Worst Company In America 2008: Preliminaries

It’s time to vote on which companies will get to compete in Consumerist’s Third Annual Worst Company In America contest. This year, you nominated 121 different companies, a new record. The poll is inside. You get one vote. The companies receiving the most votes will get seeded in our March Madness-style brackets. Then the clash of the customer service midgets commences! Note: because there’s 121 companies, the poll may take some time to load.

UPDATE: There were so many bad companies that it broke our poll system. We’ll have to take down the post and find a new poll system and try again. Any recommendations for non-crappy poll systems that can handle over several thousands responses?

UPDATE: We are working on a new poll solution and hope to try this again tomorrow.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Abusiveelusive says:

    Sweet. I got the first vote.

    Right now its 100% to Comcast!

  2. IamTCM says:

    Dont make me choose between Comcast and Best Buy.

  3. IrisMR says:

    I voted for Best Buy!

  4. EleanorRigby says:

    I wish Philadelphia Gas Works was on this list. They know why…

  5. odoketa says:

    I wanted to vote for comcast even though I’ve never dealt with them, on general principle. But in the end I had to vote for my personal ‘least favorite this year’ company, Dell.

  6. shan6 says:

    I couldn’t help going with American Airlines, because people doing business with them literally put their lives in the hands of this terrible company. But that is a mighty fine list…

  7. mrbiggsndatx says:

    Please i beg everyone to come back and vote for AT&T. I work for this shit that you call AT&T Mobility, and we suck!!

  8. sir_eccles says:

    So hard to just pick one!

  9. shan6 says:

    Also, when do we get to see the midgets!?

  10. G for GRENADE says:

    So many to choose from, so many bad experiences. But c’mon, I’m the first person to pick Exxon? Yeah, Comcast may have screwed you on your bill and Verizon mails out bills that are unreadable to the layman, but Exxon is weilding it’s gnarled cock of corporate greed every single day, and taking us to the bank the do so. C’mon people, get angry.

  11. clevershark says:

    No Halliburton or Blackwater?

  12. darkened says:

    Toshiba, HD-DVD nuff said.

  13. hi says:

    My vote was not added to the list.. so it’s really 122.

  14. rodeobob says:

    The American Arbitration Association got my vote. Seriously, these folks are hurting America. Female contractors allegedly raped in Iraq have to go through arbitration, and can’t go through the civil courts. That’s the (gruesome) tip of the iceberg; any system where the judges are hired by one side of an argument, and where repeat business is desired, has some ugly built-in bugs- er, features!

  15. savvy999 says:

    No Major League Baseball either? At least 2 or 3 of us mentioned this in the nominate thread.

  16. yesteryear says:

    i can’t believe someone else voted for video professor! ha! it looks like i’m not the only one who hates that guy in their commercials.

  17. Corydon says:

    I ended up going with Blue Cross Blue Shield. I’ve had nothing but trouble from them since I was forced to change health insurance providers in January. And thanks to federal regulations (at least according to my HR), I’m locked in with them for the whole year! No wonder the health insurance industry has no incentive to change.

    Other than that, I haven’t had any problems at all with any of the other companies I do business with, including WaMu, United Airlines, Comcast and Sprint.

    Regardless of what I read about other people’s experiences, here and elsewhere, I think it’s better to base my vote on my own experience.

  18. @clevershark:


  19. Trick says:

    Which companies are in bed with Bush? I hate both!

  20. hi says:

    This poll, although you included a lot of companies is not quite up to par.

  21. missdona says:

    U-ni-ted! U-ni-ted! They’re a special kind of horrible.

  22. Mills says:

    I can’t believe you made me choose just one! (And it was Walmar, because hating them will never go out of style.)

  23. adamsummers says:

    I’m going to have to go with Microsoft on this one. After about two dozen calls to their customer service line, as well as two BBB complaints, they still can’t solve my Xbox woes.

  24. opsomath says:

    This is a tough one. The pharma companies are the real temptation because of their entirely deserved reputation for making money off the sick and dying by a variety of unscrupulous marketing tactics…but at least they do some valid things.

    Chase, on the other hand, is like Usury-R-Us. They receive full marks for both Scope of Awfulness and Thoroughness of Awfulness, and get my vote.

    I have to agree, though – no matter how scuzzy a clothing store or an electronics outlet, they don’t have the potential for the widespread, monopolistic evil that a pharmaceutical company or a lender has. Come on, people, let’s get some perspective.

  25. Corydon says:

    @G for GRENADE: I would have voted for Exxon, but to be honest, the rapacious profits and the huge prices at the pumps have encouraged me to discover how good my transit options are and to get me riding my bike a whole heck of a lot more.

    So I’d like to thank Exxon for encouraging me to cut them off and live a healthier lifestyle!

  26. mopar_man says:

    I had to vote for the same company I voted for last year: Wal-Mart. I think it’ll be Comcast and Best Buy in the finals though.

  27. jdmba says:

    Didn’t Circuit City fire like 99% of its work force? They aren’t even on the list?

  28. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @rodeobob: I also voted for them. Industry spanning evil that is almost, if not in fact, impossible to avoid. Most of the other companies on the list you don’t have to do business with.

    I would like to see a “Worst Industry In America” contest after this. I wanna see Credit Unions and Health Insurance companies battle it out.

  29. ivanthemute says:

    @clevershark: Yea, but Haliburton and Blackwater customers aren’t the usual consumers addressed by this site. *and it pains me that my company is on this list… :( *

  30. SkokieGuy says:

    Wow, a smorgasboard of coporate evil, so hard to choose just one!

    There are some companies listed that I have not yet read Consumerists posts about. Could each company named be a hyperlink to posts to help share previous postings?

  31. punkrawka says:

    I’m biased by my recent experiences, but I chose Ticketbastard, because I just paid $93 for two $33 concert tickets. WTF???

  32. Chongo says:

    Shouldn’t Paypal be together with eBay?

  33. nequam says:

    @rodeobob: Can you even articulate what (if anything) the AAA had to do with those cases? Your comments suggest that you don’t understand the role of the AAA.

  34. Kat@Work says:


    I think maybe he’s suggesting that the AAA shouldn’t even exist… ?

  35. jeblis says:

    Gawker media for their crappy poll server?

    I’m gonna have to go with Fox News because their propaganda/sensationalism is hurting us the most.

    Exxon would be next since they’re gouging us.
    Healthcare/pharmaceutical would be next.

  36. Hoss says:

    Can someone from the help desk come by please? I can’t find the poll gawddamnit

  37. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Comcast! A thousand times, COMCAST!

  38. llcooljabe says:

    I must be missing something. There’s nothing loading, and I don’t see a poll.

  39. Ben Popken says:

    Poll is down (it’s just so dang popular!). Fixing, patience.

  40. Illusio26 says:

    Why can’t I see the poll?

  41. Mr. Guy says:

    although i can’t see this poll, i’m assuming that gawker media is a candidate, and i’d like to cast my vote that way right now.

  42. jasezero says:

    Can I vote for two? Cause it definitely would be Comcast and Best Buy!

  43. Sherryness says:

    I am so not-a-moron, but I can’t see this poll. Is it because I’m using IE? I’ll switch over and try Firefox…

  44. matto says:

    i vote for Gawker Polls too

  45. Sherryness says:

    Well, I guess there is an issue with the poll. But my deciding factor would have to be which company cost me the most time while contacting Customer Service. Thus Verizon would get my vote, hands-down! I had to contact them 4 times in the last 12 months, and no encounter (I say “encounter” because one contact was a CSR online, the other 3 were phone calls) was under 40 minutes. The fourth and FINAL encounter was 64 minutes, but that was the one where I got them to cancel me with no ETF! Woohoo!

  46. Buran says:

    It’s taking forever to load SOMETHING…

  47. Buran says:

    @Sherryness: No. It’s not working in Firefox either.

  48. @Sherryness: What Sherry said. No poll for me, either.

  49. BrianH says:

    Talk about shooting fish in a barrel. Bank of America is destined to fugg over more customers than ever this year.

    “And it looks like it’s Bank of America down the homestretch, pulling away like a freight train from the rest of the field….”

  50. The polls that Will Leitch uses dont breakdown…..

  51. B says:

    @MickelsonsManBoobs: Quick, let’s vote Consumerist for worst gawker blog ever.

  52. MikeB says:

    Not sure how much it would be, but SurveyMonkey is what we use at work.

  53. Alexander says:

    You should do this contest like your sister site Deadspin does it for the SHOTY. Brackets and then crown a champion.

  54. flairness says:

    @Sherryness: Yes, I’ve been itching to vote for Verizon too (dang poll). I have called them 21 times in 3 months, and STILL don’t have DSL service. At the moment, I had to contract Communistcast so that we could get some freaking internet in the house.
    I reported Verizon to the BBB today after 3 emails to Mark Reddick (Customer Service Executive) and the CEO went ignored.

  55. Trai_Dep says:

    122th nominated company: the one that previously hosted the Consumerist Worst Company in America poll until it crashed and burned.

  56. Jim says:

    Oops. Sorry we broke it! Maybe do it by invite only for a day or two?

    /”Where’s my e-vitation?”
    //sorry, not fark

  57. savvy999 says:

    yikes. Gawker developers can’t make a radio button array work? Read the names from a DB, enter the selectedValue into a DB. How hard is that?

    You could also populate a simple Dropdown box with the names, and a Submit button. That would lesson the load.

  58. Scuba Steve says:

    Best Buy tries their best, but they don’t hold a monopoly on expensive crap for stupid people.

    Comcast, however, does have a non-trivial amount of the United States in its monopoly. A company can suck to a whole nother level when it doesn’t have consequences to its actions.

  59. zivah says:

    Um….hello? Verizon wins with NO CONTEST WHATSOEVER.

  60. Sherryness says:

    Yeah, I read about that, that is awful! Nice nick-name, Flairness. :)

  61. no.no.notorious says:

    ohhhh i can’t vote yet!!!!!

  62. thekicker says:

    As much as I hate Comcast, my vote would have to be for ExxonMobile. They’ve posted the largest company PROFIT ever in U.S. history recently, yet gas prices continue to rise for what…? Bastards.

  63. str1fe13 says:

    The thing I’ve found about Best Buy, Verizon, and Comcast is that BB and Verizon are good in some parts of the country and bad in others. My Best Buy isn’t great, but the one in a neighboring town is. Verizon is the best service where I live, but I understand it’s the worst in some places as well. Comcast is universally bad, I’ve never heard a good Comcast testimonial, so they’ll be getting my vote when the poll goes up.

  64. @missdona: I second the nomination of United. In fact, Considering their history (from being the flag carrier and opposing opening international flight to other airlines, their long bitter destructive feud with their machinists union and their present), they might be able to win the Worst Company of the Past 50 Years.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I’m still writing in the Bush Adminstration.

  66. Angryrider says:

    We can’t target an industry… I was going to target Big Healthcare…
    Okay it’s Blue Cross Blue Shield for calling a woman’s miscarriage a selective abortion. Or could it be Kaiser for letting a little girl die just because she wasn’t in their hospital… Flip a coin?

  67. Okaasan says:

    Right now . . . Yahoo is majorly sucking. They’ve blocked me for my spam reporting. Go figure that one.

  68. mike says:

    In reply to a non-breaking poll system, how about paper votes? We mail them in…


  69. A good PHP script with a MySQL backend that can handle thousands of simultaneous and concurrent connections should work just fine as a polling program.

  70. AndThenIFoundFiveDollars says:

    @Papa Midnight: Seriously. Consumerist, give me 10 minutes and your database schema and I’ll write one for you.

  71. balthisar says:

    As long as you’re looking for a new voting system, how about one that lets us rank, say, the worst 10? You’ll get better results, because we won’t be torn between one and the other.

  72. flairness says:

    @Sherryness: You read about it? Did they post it?

  73. nevergod says:


  74. time warner and con edison in a battle for dominance over nyc

  75. SportsCentre says:

    Make it tournament style.
    Every day have 2 or 4 companies face off and the worst company of them moves on to the next round.

  76. PaulMorel says:

    @SportsCentre: I agree with this suggestion. Having to vote for 1 of 122 is just too difficult.

    For the first round, split them into groups that are based on industry. So all the telecoms would be on one ticket, all the electronics retailers on another ticket, … and so on.

    The winners of each round would face off in 1v1 cage matches.

  77. jimt says:

    Dell gets my vote because of their stellar customer service and strict adherence to the terms of their warranties.

  78. Ben Popken says:

    This is just the prelims to decide who gets to be seeded in the tournament-style brackets. Don’t worry, much voting fun awaits.

  79. Shannon says:

    Pick one of the 3, Comcast or Best Buy or Circuit City.

  80. deadlizard says:

    @yesteryear: If it was for commercials I hate, eHarmony would get my vote right away.

  81. boxjockey68 says:

    I vote walmart

  82. Bunklung says:

    1. Comcast
    2. Walmart
    3. All other companies :)

    4. I’m just kidding about (3), but you aren’t.

  83. Ms Pointy says:

    Bank of America, sweet jeebus, Bank of America

  84. HOP says:

    BEST BUY……sucketh

  85. Kavatar says:

    I blame Comcast for messing up the poll.

  86. tomthebomb says:

    HealthNet, Comcast a close second

  87. peggyhill says:

    The City of Chicago topps all this but they are not a business. they outsource and tax everything under the gdmf sun… it’s almost impossible to live here anymore… and they send out people to make sure that we’re not getting around some fees/levies (they’ll run plates to verify that you have the right city sticker)

  88. nyobserver says:

    1) Exxon
    2) Halliburton
    3) MSFT
    4) Time-Warner Cable
    5) any random pharma: Glaxo, Novartis, Pfizer

  89. Typhoid says:

    @thekicker: I agree with you about gas prices. If they’re making RECORD profit (and every quarter they’re making record profit), gas prices should not be skyrocketing. Fuel companies FTL (for the loss…).

  90. BugMeNot2 says:

    cable one

  91. ct03 says:

    @flairness: Isn’t this your story? [consumerist.com]

  92. TIME WARNER CABLE (formerly Adelphia, which was just as bad).

    runner-up: any contractor in Iraq

  93. daisygrrl says:

    oh, it has to be a cell phone company. any one.

  94. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Can I vote for the TSA?

  95. SchecterShredder says:

    Without a doubt, Best Buy is the WORST company on the face of the planet. I wish they would go away, I even PRAY for it. Yes, they got me good ONCE.

  96. create says:

    I am shocked no one has mentioned the NFL

    but tbh, for me its the gas/oil companies, or sprint, right now I hate sprint

  97. ldavis480 says:

    This is funny, when I clicked on the poll link I was thinking to myself “I’m going to either vote for Comscat or Best Buy”. Lo and behold all of the comments here seem to be festooned with opinions agreeing to vote for either of both of my original choices ;-)

  98. jaewon223 says:

    Can you guys add Bush Administration to that pole? Technically we bought him with our votes.

  99. evilhapposai says:

    1.Walmart because its Walmart
    2.Best Buy

  100. mokona7 says:

    hope the poll comes up again soon so I can click Comcast

  101. StevieD says:




    Southwest Airlines

  102. NewsBall24 says:

    Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns every ABC station in Minnesota as well as a few stations in New York and New Mexico.
    Their slogan should be We put the “funk” in dysfunctional!

  103. Rode2008 says:


    A corrupt company with poor management, a poor product mix and a dismal future.

  104. Part-Time-Viking says:

    It bothers me to see so many people throwing in their votes for things like Best Buy when drug companies, oil companies, and credit companies screw people over on a much grander scale than what ANY retail chain could ever achieve.

    It seems to me that a staggering number of you are too hung up on this rather unjustified “Screw Best Buy” band wagon. Yes, I understand that there have been mess ups, but every one of them involve maybe one person, two maybe.

    Frankly, there are bigger fish than Best Buy that deserve the vote.

  105. Oracle989 says:

    Starbucks, I hate to see them mark up that coffee 1200% and put a fancy name on it to justify it. IT’S IN FRITALIAN!

  106. deadlizard says:

    The poll possibly crashed because of all the Comcast votes.

  107. Savage says:

    Walmart, Halliburton, 1800Flowers & the TSA.

  108. flairness says:

    @ct03: YES, why couldn’t I see that in the site? After Sherry mentioned it, I did a search and also went back like a week. Weird.

  109. Sherryness says:

    Unless they posted about some other person’s nightmare problem with Verizon DSL, yes, they posted it. But it’s possible it was someone else – I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a trend.

  110. smokeyjoe says:

    It’s wonderful (in a dreadful way) that there were so many dreadful companies that it broke the poll system :)

    Hope you can get it up soon (sorry, that sounds rude) …

  111. yukonrye says:

    After hearing about Comcast filling up seats with their own employees I am switching my vote from Best Buy.

    Now hurry up and fix the polls before all this spite wears off.

  112. LikeYourFace says:

    @matto: Good point! We paid good money for our Gawker Media services! Oh ,wait, fuck. This shit’s free, so quit your bitchin.

  113. cavetree says:

    ATT / we don’t care we don’t have to

  114. clergymen from molluscs says:

    I suppose you know: Freakonomics linked you.

  115. Irish0eyes says:

    To me the worst company is an evil company. And Exxon Mobil is evil personified. Did you read the article about trying to get a reduced judgement on the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster. The company has no conscience. If ANWAR were opened up they would be the first company up there drilling holes left and right. They made 40 billion dollars last year. 100 dollar a barrell oil is making a shambles of our economy and they keep recording record profits. I am glad Venezuela nationalized Exxons holdings. This companies sales exceeds the GNP of most nations. Heck OPEC was probably their idea.

  116. Sactown20 says:

    Come on guys, this one easily goes to Monsanto. From the company’s manufacturing of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War to their modern-day products that range from genetically-modified seeds to patents on breeding processes for pigs, this company comes straight from the depths of hell. Former Monsanto employees currently hold positions in US government agencies such as the FDA and EPA and even the Supreme Court. These include Clarence Thomas, Michael Taylor, Ann Veneman and Linda Fisher. Linda Fisher has even been back and forth between positions at Monsanto and the EPA.
    Donald Rumsfeld reportedly earned $12 million from increased stock value when G. D. Searle & Company was sold to Monsanto in 1985.

  117. ticketyboo says:

    The worst company ever is EBAY!!