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Comcast 'wins' Consumerist worst-company tournament

The votes are in, and Comcast has won Consumerist's uncoveted "Worst Company in America" award.

The Philadelphia telecom firm beat runner-up Ticketmaster in the last round of voting by a margin of 59 to 41 percent -- ending a two-year losing streak that saw it crushed by AIG in 2009 and run over by Countrywide Home Loans in 2008.

This year, Comcast faced a smoother road to victory in the NCAA-tournament-style competition of Consumerist, a snarky blog acquired by Consumer Reports at the end of 2008. Not even the personal lobbying of Comcast customer service director Frank Eliason in comments slowed its campaign. (You may know Eliason on Twitter as "comcastcares"; between that and his showing on Consumerist's message boards, I think he's more than earned a raise.)

Comcast's less-"successful" rivals included fellow final four contenders Bank of America, Cash4Gold and Ticketmaster, plus 28 other companies; all were nominated by Consumerist readers in March before voting kicked off a month ago. As usual, the computing, telecom, airline and credit-card industries made strong showings.

For its troubles, Comcast gets a small sculpture that Consumerist describes as "the Golden Poo" and the dubious honor of being mentioned in stories like this. Spokeswoman Jenni Moyer was a good sport when asked for comment; instead of the usual tournament complaints about biased officiating, unfair seedings and Duke University, she e-mailed this statement:

We're working everyday to improve our customers' experiences with us, including offering a Customer Guarantee that's backed by significant operational changes. We've taken steps over the past two years to improve our product reliability and service, and if a problem does occur, we work to quickly to resolve it, find the root cause and make changes so it won't happen again. Our goal is to provide a consistently positive experience at every point in a customer's relationship with us, and the Guarantee clearly outlines what we're doing to hold ourselves accountable to live up to their expectations.

Would you have voted with the majority of Consumerist's users? Second-guess or commend their decision in the comments!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 26, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  Recommended reading , Telecom , The business we have chosen  
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I would have voted that way based on the way they handled my cable service in Arlington several years ago before I switched to Verizon. I have often observed since then that there was no way that I'd give Comcast my telephone service. They would take days to deal with an Internet or cable TV outage.

Posted by: Arlington4 | April 26, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

They really worked hard for this award.

Posted by: candycane1 | April 26, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely would have voted for them. I kept a list of the name (and hard-won) phone number/extension of every supervisor, regional manager, and escalation rep I spoke to over the course of 8 years living in Manassas with Comcast as our cable provider. I learned exactly the right key words to invoke to bypass the B.S. "reboot your modem" crap when they had an area service outage and refused to admit it. I probably had credits on my account every other month, at least, from all of their outages. And because my husband telecommuted and needed reliable internet service (which Comcast was incapable of providing) we signed up for the City of Manassas pilot program for broadband over internet, just to have a back-up source when internet went down - which was frequently.

They treat their customers like idiots, blame them for their own service problems, have incredibly long hold times, want to send a tech to your house for their own outages (because it's never them, it's always you - I eventually let them schedule these appointments whenever they pushed the issue, just to have them turn up two days later. I'd say, "Oh, yeah, that was your service outage, you eventually resolved it, but thanks for coming." Yes, I was part of the problem, blame my frustration.)

I could go on and on but I'm already ranting. I'll just say that Comcast is the embodiment of the need for competition in cable providers.

Posted by: tmiller2009 | April 26, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess this is why Comcast came up with the new name xfinity. It's an old trick. When you have a bad product or idea just rename it. But most people are to smart for that these days. It didn't work to rename global warming to climate change, people still know it's a scam. It won't work for Comcast either.

Posted by: rgould22 | April 26, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I would have definately voted them #1 While telephone techs everywhere have a difficult job of troubleshooting equipment, Comcast's tech support just doesn't give a damn! Couple that with their high prices, and sneaky fees and they win 1st place hands down!

Posted by: rkayblock1 | April 26, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

AT&T should be listed right up there with the worst. My latest experience was as a new customer for their lined telephone. I signed up for unlimited local and long distance. My first bill included $200+ for long distance calls. No trouble in getting that eliminated. My next bill included $400+ for long distance. No trouble getting that eilinated. However, their agent told me how I could prevent that from happening again, by doing something on the internet. I certainly expected AT&T to be able to resolve the problem in two months by doing something on their own.

Posted by: KATZHOUSE2 | April 26, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

i personally would choose verizon as the worst. i never had a major problem with comcast. any problem was ususally fixed within two days and the staff was mostly courteous. verizon, on the other hand seems to have cus ser reps who know little to nothing, are very rude and never seem to have a viable solution to my problem. often i have to solve the problem myself. i only switched because they have better picture quality for HD and more channels. when my contract is up, i am outta there. if comcast would buy me out, i'd leave now.

Posted by: icebluekoolaid1 | April 26, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Comcast is the worst cable and internet provider I've had as a working adult. When I was living in the midwest for a year, I had a small regional provider which was 100% better and more reliable than Comcast. With Comcast, I had frequent outages of my internet. I would get the scambled picture on the tele. It was always one excuse after the other. Don't mention that they nickle and dime for everything, you pay a fee for the modem as well as remote control. Without a digital box per each tv, the cable is less than basic, thus they try to force people to the $5 or so dollars per month for each additional box. If anyone has a choice do not pick Comcast.

Posted by: jabreal00 | April 26, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who gets Comcast...or in an attempt to put lipstick on a pig by re-naming itself Xfinity...will live to regret it.

Comcast's tech support and customer service is the worst I've ever encountered with ANY company.

Posted by: checkered1 | April 26, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd sit and watch paint dry before I'd ever be a comcrap customer again. They are dishonest, sleazy thieves.

Posted by: VAtrailerTrash | April 26, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Comcast's installers are an odd cast of self-employed Jamiacans in old Plymouth minivans, but I got a lot better help desk service from Comcast than I have from Verizon. It's hard even to find Verizon's help phone number. Verizon's cost control seems to focus on diverting calls into a twilight zone trouble shooting fault tree that you can't ever get out of, where I could actually get fairly knowledgeable people on the phone at Comcast.

Posted by: raskolnik | April 26, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

My recent experience with both the Comcast Phone Support and Web Support was a surprisingly good experience. Problem solved on the first call and on another problem solved on the first email.

My frustration with them continues to the last century cable TV interface where I rarely find what I am looking for before giving up.

Posted by: AdamsMorganTom | April 26, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I just want Comcast to add their sports tier channels in HD. With as much money as they get from me I should at least get NHLHD, ESPNUHD and MLBHD.

Posted by: tidalwave1 | April 26, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

None of the people who voted in this contest evidently have Verizon. There can BE no worse customer support or service than those who support Verizon's land-line and DSL. Fios is a great product, but their support is so bad, it doesn't matter. They need a Wizards-style rebuilding: blow the whole thing up, and start all over.

Posted by: TheBorg | April 26, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Verizon should have won. The worst customer service ever. Plus, overpriced services. I have had so many problems with Verizon, especailly the past four months. Talking on the phone with these people just does not work. Right now, I am getting my documentation together and am going to file a complain with Verizon and the Federal Business Bureau.

Posted by: cafm70 | April 27, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Verizon = rude incompetents
Comcast = people who smile politely while stealing your wallet with their other hand


Posted by: koalatek | April 27, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

When I lived in DC, Comcast was the worst, with Verizon a distant second.
But now I am out west where we daily face the evil of Qwest...
Qwest, a once proud company, offers a new low in service and support, and nasty managemen. Their tech support out of Boise Idaho, and eastern Iowa remains great. But we fear that Qwest will find out their tech support is good and no longer tolerate that high quality.

Posted by: ray1bay | April 27, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I notice that no one has mentioned Cablevision/Optimum Online, which serves New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We have an outdoor office about 100 feet from the house, wireless didn't seem to reach there, thought we'd have to sign up for a second modem. No such thing. "Buy a new router" the technician advised, "but don't tell anyone I told you." (He suggested Linksys E3000; it works great and saves us, what, $400 a year?) No complaints with Cablevision. Great service too.

Posted by: amagansett | April 27, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"We're working everyday to improve our customers' experiences with us..." She means, "every day" but hey, probably busy with everyday problems of her own...

Posted by: harrygrz | April 27, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

My problem with Comcast is not their service (I guess I've been lucky). I think their pricing and marketing strategies stink. They offer to give you a bundled rate if you subscribe to their Internet, phone and cable TV services. That's good! But the bundled rate is only good for a year. That's bad! A bundled rate should apply as long as you subscribe to all three services. I'd switch to satellite in a minute if my beautiful trees didn't block the signal! I am looking at ways to get all my video content over the air and through the Internet ... and drop Comcast all together. The company is making my extra effort to find other sources worth it.

Posted by: burkef1 | April 27, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

KATZHOUSE2 and I have had the same experiences. AT&T and Comcast are equal in the Customer Service. I have a large file of all the crap I have had with AT&T for landline phone, DSL, & refunds. I now use SKYPE on my IMAC and will not buy an IPHONE from "Apple" because they use AT&T. I live in central Florida and only have the choice of Internet from Brighthouse that is no prize either.

Posted by: vh334261 | April 27, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Comcast varies where you live. In Salem, OR I had no trouble with them at all except for CCI contract installers. They took a while to track down a phone problem but no one could have done any better than they given the nature of the problem.

Comcast will often make a deal, waive fees, but only if you ask.

I am in Charter territory now and most of the installers wish they had Comcast's resources. No HDTV here and slower internet for the same price. But because I asked they threw in a DVR when they could not provide HD.

For price be sure and ASK what the price will be after the special is over.

Most cable companies have to renew their franchise to the city where you live. A call to city hall or state utility regulators will sometimes get their attention. The service techs were very aware of service standards in Salem.

Posted by: eteonline | April 28, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Comcast caps your download speed after a certain point (for me, once my household reached 250 GB total for the month).
This should be illegal, but it's not for some reason. F comcast.

Posted by: BMACattack | April 28, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I am happy for Comcast ... they certainly deserved the award ... they have worked very hard for years and years to achieve this status.

Of course now that the have that new name Xfinity? the choice next year will be harder ... Comcast or Xfinity ...

Posted by: toddlorensinclair | April 29, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

ROTFL, sounds good to me dude.


Posted by: clermontpc | April 29, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

VERIZON! Hands down the WORST! Terrible, horrible company. These companies need to be regulated and NOW! (Sorry, very, very frustrated with these idiots)

Posted by: terryritchie | April 29, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Jesus, what kind of herculanean effort does it take to defeat Ticketmaster in a comparison of terrible and hated companies?

Comcast is terrible, but everyone is mentioning it, so I'll say this: when you received your bill from Comcast, it's like 10 or 20% higher than what they advertised, because of fees. Ticketmaster has regularly charged me 100% over the stated fee (ie. "$15" tickets costing $30). They charge you FOR PRINTING YOUR TICKETS AT HOME. I guess they a licensing deal every printer company in the world. And, of course, with the devil.

Posted by: habari2 | April 30, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse


Only 250gb a month? TimeWarner gives 40gb a month and that's it. Good luck finding others that give uncapped data and stop whining.

Posted by: js2040 | May 1, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

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