19 Most Hated Companies in America

Gus Lubin and Vivian Giang reports for The Atlantic, July 3, 2011, that the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rates companies based on thousands of surveys.
In the latest index, the most-hated companies include major airlines like Delta, large banks like Bank of America, power and telecom companies, and social media like Facebook.
ACSI’s David VanAmburg has an explanation: “These are not terribly competitive industries, as the switching barriers for most of them are quite high. In other industries, like the food or clothing sector, the competition is huge. They bend over backwards to make customers happy, because they have to.”
Using that explanation, if the U.S. federal, state, and local governments were included in ACSI’s surveys, no doubt they will rank at the very top as the most hated institutions in America.
Here are America’s 19 most hated companies:
19. Bank of America
Satisfaction rating: 68/100
Customers complain of excessive fees for overdraft and other services and are pursuing lawsuits over illegal charges. The bank is America’s largest mortgage servicer and the slowest to respond to clients, according to Treasury reports. In recent years it has blundered through countless foreclosure horror stories. Meanwhile, as with other large banks, BoA offers dismal rates for savings. Bank of America was the second lowest rated bank.
18. Dish Network
Common complaints include incorrect billing and bad customer service. In 2009, Dish Network paid nearly $6 million to settle allegations that the company practiced misleading consumer marketing and lacked full disclosure when dealing with costs and fees. The agreement was made between Dish Network and 46 attorneys general. Dish’s rating has lost four points since the last year.
17. Cox Communications
Satisfaction rating: 67/100
Common complaints include unexpected extra fees including up to $480 to cancel service Cox has maintained its satisfaction rating since the previous year, affirming its lead on Time Warner, Comcast, and Charter. Cox has actually been touted as a success story compared to other cable companies. That said, cable companies in general are liked less than satellite, according to ASCI.
16. Pacific Gas & Electric
Satisfaction rating: 67/100
Common complaints include the company’s plans to raise electric rates and multiple investigations into recklessness. In June 2011, PG&E agreed to pay $26 million in fines for a gas explosion that fatally wounded a man and injured five others. It is currently the largest fine assigned by the California Public Utilities Commission.The company is still under investigation for a gas line explosion that killed eight people in September 2010.
15. JP Morgan Chase
Satisfaction rating: 67/100
Common complaints include absurdly high overdraft fees according to a Federal Court suit and other complaints associated with big banksJPMorgan Chase suffered from its rebranding, as the reorganization was slow and some branches took a long time to present the new brand. The company’s consumer rating has steadily decreased since 2007, as costumers perceive the bank to be more impersonal with growth, according to ACSI.
14. AT&T Mobility
Satisfaction rating: 66/100
Common complaints include dropped calls — especially in New York City, San Francisco, and other major metropolitan areas — and limited coverage.AT&T has had problems ever since taking on the popular, data-heavy iPhone as an exclusive product. The lack of choices for smartphone users was one of the biggest complaints the company faced, but AT&T recently adopted a new, tier plan, which will phase out unlimited data plans for new subscribers. Instead, consumers will be able to choose between cheaper, capped plans.
13. L.A. Dept of Water & Power
Satisfaction rating: 66/100
Common complaints include billing problems and disputes over proposed charge hike within the next three years.Consumers claim the LADWP is intentionally issuing bills late in order to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees. The LADWP is also seeking to raise electric and water rates for their consumers in order to afford the new renewable energy commitment set forth by the city of Los Angeles. If approved – it will be up to the Los Angeles City Council – increases in charges for consumers would hike to more than 15 percent for water and 16 percent for power over the next three years.
12. Long Island Power Authority
Satisfaction rating: 65/100
Common complaints include billing glitches resulting in the company overcharging customers at least $230 million in the past 10 years. Merely days after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state inspector general to audit LIPA’s electricity rates, the energy utility company hired their own auditor. Governor Cuomo’s move came after a decade of questionable overbilling practices by the LIPA. The company claims the overcharges resulted from a faulty formula they were using and have since began returning the money to consumers.
11. UnitedHealth
Satisfaction rating: 65/100
Common complaints include coverage denials, mishandling claims and miscommunication. In 2007, UnitedHealth paid $12 million to 37 states for allegations of mishandling claims and administrative practices. The National Insurance Commissioner requested that the healthcare company be monitored in their claim practices through 2010.Although UnitedHealth is ranked the lowest in its industry by ACSI, the company’s employer satisfaction is the highest in the nation’s self-insured commercial health plans, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Employer Health Insurance Plan Study.
10. Facebook
Satisfaction rating: 64/100
A common complaint includes user’s privacy and personal information protection. Social networkers worry about privacy and sometimes complain when Facebook introduces new features, like the news feed. Or when Facebook shuts down apps without warning users beforehand, like they did recently to tens of thousands of apps.ACSI began measuring social media sites in 2010 and ratings may have a few kinks to work out. Wikipedia earned the top score at 77.
9. MySpace
Satisfaction rating: 63/100
Common complaints include privacy and personal information protection and bad interface.My Space does not attract new subscribers to its service and its traffic is slowly decreasing. Parent News Corp is still trying to find some way it can compete with Facebook.
8. American Airlines
Satisfaction rating: 63/100
Common complaints include baggage fees and service cutbacks, as with most airlines.American Airlines’s satisfaction rating has not changed since the previous year.
7. United Airlines
Satisfaction rating: 61/100
Common complaints include flight delays and baggage fees. A recent unexplainable computer glitch resulted in the airline canceling 31 flights and delaying 105 more. Overweight bags could cost passengers $100-$200 a piece. Service cutbacks, as with most airlines, is another concern for consumers.The merger between United Airlines and Continental might have influenced the bad score of the company in consumer satisfaction. According to ACSI, a big merger in service companies usually have a negative impact on customer services in the short-term, because of organization issues. The company’s ratings has increased steadily since 2007.
6. US Airways
Satisfaction rating: 61/100
Common complaints include low-ratings for cabin-crew service, baggage fees and baggage handling, a lack of entertainment options and poor communication regarding delays. The company is currently censured by the Department of Transportation for its lack of communication with travelers.In June 2011, the airline carrier paid $45,000 in fines for failing to include the law-required applicable taxes and fees on the same page as a print advertisement on air fare.
5. Charter Communications
Satisfaction rating: 59/100
Common complaints include improper billing practices – which led to a class action settlement in 2004 – and poor customer service following the closing of domestic call centers in 2006. The Better Business Bureau issued a warning to Charter in 2007 following numerous complaints. In 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy and was forced to cut cost and downsize heavily.Within the next few months, Charter’s subscribers will increase by 16,000 in Missouri with the acquisition of Texas-based U.S. Cable.
4. Comcast
Satisfaction rating: 59/100
Complaints include poor communication of upgrade and billing changes, lost channels for customers who didn’t upgrade to digital box or digital-ready TV, long waiting time for technicians and price hikes.Comcast announced that a new dispatch system will cut wait-time for repairs and installations in half by 2012. One of the largest cable companies in terms of revenue, it remains one of the worst in terms of customer satisfaction. Comcast has decreased two points since the previous year.
3. Time Warner Cable
Satisfaction rating: 59/100
Time Warner has been a public relations disaster for at least a decade. Blunders include usage caps, fees increasing each year faster than inflation and fraudulent business acts and bad services. In June 2011, a lawsuit was filed against Time Warner for refusing to make closed captioning available on CNN’s online videos after being notified by disgrunted consumers. Recently it also aired pornography on children’s channels.
2. Delta Airlines
Satisfaction rating: 56/100
Complaints include additional costs for food, beverages and baggage fees. The airline collected more than $952 million in baggage fees from flyers in 2010, almost twice as much as any other airline carrier.Since acquiring Northwest airlines in 2008, Delta’s consumer satisfaction score has plunged. According to ACSI, a big merger in service companies usually have a negative impact on customer services in the short-term, because of organization issues. Delta’s rating dropped another 6 points this year.
And now the No. 1 most hated company in America….
Satisfaction rating: 54/100
Potomac Electric had among the worst ratings in various power reliability studies, according to Washington Post. The average Pepco customer experienced 70 percent more outages than customers of other big city utilities that took part in one 2009 survey, and the lights stayed out more than twice as long. The unreliable services resulted in the adoption of the “Pepco bill,” in March 2011, requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to hold electric providers accountable for service quality standards.

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lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
8 years ago

I’m surprised GE is not on the list. They made good products back in the 1950s & 1960s. Now all their stuff is cheap plastic crap.

8 years ago

Bank of America learned it’s nasty banking practices from Wells Fargo… which was much worse until it got its butt sued off and had to pay back a lot of money.

8 years ago

I also stopped using B of A years ago. There were numerous hidden fees, etc… all with a smile on their face. And always trying to get you to sign-up for something else, “We have this new program, it’s called, ‘”How much MORE money can we squeeze out of you…we have taken, er, um, helped you with your money and banking needs since the 90’s…?”‘… LOL…