Here It Is, Your Lineup For Worst Company In America 2012!

Welcome to Consumerist’s 7th Annual Worst Company In America tournament, where the businesses you nominated face off for a title that none of them will publicly admit to wanting — but which all of them try their hardest to earn. So it’s time to fill in the brackets and start another office pool. That is, unless you work at one of the 32 companies competing in the tournament.

Readers responded in record numbers to this year’s call for nominations. And it turns out that you all are still angry at the telecom companies, which dominate the brackets with a total of 9 slots, and the folks in financial services, which accounts for 7 spots in this year’s battle for the Golden Poo.

Even though Microsoft gets this year off — perhaps you all felt bad for them because of the whole Windows Phone debacle — there are plenty of other technology and Internet companies in the bracket. There is the always-divisive Apple and the perennial pugilist Sony. Since Facebook and Google are so good at tracking your browsing and reading history, they shouldn’t be surprised to be in the tournament.

This category also has two fresh-faced WCIA rookies. Video Game giant Electronic Arts and a company that not so long ago had a relatively sterling reputation among readers: Netflix, which saw its nominating votes increase tenfold after the company effectively doubled its monthly rate.

Also new to the WCIA tourney is Spirit Airlines. Someone might want to mention this fact to the company’s CEO Ben Baldanza, who has called it the “most consumer-friendly airline.” In the first round, tiny little Spirit will go toe-to-toe with Delta, the only other airline in this year’s competition.

The first round also sees a face-off between the U.S. Postal Service and UPS. As more and more people use the Internet to shop, the services that deliver those packages to your home are apparently struggling to deliver decent service.

If you want to share your brief testimonial on why any of these companies should win — or maybe you think they shouldn’t be in the tournament — shoot us an e-mail at wcia@consumerist.com.

For the first round, we’ll be posting three bouts per day (there will be four first-round fights on March 19). The full schedule is below if you want to mark your calendar to make sure you remember to vote.

ROUND ONE BOUTS:
* Target vs. Best Buy
* Bank of America vs. Chase
* Charter Communications vs. CenturyLink (Qwest)
* Wells Fargo vs. Citi
* EA vs. Sony
* Sallie Mae vs. Ticketmaster
* DirecTV vs. Dish Network
* PayPal vs. Capital One
* Sears/Kmart vs. Walmart
* Netflix vs. GameStop
* USPS vs. UPS
* Comcast vs. Time Warner Cable
* Spirit vs. Delta
* AT&T vs. Verizon
* Facebook vs. Sprint
* Google vs. Apple

SWEET 16
* Best Buy vs. EA
* Facebook vs. USPS

* Comcast vs. DirecTV
* Bank of America vs. Citi
* Ticketmaster vs. Spirit Airlines

* PayPal vs. Charter
* AT&T vs. Apple
* Walmart vs. GameStop

ELITE EIGHT
* Bank of America vs. Ticketmaster
* PayPal vs. Walmart
* Facebook vs. AT&T
* Comcast vs. EA

FINAL FOUR
March 29:
* Bank of America vs. Walmart

March 30:
* EA vs. AT&T

WCIA FINAL DEATH MATCH
April 2
The Golden Poo winner will be announced April 4

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Go, PayPal, go!

    And take Comcrap with you!

  2. clippy2.0 says:

    Facebook vs Sprint? Man, not much of a game there! SallieMae vs Ticketmaster seems like an exciting matchup though

  3. Lucky225 says:

    I see a lot of the usual suspects, however some of the rookies may fair well this season.

  4. iluvhatemail says:

    salliemae ftw, ticketmaster is already a well known

  5. May contain snark says:

    I’m excited. I’d love to see BoA and AT&T in the finals.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    I would love to see Bunk of America vs. Facebook. One thinks that they are entitled to record profits year after year and the other owned by a megalomaniac who wants you to believe that you are the customer rather than the product being sold.

  7. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Looks like someone didn’t close a bold tag…let’s see if this does it….

    • elangomatt says:

      Maybe Consumerist decided to bold the entire thread, I was wondering about all the bold in this thread though (and testing to see if your closing bold works on replies)

  8. Coelacanth says:

    Crap. Monsato didn’t make it.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Oh yes. There are many worthy corporations which didn’t make it. A few that come to mind are:
      The Federal Reserve (for devaluing our worth and controlling our lives in a bad way).
      BP for using the oil spill to further their cause (my how we forget)
      RIAA for almost getting SOPA turned into law
      and of course Monsanto and the rest of big agra.

  9. CubeRat says:

    Google & Apple in round one….I call foul, I think they should be in one of the later rounds.

    Boo hiss boo

  10. elangomatt says:

    Dang, I just thought of a company that someone should have nominated (assuming it is even considered a company). The stupid “Corn Growers Association of America” for their stupid corn sugar is just like real sugar commercials.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      do they count as a company since they are actually representing a conglomeration of companies?

    • Ed says:

      Just like High Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t really sugar, the Corn growers association isn’t really a company.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    The only part of this I dislike is that Consumerist always pairs up similar-industry companies, when in reality it might be appropriate for BoA to win and Chase to come in second.

    Pairings should be either random or based on votes. Perhaps like the really tournament, where rank 1 goes against rank 16, etc.

  12. Cat says:

    WOULD YOU PEOPLE STOP SHOUTING!

  13. Robofish says:

    Apple vs Google seems like it could be one sided. Now Sony vs EA? I could see that being pretty close.

    • Jawaka says:

      Yeah, the Sony & EA match up is going to be pretty epic. I’ll have to think for a while which one get my vote.

      • Auron says:

        I’m going to have to go with EA on that one, simply because of their recent decisions concerning pogo.com, a flash/java game site that is owned by EA.

        • Robofish says:

          What did they recently do to pogo? I love that site for pop it

          • Auron says:

            Well, the who debacle over removing customer service, then stating by email or phone only, then finally giving in to bringing back live support. Trying to be a facebook/Zynga hybrid. All new games are essentially pay-to-play. No communication when there are problems. Not fixing issues with games that have been known for years (hard difficulty in Jigsaw Detective comes to mind). Converting everything to flash when things worked perfectly fine in Java. Those are just the things i can think of off the top of my head.

  14. chucklebuck says:

    Man, there are some tough round one draws for the favorites.

  15. blogger X says:

    As I predicted, BP is/was just a one year wonder.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Seriously. Does this bracket imply that GameStop is more hated than BP? Give me a break.

      Whither RIAA? Whither MPAA? Whither Haliburton? Whither Bain Capital? Whither ClearChannel?

  16. greyfade says:

    Wow, first round is unfair.

    Chase doesn’t hold a candle to how bad BofA is. Chase will get knocked out of the first round without a chance to prove how bad they really are.

    I call foul on this!

    • loggg says:

      I’m voting for Chase, based on personal experience. BoA is bad, but they did return all the money they tried to take from me in the form of bogus fees. Chase did not. Of course, I shouldn’t have had to ask for my money back in the first place, so won’t be unhappy to see BoA win.

  17. jayphat says:

    I don’t see Walmart surviving the first round. Shame.

  18. jayphat says:

    I don’t see Walmart surviving the first round. Shame.

  19. Grogey says:

    If were going to nominate the USPS can I nominate my State? You know the whole tax the internet thing.

  20. BigDragon says:

    I want to see EA advance against Sony and then Target/Best Buy. They should be taken out by Comcrap afterwards. I’m no fan of Sony, but they really haven’t done any more really irritating stuff after that huge data breach. EA has been doing all sorts of ridiculously irritating things especially with their latest Origin-only PC games. What a mess.

    • longfeltwant says:

      The rootkit fiasco is the basis for a lifetime achievement award. I’m still waiting for indictments.

      • BigDragon says:

        The whole rootkit thing absolutely needs to be brought up every time Sony is mentioned. Same with their DRM/SecuROM division. However, let’s keep in mind that EA is just as bad especially with their new required Origin crapware on PC and one-time passes for console games. Origin scans through customer PCs to harvest data and routinely forgets what games customers have purchased (the whole missing entitlements thing). One-time passes make it impossible to lend games to friends or trade them in for a normal value. EA has also been kicking multiplayer games out the door with no regard to securing them from hackers. It has also been ruining once great studios again by watering down their products in favor of devoting more money to advertising instead of development.

    • framitz says:

      Sony had more than one breach.. And there was the root kit issue which won’t be forgotten for a long time.

      I don’t understand what is wrong with EA these days. I remember when they first started in what?, early 80′s (anyone remember M.U.L.E.?), they had great titles and a great philosophy, but I guess GREED got the best of them once they got big.

      • BigDragon says:

        Didn’t we have a chance to vote for Sony last year as a reflection of their failures through all those breaches and horror stories? I just don’t want to keep beating that horse especially when I’m convinced EA’s Origin was breached in January even though they won’t admit it. Sony and their rootkit and DRM/SecuROM past actions are absolutely deplorable. EA’s required Origin spyware, forgetting what customers own which games, complete failure to defend their online games against attacks, blatant disregard for customer service by offering coupons instead of solutions, expiring online passes, war on used games, and kneecapping of successful studios is worse I think.

  21. Torchwood says:

    Where the heck is (redacted)? I could have sworn they would have been a shoe-in.

    And, do we have a list of previous years winners?

  22. Robofish says:

    I predict ATT vs BofA in the finals

  23. RavenWarrior says:

    Ah, yet another year Best Buy doesn’t look to get past the second round. Even if it does, Comcast takes them out.

  24. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    The round of 8 matchups should be interesting… BOA vs Ticketmaster, PayPal vs Walmart, AT&T vs Facebook and Comcast vs Bestbuy

    • jayphat says:

      Yeah, I don’t see Wal-Mart beating Sears. With the absolutely terrible service from every angle Sears provides, it’s a easy sweep in the battle.

  25. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    I’m betting we will see AT&T vs. USPS in an Epic Battle of the Shitty Semis

  26. Almighty Peanut says:

    i got my money on comcast. i tried for 3 months to get service for a business address and finally after getting a hold of executives, they got it on the schedule. the sales folks even ignored the executives and didn’t contact me back the first couple times too!

  27. shepd says:

    This is certainly a BOLD move.

  28. makabe says:

    How is it that McDonald’s or Tyson Foods or CornSugar (the corn refiners assn.) or any other ‘food’ companies are not on this list?

    • humphrmi says:

      1. You didn’t bother nominating them.

      2. (In the case of CornSugar) it doesn’t qualify because they don’t sell directly to consumers.

  29. Cicadymn says:

    Sony Vs EA seems like a good matchup.

    Sony had the bad year with the hacking and flopping all over that.
    EA has had a lot of anti-consumer policies in place with their games. Including on the disk DLC, pushing the terrible Origin system and refusing to allow their games on other services.

    I’m still betting Bank of America will win this year.

    And I still want a Best Company in America contest!

  30. homehome says:

    so basically just about every company that leads their industry? lol

    • Jawaka says:

      Yeah, its pretty much just a hate the big guy unpopularity contest every year. There really should be better way to conduct this other than just by hate and bias.

      • Rexy on a rampage says:

        “Hate and bias?” Most of these companies have screwed people over dearly. You’re not a BofA rep, are you?

  31. ihatephonecompanies says:

    Can’t recall anything new and spectacularly horrible this year. This year might finally be ticketmaster’s year!

  32. Elder Feller says:

    Wow – I can’t wait to see how Google does now that they have their new data mining (ooooooppppps – privacy policy) in place.

  33. tz says:

    This is unfair, BoA and Chase to go against each other. They might end up as #1 and #2.

    Perhaps you should do some kind of other system to rank them before the pairings occur.

  34. tz says:

    This is unfair, BoA and Chase to go against each other. They might end up as #1 and #2.

    Perhaps you should do some kind of other system to rank them before the pairings occur.

  35. MerlynNY says:

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Netflix getting the golden poo considering all the crap they pulled recently.

  36. Cooneymike says:

    Its probably unfair that many deserving company’s will not get the credit they deserve by virtue of facing B of A in a preliminary round.

  37. Chief CL says:

    I still don’t understand how Directv makes the list every year… IMO they are one of the BETTER companies in America.

    I think USPS has an easy road to the final four… But will not be able to withstand comcast to move to the finals.

  38. sixsevenco says:

    What exactly is the ‘debacle’ associated with Windows Phone? It’s a solid product. Sales have been slow, but they are starting to ramp up outside of the US. With Nokia about to start selling the Lumia 800 and 900, I think you see significant sales growth by the end of the year.

  39. speaky2k says:

    Ok, I picked my choices, and I see some good match ups. From the right, I think AT&T will take it to the finals in a close contest, after an easily win into the final 4. From the bottom half on that side I see several close ones including having BB vs. Comcast for the final 4 spot, but whichever one makes it to the final 4 will lose to At&t. From the left it is BoA all the way, including the win. The entrance into the final 4 BoA will easily win but their competitor to get to that 8 spot will be close in all brackets. The bottom 4 spot is also very evenly matched but I think Pay Pay may just make it to the final 4, of course loosing to BoA.

  40. Thorzdad says:

    No insurance companies? Or do they have their own tournament?

  41. Santas Little Helper says:

    Can we get the US government on that list?

  42. Santas Little Helper says:

    Oh yeah, Sony FTW.

  43. bobomb says:

    Apple all the way.

    Let’s see… a wildly arrogant, innovation killing patent troll, who lifts ideas from other sources, then packages and sells them as their own in a moderately slick package, then flips out when other companies come out with vaguely similar devices, forcing them to spend millions on legal fees instead of more innovation?

    Or a company that… wants to target ads at you?

  44. bobomb says:

    Apple all the way.

    Let’s see… a wildly arrogant, innovation killing patent troll, who lifts ideas from other sources, then packages and sells them as their own in a moderately slick package, then flips out when other companies come out with vaguely similar devices, forcing them to spend millions on legal fees instead of more innovation?

    Or a company that… wants to target ads at you?

  45. bobomb says:

    Apple all the way.

    Let’s see… a wildly arrogant, innovation killing patent troll, who lifts ideas from other sources, then packages and sells them as their own in a moderately slick package, then flips out when other companies come out with vaguely similar devices, forcing them to spend millions on legal fees instead of more innovation?

    Or a company that… wants to target ads at you?

  46. bobosgirl says:

    Cant wait to vote for Bank of America!

  47. Outtacontext says:

    It’s very unfair to pit Verizon against AT&T at the outset. Both of those “teams” could go all the way. (And they deserve to.)

  48. Heyref says:

    Wow. How did Sony get such a low seed? I would have thought they would be good for top three in their region, at least.

  49. Invader Zim says:

    Where is ebay at?

  50. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I would vote for PayPal just for the whole censorship thing. I don’t do any business with any of the banks nor do I have a credit card, so I don’t have any experience with them.

    Perhaps AT&T for being so overpriced and hard to deal with when you have a problem. My problems with DSL (the most economical option I have, especially since I’m jobless now) have been legendary.

  51. Tardis78 says:

    Sallie Mae should make a strong showing. One of the happiest days of my life was when i consolidated my loans to another company. Sallie Mae’s costumer service is non existent, and outsourced. Nothing like trying to take care of an financial issues with someone who speaks broken English. I’ll pay hidden fees, just so I don’t have to use them.

  52. tasiann says:

    So happy my company is not on here this year!!
    We get a bad rep….

    • framitz says:

      My company is here, but I don’t think it will pass the first round as it really isn’t evil and actively tries not to be. No, I don’t work for Google.

  53. karlmarx says:

    This is going to be hard..

    Capital One, Google, Best Buy and Sallie Mae..

    I think Sallie Mae wins the final round..

    But for round one..
    I know my 2 out of 3
    Best Buy
    Qwest
    Chase

  54. corridor7f says:

    The only bad experience I’ve had was with Capital One – all the others are good with me, but that’s mostly based on minimal interaction.

    ..and Google, really? They’ve been ad-free forever and help me every day when I want to.. well, google!

  55. bwcbwc says:

    Not a PC manufacturer in the bunch, other than Apple. No HP, no Dell, no Lenovo. Obviously, The PC is dead.

  56. SoCalGNX says:

    HOw about putting something in where it it noticeable quickly that your ask the lawyer segment charges $48 for their service? This was really disappointing. I can pay less money to my local bar association and get an answer.

  57. quieterhue says:

    I nominated Spirit Airlines–glad to see they made the cut. But with so many despicable choices, it’s going to be a heated race to the bottom. ;-)

  58. Ed says:

    Oh boo! Netflix deserves to make it to at least round 2 but up against GameStop, I don’t see how that is possible.

  59. JF says:

    Good grief… there are so many companies that are horrible that aren’t even in the brackets. There are so many truly horrible companies out there that the brackets can’t even hold all of the viable contenders. It is troubling there are so many bad ones out there…….

  60. AndroidHumanoid says:

    Bank of America is gonna blow this right out the water! BofA FTW!

  61. chicagojeff says:

    The Battle of the Ages- Bank of America vs Comcast. Pure hubris at its best. Like the Celtics-Lakers of the 80′s, you can pencil these 2 in the finals every year for me.

    How can Sears/ K-Mart make the bracket? No one shops there. Ever

  62. chicagojeff says:

    Quick question for anyone. Who have the past 6 winners been?

  63. jimstoic says:

    Ticketmaster vs. FedEx. What? FedEx isn’t up there? Why not?

  64. JosephFinn says:

    Well, at least the stupidity of Apple being in the bracket will be over quickly.

  65. midwestkel says:

    Facebook vs BofA at the end!

  66. lemortede says:

    Ahh… Is it that time of the year already.

  67. Razor512 says:

    finalist will be AT&T and comcast, but AT&T will win out due to their 150GB cap for DSL users

    comcast will get a gold poop along with at&t because they are just as bad with their poor service, bandwidth caps and slow evening speeds.

  68. DangerMan says:

    As a former employee of Gamestop, you could put a tall steaming hot turd against them you wouldn’t have to guess where my vote will go.

    http://anotheramerican.hubpages.com/hub/Another-Ex-Gamestop-Employee

  69. BigFoot_Pete says:

    Seriously, how is Goldman Sachs not on this list? How is the Federal Reserve not? With all of the new articles about how much money they were lending/stealing… collapsing governments, creating millions of unemployed… it makes this tournament feel hollow for “worst.”

  70. Snip says:

    Tomorrow can’t get here soon enough.

  71. MrGutts says:

    Oh I want to see some internal e-mails from these companies like we did last year about this voting on the bracket..

  72. Sarek says:

    So how does one vote?

  73. consumerd says:

    My thought is I can’t see at&t completely winning. I do see paypal, ticketmaster, facebook, and comcast go for it. truthfully I have a dual Wan router so if the DSL goes down I probably wouldn’t worry too much about it as I can cancel and get a new provider and stay on my other WAN channel till replaced.

  74. exscind says:

    Actual worst company in America:

    MINDSPARK INTERACTIVE NETWORK.
    Creator of detestable adware/spyware/homepage hijackers including the some of the most rampantly prominent offenders:

    * Mindspark Interactive Network
    * MyWay (MyWay Search Assistant, MyWay Speedbar, MySearchbar)
    * MyWebSearch toolbar
    * MyFunCards
    * Cursor Mania
    * Zwinky
    * Smiley Central
    * Webfetti
    * Popular Screensavers
    * MyWebface
    * OurBabyMaker

    Parent company INTERACTIVECORP is also the parent of Ask.com (best known as an annoying toolbar sneakily installed with other programs including Java)

    The only reason they’re not a shoo-in for poo’in is nobody knows who the hell is behind all that stuff.

  75. PhilipCohen says:

    PayPal, surely, has to be the winner …

    And, just for a laugh, a critique of ‚ÄúThe New Way To Pay In-Store‚Äù via eBay’s clunky PreyPal.

    http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=24611

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

  76. thomwithanh says:

    Spirit Airlines is a formidable competitor for the Golden Poo, though it’s going to have a hard time against Ticketbastard, Skank of America, WorstBuy and Crapcast

  77. thomwithanh says:

    Actual worst company in America: The New York Yankees

  78. deniseb says:

    NETFLIX?

    Netflix is a great company. Even after they raised the price, it’s still an incredible bargain, and I’ve had nothing but good customer service from them. If only more companies were as good.

  79. JLyles says:

    Did I miss the Apple / Google poll?

  80. thomwithanh says:

    Is there going to be a Bronze Poo this year?

  81. Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

    My top 2 are…
    Facebook – for having the world’s WORST website “experience”, and tracking people.

    UPS – truely awful CS if you call the 800 number. And World Ship is the program on my computer I HATE THE MOST! When you open it to ship, it tells you you have updates to apply, so you apply them, and restart. Then, you enter the fields for the package you’re sending. Then, a freaking popup comes up saying there are updates that need to be applied and you need to immediately close World Ship. Reall?! And $1/$100 of additional insurance?

  82. PhilipCohen says:

    How disappointing; in a photo finish, Walmart (51.15%) has defeated PreyPal (48.85%). And I thought PreyPal would be odds-on favorite to win this contest. Still, if Walmart does go on to be the overall winner, it indicates that effectively PreyPal is considered to be almost equally as bad. Maybe if the organizers had seeded the contestants better PreyPal would at least have made it to the final round.

    Maybe PreyPal will have better luck next year as undoubtedly it will be nominated again.

    In the meantime, and just for a laugh, some serious analyses of PayPal’s “The New Way To Pay In-Store”, PayPal Here, PayPal Digital Wallet, PayPal Debit MasterCard, PayPal Local and Watch With eBay …

    http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=24611

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking