Round 10: CompUSA Vs DirecTV

pollsTake Our Poll

CompUSA may be out of business, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the Worst Company in America. Before their untimely demise, CompUSA (and/or their liquidator) sold crappy broken items at small discounts; raised prices before “lowering” them, sent callous pink slips to their employees, and sold a guy a $269 empty box.

DirecTV has a monopoly on the most wonderful product ever to exist, NFL Sunday Ticket, crashes through your ceiling with their feet and then refuses to fix it, extends your contract without warning you, and tries to make you sign up for crap you don’t want.

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


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  1. Coder4Life says:

    why woudl you even count compusa a company out of business?

  2. mabus says:

    gotta go with directv… no point in even mentioning a company that doesn’t exist to face the wrath and ire of teh internets and the fine, friendly folks from the consumerist.

  3. @Coder4Life: CompUSA was nominated and is still “America’s Leading ret…, but it deserves to lose.

    No need to kick a company while it’s down. What fun will it be to report for a year on the riveting news of which creditors are getting paid?

  4. fryfrog says:

    Are the vote boxes check boxes instead of a radio button for anyone else?

  5. icntdrv says:

    Uhm, theres a problem with the poll.

    The poll options were supposed to be posted with radio buttons, not check boxes. I just voted for both! Or was that supposed to happen?

  6. @Michael Belisle: s/”America’s Leading ret…/is still “America’s leading retailer of Computers” according to their website./

  7. homerjay says:

    Wow, even in death CompUSA is still winning.

  8. h0serdude says:

    Sweet it let me vote for both. :)

  9. whoareyou says:

    CompUSA should not be included in the poll. They are no longer a business. Only someone in business should be allowed to compete. (I’m just sore that my nominee Nintendo did not make the poll.)

  10. sleze69 says:

    I am surprised that so many people are voting for CompUSA. It sucked and suffered the consequences by going out of business. DirecTV still sucks.

  11. formatc says:

    CompUSA is an unfair choice because the name is currently owned by Systemax, who also owns Global Computer and TigerDirect, but bares little resemblence to the old guard. A vote for CompUSA is ambiguous to whether you are voting against the previous, defunct company, or the new Systemax entity.

  12. spryte says:

    Interesting – first one of these in which I haven’t voted for the frontrunner…

    I’ve heard many awful stories from friends and relatives about DirecTV. Plus, since CompUSA is out of business, it just feels like kicking someone when they’re down. Not that I wouldn’t do that to Comcast or UHC….

  13. Zombilina says:

    DirecTV for the win – or the loss, depending on how you look at it. I’m a former CSR for the company (well, I was an employee of the company they contracted to do customer service work) and I hated, hated, hated not only the job but the oft-incompetent installers and salespeople, the ridiculous fees, and their policies. And the company I worked for did very little to display care or concern for the employees while holding them to seriously high performance standards. That was really the worst part, and not really DirecTV’s fault, but they suck by association.

  14. Zombilina says:

    Oh by the way, after working for them, I would never purchase DirecTV service.

  15. Bladefist says:

    compusa isnt out of business. tigerdirect bought them and a few stores will remain open.

  16. AaronZ says:

    The closest contest so far, but it looks like DirecTV gets a free pass out of this competition. Too bad, they’re a much better candidate than 800-Flowers and Target. Put direct TV up against 800-Flowers and see how it comes out. (or not, as the case may be.)

  17. The ballot’s fixed, but the vote counts are reset and I can’t vote again. Are we being disenfranchised, Meg? Say it ain’t so.

  18. AceKicker says:

    Yes, DirecTV caught a lucky break with this matchup. Against a lot of other companies they could have easily made it to the second round.

    Still, I went with CompUSA. I didn’t like the fact that their sales were borderline fraudulent, but mostly because they canned thousands of employees like they only thought of them as a one night stand, without giving them any sort of proper warning. At least PRETEND to care. How would it hurt to say,

    “Hey, we’re probably not going to last another few weeks, so though it sucks you might want to start looking into other employment so that you can continue earning a paycheck. Sorry we suck so hard. We understand if you feel the urge to slack off these last few days, since you have nothing to lose. We’re cool with that, we really got nothing to lose anymore either.”

    Ok, maybe not that last part, but at least give them warning.

  19. DTV for now… CompUSA in the end as they still seem to overprice items just a tad bit even though they’re owned by Systemmax. There’s a problem when you can find something $20 cheaper before shipping at Best Buy.

  20. AceKicker says:

    @sleze69: I am surprised that so many people are voting for CompUSA. It sucked and suffered the consequences by going out of business. DirecTV still sucks.

    For me it wasn’t so much what led to their downfall than it was how they went about closing the business that I voted for them. And since they did still exist during almost the entire year of 2007, I don’t see any reason to exclude them from the voting.

  21. forgottenpassword says:

    You know… I had directV for maybe 7 years with prettymuch no problems at all so I cant complain about the treatment I recieved.

    I have not really frequented compusa, so I cant really comment.

    SO….. being as I have had nothing but good experiences with one & prettymuch no experience with the other…. I shall be voting for compusa (mainly because of the stories posted about them on the consumerist).

  22. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Exact same situation here.

  23. sgodun says:

    I have to vote for DirectTV, mainly because CompUSA is dead. What would it matter if a dead company was the worst?

  24. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Wow, I’m surprised DTV isn’t winning this one. They were great with excellent customer service back in 2001, but that just went downhill. Calling them for anything now is pure torture.

  25. mike1731 says:

    Count me in the minority, but my dealings (limited) with CompUSA were not all that bad. And, as others observed above, DirectTV still lives.

  26. CarMatchPro says:


    Torture is about right. Well put.

  27. spinachdip says:

    @sgodun: Since you’re asking, does it matter which business wins, active or otherwise? I mean, how seriously do you take online polls? Should we call in the UN election monitors?

  28. jwarner132 says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame CompUSA for all the bad stuff that happened during its liquidation process. Didn’t some third party company, not CompUSA corporate, manage the whole process and set the crappy “discount” prices?

  29. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @jwarner132: That doesn’t offset all the suckage when they were in business, but DirecTV (home of HDLiteâ„¢) is more evil.

  30. Tough call. But, if I’m forced to use common sense…
    DirecTV is still in business. (no excuse for bad behavior)
    CompUSA is not. (got what they deserved FOR bad behavior)

    I think consumers nationwide settled this one a long time ago.

  31. 17-A says:

    I’ve still yet to resolve my own issues with DirecTV. I was one of those customers who got their contract extended without fair warning and got the line about how “it’s company policy to inform customers about extensions to their contracts.” Quoting that policy does nothing to prove that I was actually informed though, and since I planned on living at the address where I got DirecTV for less than a year, I never would have accepted a contract extension if I had been notified about it.

    The account’s currently on hold while I try to figure out the best way to get around the ridiculous contract termination fee they want to charge me. It’s not like I can just go to the credit card company and claim an unauthorized charge; I’m going to have to try and deal with their customer (dis)service department and hope I get someone new and/or ethical.

  32. faust1200 says:

    Cool. How did you get a picture of Sara Jessica Parker in a DTV van?

  33. Wubbytoes says:

    DirecTV all the way.

  34. CPC24 says:

    @doctor_cos: I have DirecTV, and with the new satellite and 80 new HD channels last year, the HD-Lite is gone. The new channels look amazing. BTW, Comcast is going HD-Lite to up their channel count, according to some forums.

  35. ExecutorElassus says:

    Alas, the CompUSA in Buffalo (out in the creepy strip mall with Sears, an AmVets outlet, and TJMaxx) was actually not bad for modding parts a few years ago: I could get cable for pretty cheap, and they even had some case-cooling stuff. But then they decided to suck a phat, so I have to vote for them despite that my presence shorts out every DirecTV box I’ve ever encountered.

  36. ExecutorElassus says:

    PS- I love these apocalyptic matchup graphics. Will the finalists be juxtaposed against the Four Horsemen? A seven-headed beast bearing the Whore of Babylon?

  37. yikz says:

    I have Directv… 7 years now. I just upgraded to their new MPEG4 HD DVR. What a piece of junk! I left their MPEG2 HD Tivo to get more HD. The problems started right away. Video would lock up. Channel changes wouldn’t happen. If you brought up the onscreen menus, the menus started out extremely fast. Over time, they’ve slowed dramatically. Periodically, they just lock up. Today, I noticed I don’t get audio on the menu PIP. I used to be able to bring up a menu and the active channel moves to a PIP. Well, the audio now goes away. Fantastic. That’s pleasant. No more browsing the guide while watching basketball because the PIP is too small to see the action, and the audio is now gone.
    Originally, they wanted $300 to upgrade me from MPEG2 to MPEG4. And then they extracted another $5 a month for 4 more HD channels, 2 of which used to be included in the $10 HD package.
    DirecTV apparently forgot that, 2 years ago, they promised me a free upgrade when it was available if I spent $300 to upgrade to the latest MPEG2 HD Tivo. I felt like I was dealing with pawn shop owners.
    DirecTV tech support is certainly no better. They want you to factory reset the box if there’s a problem. MPEG2 Tivo, I never had a problem. Now, MPEG4 DVR, it’s a non-stop issue. Factory reset means I lose all my content. I lose all of my programming requests. Just yesterday, I noticed I lose audio when changing channels, or when watching time-shifted video.
    I call, and they want a factory reset. Broken record. I read on the satellite forums, and this is apparently a common problem. The box is half-baked. And it’s not just this box. It’s all of their MPEG4 DVR units. They’re continually pushing out new updates, but it’s a game of WHACK-A-MOLE. They fix one thing, but break two more. I wish they’d break down and go back back to Tivo. I have an HD Tivo. It’s bulletproof. The interface is great. It’s reliable. It just works. But they don’t want to license the software. They want to make more money by writing their own DVR code and putting out a CRAPPY product. When I was attempting to get an upgrade late last year, I threatened to go to Dish Network. Directv actually had the nerve to say they have the “industry leading DVR!” Right. That’s rich. I wish they would have been honest.

  38. ARVash says:

    I voted CompUsa, everything was overpriced and broken. Going in the store was not fun. The only time it was.. sorta fun was to see their going out of business sale, where items were 20% off.

    The shelving was the only deal in the whole place, that and maybe the CompUsa sign.

  39. nosebleed says:

    DirecTV… only because last night they cut my freakin’ cable line (that I got installed for internet on Monday) while installing a satellite dish system I don’t even want (roommate wanted it0 so now I have to get Time Warner out there to fix it, and hopefully don’t get charged for it.