Round 45: Bank of America vs Monster Cable

This is Round 45 in our Worst Company in America contest, Bank of America vs Monster Cable!Here’s what readers said in previous rounds about why they hate these two companies…

Bank of America:

“Can u say overdraft? Lets take billions from the poor every year and feel good about it!”

“I’ve been a Bank of America customer for about 3 years now and have not had any major issues with them at this point. But I know sooner or later they’ll find their opportunity to screw me, I can’t wait.”

“Bank of America has be bad since they were founded. They invented the West Coast evil bank. They make Countrywide and WaMu look like amateurs.”

“BoA is not just “a” bank, they’re a bank with some of the least customer-friendly policies in America. Re-opening closed accounts then charging $35 for it? That’s not a courtesy, that’s fraud.”

“BOA = Satan’s Bank.”

“To say nothing of BofA buying MBNA, then stealthily sending their credit card customers 8 different letters, all inconspicuous, all 10pp affairs where, buried in the fine print, BofA tries to make the credit card deals even MORE screwed than they were to begin with.
Things like, “If you wouldn’t like your APR to go from 9% to 32% next month, send a snailmail letter with the following 4 pieces of information to this special address within the next week.” Only buried on page 4 and written in 50 words of well-neigh incomprehensible legalese. And repeated for changing ave daily balance, binding arbitration, etc.

Evil!

On a different note, I have to crack up at the posters that say, “Since nothing personally happened to me, I’m going to ignore reams of factual data and vote for EvilCorp.”

Since if nothing directly impacts them while they obliviously trudge thru their pale, sad life, it obviously doesn’t exist.

Jeezus – develop you empathy muscles, guys: we’re humans, not cockroaches.”

“I find it hard to believe anyone still uses Bank of America for anything. I closed my accounts and tore up their visa card right after I heard they were giving mortgages to illegal aliens.”

“My vote went to BoA because of the like 5 bucks I pay to them for ATM transactions. I fucking hate that on top of the random ATM fee, I have to pay BoA because they didn’t have an ATM within like 20 miles. Fuck you BoA.”

“BofA: Cash Deposits Post Immediately! After midnight. After we post debits. And bounce your checks. And take our fees.”

“BoA for that stupid “we’re gonna make lots of money” video. f them.”

“Ugh, BofA is a complete joke. I switched to HSBC a year ago and I am very happy with my decision. BofA charges you death, and their high yield interest rate is a joke.

At least I can that the branch manager at my branch was awesome, and closing the account wasn’t a hassle, except they charged me a $2 fee. “

“Band of Assholes is right. We briefly had a BOA credit card, but I quickly sized up this was a stupid move on my part and cancelled it. Got a relative in the business of cyber security at an international level and I asked her afterwards “what’s up with BOA?” Without hesitation she said, “Besides PayPal, the least amount of interest and budget spent on securing their platform. Get Away From Them.””

“My BOA troubles started in a little state called Rhode Island. Pre-1984, the largest bank in RI was called Industrial National. In 1984, they change to Fleet. Now anybody in Rhode Island would tell you never bank with Fleet. Awful fees, etc.. etc..

Fleet in the early-mid 90’s then buys Bank of Boston become FleetBoston which then buys Shawmut and host of whole other banks. And then finally gets bought out a few years back by BOA. Geez, I thought Fleet was bad after they took over my Bank of Boston (or was it BayBank account).

BOA made them (FleetBoston) seem like my local friendly credit union.”

“Take that Band of Assholes! Raising that rate to 20.99% from my nice MBNA 7% – we’ll see you in the Final Four of the Worst!! “

“Late to this particular voting party, but of course it’s BofA.

Every time I would deposit a check, they would clear it in the branch only to put it back on hold at midnight. I escaped them by moving to a city where they’re not around, but even then they held on to my relocation check for EIGHT business days!

PNC Bank has non-local checks cleared in 2… “

Monster Cable:

“Their entire business is based on lies about the superiority of their product and is then sold at very high prices to cement the illusion of higher quality.”

“can’t top trying to compare your component cables to diamond jewelry”

“Their markup is insane, and their cables aren’t anything special above what you can get for a 1/3 of the price.”

“My father bought a $200 Monster Cable brand power strip at Magnolia Hi-Fi a few years back. I tried to convince him why it was a bad idea, but the salesman hooked it up to some kind of meter to show the “noise” in the power between a standard power strip and the Monster one, and he was persuaded after being told that standard power would result in a worse picture.”

“Monster conspires with every electronics retailer to rip off unsuspecting customers. We can avoid Monster, but that doesn’t make what they do to everyone else right.”

“They’re as bad as the audiophiles for spreading nonsense and hokum about electronics.”

“All I need to hate Monster Cable (although all the rest helps) is what I discovered when building a Monster Cable Demo Station when I worked for CC. The station had two speakers hooked up side by side and then to a DVD surround sound system with a switch to choose between the two and demo what the station called “Monster XRS Speaker Wire” or something against “Offbrand speaker wire.”

Sure, the Monster sounded better… until you cracked open the back and found that there was about a 1 foot length of the Monster Cable wire running to one speaker and about 100 feet of the thread-thinnest, poorest-quality wire I have ever seen ziptied and sitting in a coil.

I’m not surprised at the misleading way Monster promotes their product because every company does the same thing, but it still amply bolsters what we all already know about this company. “

“Monster Cable’s entire business revolves around a lie.”

“I bought one of their “wireless” transmitters for my iPod so I can use it in my car, after 3 months the thing just fell apart. Talk about your shoddy merchandise. I will never buy a Monster Cable again.”

“Just because someone is rich, doesn’t mean they should buy overpriced products. Rich people can stay rich by saving their money, not blowing it.”

“I voted Monster Cable, because they sue everybody”

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: US Air vs Microsoft, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Home Depot vs Wellpoint, Wal-Mart vs Citibank, Capital One vs ATT, Sallie Mae vs eBay/Paypal, TransUnion vs Diebold, Best Buy vs CompUSA, DeBeers vs Verizon, Exxon vs United Airlines, Sony vs Ticketmaster, Comcast vs The American Arbitration Association

Comments

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  1. B says:

    Man, that’s a tough choice. I’m voting for BofA cause they’re more directly linked to the credit crunch than Monster Cable is, but I really wish they could both go to the next round. Can we give Monster Cable a special exemption?

  2. Truvill says:

    BoA hands down.

  3. Toof_75_75 says:

    This should not even be close…

  4. johnva says:

    Monster Cable is way worse. BoA isn’t that bad at all.

  5. heinzs says:

    Taking advantage of suckers at Best Buy is bad, but not “leave you stranded in a foreign country with no access to your money” bad.

  6. JDAC says:

    BofA, easily. I’ve been screwed around by them too much.

  7. sleze69 says:

    BoA has a history of crappiness and that didn’t miss a beat this year. This should not even be close but surprisingly, Monster Cable is hanging in there somehow.

    BoA must have their branch managers voting today.

  8. pmathews says:

    @sleze69:

    Worse, their investors…

  9. Sudonum says:

    I’ve been screwed by BofA and I still voted for Monster.

  10. rbb says:

    “Bank of America has be bad since they were founded. They invented the West Coast evil bank. They make Countrywide and WaMu look like amateurs.”

    BoA is not a “West Coast” bank. NationsBank (from one of the Carolinas) bought out BoA but retained the BoA name because it had better name recognition.

  11. DeepFriar says:

    Monster charges $100 for $2 audio wires. Seems pretty simple to me.

  12. MoCo says:

    Monster cable takes your money, but you can change your mind, take the cable back, and get a refund even YOU made the bad decision to buy their product. When Bank of America takes your money, its almost impossible to get a refund even when you did everything right.

  13. strangeffect says:

    This is like the opposite of Sophie’s Choice.

  14. CPC24 says:

    Hardest round ever.

  15. slim150 says:

    Monster sues any company that has the name ‘monster’ in it!

  16. vancedecker says:

    WHAT?!? This vote is way too close. How can the great satan of our time, BofA, be close to Monster Cable.

    Monster Cable preys on rich motherfuckers with nothing better to do with their money, while BofA preys on the poor and misfortunate.

    Comon people, get some perspective here.

  17. I'm a tweeple too! says:

    My paycheck is drawn on BofA and the p/roll company is the largest in our area. (Entertainment Partners which pays 90% of the television and film industry payroll)

    I go into BofA, they’re going to charge me $1 to cash my paycheck drawn on BofA. I ask why, I’m told that because I’m using them as a check cashing service it’s a convenience fee. The teller then tells me Ent. Partners is overdrawn! I go back to EP and they say it is a zero balance account, the bank cashes the check and then bookeeping magic happens.

    I go back to BofA and they say the check isn’t in the system, I go back to EP and they say there is a tape that is computer submitted and all the check numbers are in the system. EP gives me to the CFO who gives me his mobile number since it is now Friday. I go back to BofA on Saturday armed with the mobile number and knowledge. Yes, I could have deposited this in my checking account at WAMU but by now it’s a challenge.

    BofA refuses to cash the check, refuses to call the CFO, I get the manager, she calls the CFO and says “how do I know who you are?.”

    Then as I’m leaving, very angry and yes, I yelled at the manager, the teller asks me if I want to open an account.

    I think I’m banned from BofA for being perstistantly annoying.

    WAMU deposited the check, gave me 100% credit the same day (Saturday)

  18. Zaos says:

    BofA because of the economy.

    Yes Monster screws people that don’t do research but they can’t be blamed for what we are in like we can blame BofA.

  19. highmodulus says:

    BofA because they are pure evil.

    Monster just sells you perfectly good products which are stupidly overpriced. Heck Best Buy seems more evil then them for shilling them so badly and dishonestly.

    This should be a landslide.

  20. mike says:

    Monster FTW! Come on! I’m losing my bracket!

  21. johnva says:

    @Zaos: To be fair, there were worse offenders than BoA in the whole subprime mess. Countrywide comes to mind (though I guess they ARE BoA now).

    @highmodulus: Monster is also kind of litigious, which is a strike against them for me.

  22. ObtuseGoose says:

    I’ve been screwed by B of A too many times to not vote for them. Plus you can easily avoid buying from Monster Cable.

  23. blackmage439 says:

    Monster Cable only harms the ignorant and foolish. BofA routinely screws over even the savviest of consumers, just because they can.

    BoA, FTL…

  24. coan_net says:

    If you don’t want to use Monster Cable – don’t.

    Simple as that.

  25. rmz says:

    @ObtuseGoose: Not as easy to avoid getting sued by them for running a business that includes the non-trademarkable word “Monster” in its name, though.

  26. I’m rooting for BofA to win the whole damn thing.

  27. She Laughs says:

    BoA, no question.

  28. wackyvorlon says:

    Monster spreads the cancer of idiocy. For this, I voted.

  29. DJC says:

    What is up with this BoA hating? I’ve been using them for a while and haven’t had any problems.

    What do you guys recommend as an alternative? (besides WaMu, credit unions)

  30. dotyoureyes says:

    It’s amazing that Monster is even making this competitive. They sell overpriced products. If you get ripped off once, at least you don’t have to buy them again.

    B of A keeps ripping you off, long after you’ve stopped being a customer.

  31. Tom Servo says:

    Monster Cable is bad because of their tendency to sue anyone with the “Monster” in their name.

    BofA is pure evil.

  32. krescendo says:

    BOA all the way. Positively evil!

    I’m originally from CT and BofA is what bought the last bank that was made up of all the other banks in Connecticut that were absorbed each by the next largest one. My wife, who is a banker, refers to BofA as ‘bank of borg.’

    The fees they charge are crazy… I had an account there that was overdrawn from all of the fees they added on after my bank was absorbed. I went to close the account and told them I’m not paying for the fees. They seemed ok with it and asked me if I wanted to have a credit card from them. Bizarre…

  33. lua21 says:

    BoA charged us $175 in fees last week after we checked our balance and saw we had enough for the $50ish we spent that day and neglected to pay one of our bills that we put through about a week before. Groan.

  34. TechnoDestructo says:

    Bank of America: Their evil levels are far lower than Monster Cable

    Monster Cable: Their evil, while much more pervasive throughout their business than Bank of America, matters far less to far fewer people

    This is a very tough match-up to call.

  35. Breach says:

    I went with Monster Cable just based on the number of bullshit lawsuits they pump into our legal system over the use of the word Monster on any other product/place/spore that isn’t theirs.

    Tough call though. I bank with BoA and aside a few screw ups nothing too bad after 2 years, but Im on the bandwagon of “not yet but they will”. I am thinking about ditching them, but I have a few loans and business accounts with them as well, so it wouldn’t be an easy divorce for me to do.

    As with any big faceless organization, it is best to arm yourself with knowledge (like what Consumerist offers) to beat them if you get hosed. Also, always have a backup plan. Dont keep all of your funds in the same spot. I am planning to move my savings to a high interest account away from BOA just in case of the worst.

  36. Angryrider says:

    Bank of America. Thank god I don’t have an account with those evil kadjfl. Can’t believe I had to do a project on them…

  37. The audio-visual industry makes marginal amounts of $ selling the big bucks equipment. The real profit is on the accessories.

    Yes there are lower cost alternatives, but Monster is only doing what their customers (the corporations that actually do the purchasing) desire. The profit margins on reselling the products are no greater than products from other industry segments and the product prices are generally competitive with similar products selling in the same manner of distribution.

  38. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I don’t have any horror stories about BofA but they do charge me $5 every time I use my credit card to make a cash advance.

  39. Concerned_Citizen says:

    If monster cable doesn’t win this, I lose all faith in this process. We need to move to a delegate system.

  40. highmodulus says:

    A few trademark suits makes Monster worse then one of the most reviled companies on Consumerist?

    How many suits do you think BofA has filed, how many sleazy collection actions, foreclosures, credit reports ruined, fees wrongfully charged ect?

    Just glance through the Consumerist archives- it’s not really close.

    Heck, Monster Cable is no worse then Bose as far as overpriced goods and outlandish claims.

    Monster certainly isn’t even in the park with Disney on the legal system IP chicanery.

    BofA in an easy landslide, and a big favorite for the final four.

  41. AtariJedi says:

    I remember reading about a test, can’t remember who or what website I got the info from, but it was a Coat Hanger vs. Monster Cable test for audiophiles. The test was this, they were playing some high fidelity music over monster cables, half way through they switched over to the coat hangers, no one noticed a difference.

    But I wonder if you are also paying for quality cables that will last a long time, have good flexibility etc…

    Personally, I have never bought monster cables, I am too cheap and almost everything I use is digital, but if I am going from a digital system to an analog system, I would fork out the money on high quality cables that are very flexible and will last a long ass time.

    I’m not advocating what Monster does, just giving a possible reason.

  42. jeffbone says:

    @rbb:

    BoA may not be a “West Coast” bank as a result of the NationsBank deal, but that’s where they started, thanks in large part to the 1906 SF earthquake.

    This vote really shouldn’t even be as close as it is. BoA is bad for the whole economy, Monster simply separates a self-selected group of fools from their money.

  43. Trerro says:

    Someone I know was a victim of identity theft – the thief got full access to her bank account, and began to run up all kinds of charges, quickly draining her balance, then racking up a ton of bounced checks. The second she realized this, she called BoA and asked them to put a transaction freeze on the account, so the thief couldn’t take anything else, and the mess could be sorted out. They refused to comply. She then told them that if they won’t freeze it, they need to terminate it immediately. Their reply? “We can’t close an account with a negative balance.” Of course, the thief wasn’t particularly worried that he was racking up bounced check charges, and the bank was quite happy to pass those charges onto her. She finally managed to get it to a positive balance and close it (by borrowing money from her parents, as she was obviously broke at this point), losing hundreds of dollars in the process (in addition to whatever was in the bank to begin with), and taking massive credit rating damage from dozens of reported bounced checks. I think she eventually recovered the money she lost, but not the fees – and she can’t sue, because there’s no way she can afford a lawyer that can stand up to BoA.

    My own experience wasn’t nearly as bad, but I also had a problem. I purchased a RAID controller card (thing for chaining hard drives together for speed and redundancy) from a small website with a very buggy script. The result is that I got double billed – exact same transaction, exact same cost, a couple of seconds apart on the timestamp. I couldn’t get a hold of the company (this was one of those 2-3 man sites that the owners probably put a few hours a week into, rarely checked their email, and had no other form of support), so I called the bank, explaining what happened, and told them to cancel the duplicate transaction and issue a stop payment in case I got billed a 3rd time. Their response? “We don’t issue stop payments on online transactions.” They also refused to cancel the duplicate. I managed to track the company down weeks later, and once I finally got a hold of someone, they immediately apologized, refunded the money, said a few people had run into the problem, and that they would fix their buggy script ASAP. There’s no reason that should’ve required that much effort, and I can’t see, even knowing how evil BoA is, why they wouldn’t help me here. The extra charge didn’t bounce, so it’s not like they’d even get a fee from me.

    It seems to me there’s 2 reasons you open a bank account. One is to make money (with BoA’s fees and <1% interest rate that never adds up to the fees, that won’t be happening.) The other, and likely far more important is of course security. You like to think that money you put in a bank isn’t coming back out unless you authorize it. That’s supposed to be the whole reason we have bank accounts and not stacks of cash between our mattresses. As the two above examples show, with BoA, you get little to know security – and you may end up worse off than if you were simply robbed! If ANYTHING goes wrong, you’re screwed.

    Needless to say, I no longer do business with them, and switched to the competition, which in my case is Citizens. I’ve had absolutely no issues with them, I don’t get a sales pitch when I need to do something that requires a teller, and while their interest rate sucks too, it’s significantly higher than BoA’s.

    Wherever you live, there should be at least one surviving BoA competitor. If you can, use them! Avoid BoA like the plague.

    As for Monster, sure their entire business model is built on the claim that their 3x priced cables are somehow better than the identical competitor’s, and this is made worse by the fact that Best Buy happily participates in that scam to get a larger profit on cable sales, but that doesn’t compare to BoA. This is made worse that they sue anyone who uses the word “monster” anywhere in a name or product – even a freaking Disney movie called Monsters, Inc. Still, they won’t cost you hundreds, nor will they ruin your credit rating. The worst that will happen to you with Monster is you’ll get scammed into a wasting an extra 50 bucks on a 10 dollar cable. Sure, that sucks, but it doesn’t even BEGIN to compare with the kind of damage BoA can do to you.

    BoA wins this one hands down.

  44. EtherealStrife says:

    BofA. Monster cables are great if they’re the same price as the competition (or less). The only people “suckered” by them are the future/former Nigerian investors.

  45. BlackFlag55 says:

    There ain’t enough room here to say everything blasphemous and hateful about Bank of Assholes.

  46. bleigh says:

    Bank of America!

    Two months ago I had my credit card information stolen and they urged me to sign up for their privacy assist. they made two phone calls to me, one for my bank acct and one for my credit card. I told them they had already went through everything with me, but they assured me they hadn’t. The month after they had told me it’d be charged TO MY CREDIT CARD, they charge my bank account, which was now closed out because i had switched to another, gets charged an overdraft fee. Tomorrow i plan on cancelling my credit card and everything to do with those suckers.

  47. bwcbwc says:

    Both of these companies are pretty much the epitome of evil in the Consumerist universe. But BofA is so much more pervasive in people’s lives. Monster sues competitors and sells overpriced products to audiophiles. BofA is involved in a majority of banking transactions in the US. Even if you bank at a credit union, there’s a good chance your CU uses BofA as a middleman to do their ACH/EFT processing.

  48. yetiwisdom says:

    This is the hardest one yet – hate the suit-happy antics of Monster and their idiotic product, but BoA craps on the intelligent too, not just those customers stupid enough to buy their crap – so BoA.

  49. avconsumer says:

    can’t… decide…. aaaRRRGH!!

  50. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    That was a tough one but I went for BoA! Monster is too dependent on A/V sales, underpaid BestBuy schmoes, uninformed consumers and metal prices to really be a serious PITA business. And with their current lawsuits, I doubt they will be a serious market contender.
    Now BoA takes the cake as a consumer-unfriendly corp equal to a serial-rapist that never gets caught. From outlandish rates, fees, hidden charges, arrogant service and corrupt banking practices, I think their credit card and account requirements rank up there with a gasoline-enema.
    BankRobbers of America.
    (And I am a former BoA Visa holder…glad I am rid of them)