when Mint.com gives two distinct transactions the same “smart” name, for example, turning both “AMAZON DIGITAL SVCS 866-216-107″Â and Â “AMAZON.COM AMZN.COM/BI” into simply “Amazon” and putting them into “Shopping”.
Well, I’d actually like to have the former renamed to “Amazon MP3 Store” and categorize it as “Music”. Mint.com lets me do that… kinda: I can rename their displayed name (“Amazon”) to anything I want.
Of course, since Mint.com considers both “AMAZON DIGITAL SVCS 866-216-107” andÂ “AMAZON.COM AMZN.COM/BI” to be simply “Amazon”,changing the former alsoÂ changes the latter!Â
They’re basically offering me onlyÂ the opportunity to rename their already modified names! I have no ability to use the original name as the basis of my edits!
Poor Reading Comprehension
This gets beyond annoying interface behavior and into the realm of poor customer service when I decided to write them and ask about this behavior.
I’m trying to understand how the “Rules” system works. For example, I have three transactions, all from Amazon. They’re listed in various ways on my credit card:
[Credit Card] calls this MUSIC DWNLDS
[Credit Card] calls this AMAZON DIGITAL SVCS
[Credit Card] calls this AMAZON.COM AMZN.COM/BI
The Rules system for all three say
“You have a rule that renames Amazon…”
But why is it called “Amazon” in your system, rather than “MUSIC DWNLDS”, as it’s reported on my credit card? The current system makes it impossible to correctly assign transactions to the most appropriate categories. For example, while “AMAZON.COM AMZN.COM/BI” might be “Shopping”, “MUSIC DWNLDS” should be “Music”.
Why aren’t I able to have rules based on what the entry is actually called, rather than an arbitrary name Mint has assigned it?
And where can I change those arbitrary names?
About a week or so later, they respond:
Dear Jason, Â Â
Thank you for contacting Mint.com.
If you would like to edit your existing rules, please do the following:
1. Go to the transactions’ page.
2. Go to the “edit rules” link located above the transactions.
3. A box will appear with all of your rules. Please locate the rule that you want to edit or delete.
Hm. I don’t recall asking how to change my existing rules. The closest I came was asking how to change Mint.com’s arbitrary names.
I would have put this off as one bad rep, too busy with real problems to do more than read my last line incorrectly… except I’d received similar bad responses before. When I wrote:
My E*Trade account stopped working 3 days ago with a “wrong password”. Thing is, I haven’t changed my password, so it can’t be that….
Why is E*Trade suddenly not working and telling me my password is wrong?
They responded after a couple of weeks:
I believe that your issue with E*TRADE Â has been resolved as it is already added to your Mint account. If you encounter another problem, please contact us again athttps://wwws.mint.com/contact.event#contact-form.
Um… I didn’t write saying I couldn’t add my E*Trade account! I said your system thinks the password it has is wrong!
I’m in a customer service position. I know how difficult it can be to satisfy a customer, especially if you don’t have enough information, or have no good answers. However, in these cases, it’s always best to probe for more data or admit to the lack of a solution.Â
In the case of the rules problem, searching the forums reveals dozens, perhaps hundreds of similar complaints: it’s a well-known problem. If Mint.com had provided even a non-answer of “we’re aware of some of the weaknesses in the rules system and we’re working on improving its functionality” I’d completely understand and wait for eventual updates.
Instead I’m left frustrated by a non-answer that reads like it came from an automated response generator with poor pattern matching behavior.
Which might explain the bad rules functionality.