We asked for your input in nominating the biggest business screw-ups of the year and you responded. Now is your chance to vote for a loser from the final five nominees.
In no particular order, the most nominated debacles are:
Foreclosure Fracas, aka Robosigners Revealed:
2010 saw Bank of America and other lenders putting a temporary halt to foreclosures after it was revealed that, among other idiotic actions, banks had hired so-called “robosigners,” untrained rubber-stampers, to process mortgage paperwork. BofA was also the source of numerous stories of improper foreclosures and seizures.
The year started out badly for the world’s largest car company, which ultimately ended up recalling over 9 million vehicles over a variety of safety concerns, most infamously for sudden unintended acceleration. The company blamed that particular problem on a combination of “sticky” gas pedals and ill-placed floor mats. While the recall ruckus did little to harm Toyota’s bottom line, it was a public-relations nightmare for a company that had built its reputation on dependability.
iPhone 4 Death Grip:
Upon its initial release, Apple’s iPhone 4 was heralded as a big step forward for the popular smartphone. But customer complaints of lost signal and dropped calls were confirmed by a Consumer Reports study that showed how an ill-placed antenna could easily be covered up by the user’s hand. Apple’s initial reaction to the problem was flip and dismissive but the company eventually issued an “our bad” and offered to supply free bumpers to all iPhone 4 owners.
BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill:
Pumping millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico — costing thousands of people their livelihoods and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem — was bad enough. But then the CEO of BP compounded the issue by issuing such gems as “The environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” and the ever-classic “I would like my life back.” Well good news for him — He got his life back when he was shipped off to Siberia.
Gawker Media Passwords Hacked:
Nick Denton’s hubris got the better of him — and a few million of the people who had registered on one of his Gawker Media sites (including those who had signed up with Consumerist in our pre-Consumers Union days). After taunting the hive mind of the internet for too long, Gawker’s database of user e-mails and passwords was hacked and posted on the internet for all to see, leading to several incidents of hacked bank accounts and fraudulent credit card and PayPal purchases.
So vote away! We’ll be announcing the loser — along with several other honorable mentions — tomorrow at noon ET.