Costco, Amazon Top Most-Trusted Company Survey; Comcast Brings Up The Rear

We live in a time where very few companies engender a lot of trust in the buying public. But some businesses still do a better job than others at developing a positive relationship with consumers.

Accoding to the 2011 Temkin Trust Ratings, which looks at the level of trust that consumers have in 143 large U.S. companies in a total of 12 industries, only eight companies earned “very strong” ratings while 26 earned “very weak” ratings.

Here are the top 10 overall most trustworthy companies, along with their respective industry in parentheses:
(1) USAA (insurance)
(2) (retail)
(3) Costco (retail)
(4) Edward Jones (investment firm)
(4) Hyatt (hotel chain)
(4) Sam’s Club (retail)
(4) TriCare (health plan)
(8) Kohl’s (retail)
(9) Walgreens (retail)
(10) Vanguard (investments)

Meanwhile, companies at the bottom of the trust list are familiar to those of you who follow Consumerist’s annual Worst Company in America tournament: Comcast, Charter Communications, HSBC, CIGNA, Time Warner Cable, U.S. Bank, and Anthem.

In fact, Comcast and Charter were so bad that they each made the bottom 10 list twice for their untrustworthy TV cable service and internet service.

“Most companies have not earned a great deal of trust with consumers and it’s a pervasive problem in several industries,” states Bruce Temkin, author of the report and Managing Partner of Temkin Group.

The full list of ratings can be found here.


Edit Your Comment

  1. mauispiderweb says:

    I miss going to Costco every week.

    • Coffee says:

      Costco, Amazon, and grunge music: Washington says you’re welcome, America.

    • Cat says:

      If you’re going to Costco every week, you’re doing it wrong.

      • mauispiderweb says:

        it was mainly for cheap DVDs … used to go every Tuesday, cause there was usually something I wanted being released and it was the cheapest place on Maui and usually cheaper than Amazon or Deep Discount.

      • Anonymously says:

        I worship at the altar of free samples on Sunday morning.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        … Last week, I went to Costco on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and almost went on Sunday, but we changed our mind.

        We are *so* doing it wrong.

      • AnthonyC says:

        I disagree. Costco has higher quality and better priced produce, cheeses, and prepared foods than almost any other grocery store I’ve gone to.

  2. Cat says:

    “Comcast” and “up the rear”, in the same sentence?

    Such a thing has never been heard before…

  3. mister_roboto says:

    Sam’s Club? Really? I’ve never shopped there, but have other people found it to be good?

    • Franklin Comes Alive! says:

      I find it’s not as good as Costco, but still pretty good. We actually have them both where I live, but most places only have one or the other. So if you don’t have Costco, Sam’s might be a good substitute.

      • Straspey says:

        I was going to chime in about SAM’S CLUB because we actually let our Costco expire a few years ago in favor of Costco. For our needs, we found Sam’s offered the best selection of household items which we use on a regular basis for the best value. We’ve actually purchased two HP desktop computer bundles from them, as well as a few other “large-ticket” items.

        Their customer service is excellent, and they have a very liberal return policy. My only complaint is they will occasionally remove one of our favored items from their inventory and no longer sell it – which has proved to be a disappointment a few times.

        I know lots of people who swear by Costco, and we’re fortunate enough to have one close by – so perhaps we should give them a second look.

        Also – FWIW – I also agree with the high marks given to Walgreen’s.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Other than being the warehouse division of Walmart?

    • kewpie says:

      I’m not usually a Wal-Mart fan and rarely shop there, but I do love Sam’s Club (yes, I realize they are the same company). The customer service is so much better than Wal-Mart (possibly because Sam’s Club employees are paid better). And, I’ve gotten some great deals there. I’d have a membership just to get their avocados every couple weeks. The quality and price just can’t be beat.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      It’s pretty good, I guess. I don’t have a membership but my company does and I have to go every once in a while and get break room supplies. There are lots of things I would get if I could. Maybe I’ll have to get a membership for Toilet in a Box, since I need a new one anyway.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Amazon is awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever think otherwise. I just renewed for another year of Prime, too.

    • Cat says:
    • blinky says:

      People said the same about Netflix.

    • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

      After getting 2 “new” items from amazon in the same order, and both of them being messed up, and then having been charged shipping to ship the one back (they never came to pick up the second one, and we ended up keeping it), I am now on a purchase cautiously basis with them

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Did you buy them directly from Amazon or a third party seller that has a storefront on Amazon? I haven’t had any problems with Amazon replacing things that weren’t up to spec. Years ago, there were defects with the design of the Alias box set and even though I had opened it already, Amazon shipped me a second box set so I could compare. Same defects, and Amazon refunded my money and I didn’t have any problems.

  5. longfeltwant says:

    And by “Costco, Amazon Top Most-Trusted Companies List” you mean “USAA Tops Most-Trusted Companies List”, right? Or am I somehow misunderstanding the fact that USAA is ranked #1?

    • jefeloco says:

      But USAA neither checks receipts or packages shipments in over-large packaging.

      It’s all about perspective.

    • Jawaka says:

      I find it hard to believe that an insurance company is the most trusted company in the country. I mean, I’m not a corporation hater but I’d just assume that insurance companies would get more complains and earn more hard feeling than other industries.

      • jefeloco says:

        Insurance, banking, investment, amazingness. Those are USAA’s wares.

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          USAA still has honor and integrity, and cares about their members. I am lucky enough to be a member, and really appreciate it.

          • jefeloco says:


            I use as many service as I can through them. The only way they could improve their service for me would be to open a branch of their bank within 500 miles of me, preferably within 20 :)

      • Raekwon says:

        USAA is a whole different breed of insurance company. Unfortunately it’s not open for everyone to use.

      • erinpac says:

        When other insurance companies call to hassle me, I tell them I currently have USAA. They usually hang up.

        USAA is awesome.

    • EdK says:

      Also, #10 was Lowe’s, not Vanguard, in the source article.

  6. Olivia Neutron-Bomb says:

    Kohl’s at #8? lolwut?

    • Anonymously says:

      They will literally take anything back. If you insist that you bought a half-eaten sandwich at Kohl’s, they’ll give you money back for it.

  7. HannahK says:

    I don’t get why Sam’s is much higher than WalMart and Old Navy is much higher than the Gap. They’re the same company. How was this data collected?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      They might be owned by the same company but have different staffs and operations. USAA is listed several times because each division of the one company is judged. Likewise, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express both appear on the list and AT&T internet and AT&T TV service are listed separately.

      • HannahK says:

        Right. I don’t object to the fact that they’re listed separately, it just seems like if someone had been asked point blank “which do you trust more, Gap or Old Navy” the obvious answer would be “same, because they’re the same company.” It’s surprising that there were such large differences in trust level there. It’s much less surprising that two branches of Comcast and Charter were listed together in dead last.

  8. Rocket says:

    Where’s Newegg? What about Google?

  9. axiomatic says:

    Speaking as someone who is currently with Comcast but used to have their geographic market location serviced by Time Warner (Houston TX) I can say with utmost certainty that Comcast is FAR better than Time Warner at least for us Houstonians.

    My only complaint with Comcast lately is the ridiculous prices and the channel bundling. They are however providing me with a pretty good internet connection. Far better than AT&T… that’s for sure.

    A la carte channels can’t come fast enough. (Real a la carte, not the faux a la carte currently being proposed.)

  10. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    Between Costco and Trader Joe’s, I am in consumer heaven!

  11. rmorin says:

    Best Company in America tournament please …

  12. Emerson says:

    I am surprised that Wells Fargo ranked so high. I would hate to have to deal with the companies that ranked worst than Wells Fargo. Note: I was a customer in the past. I emphasize was.

    50 Wells Fargo Advisors Investment Firm
    90 Wells Fargo Credit Card Issuer
    96 Wells Fargo/Wachovia Bank Bank

  13. jojo319 says:

    OK, I’m not trying to cause a sh*tstorm, but it at least seems that the companies at the bottom are in the industries that are the most regulated. you know, to “protect” us.

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      Yeah, but 4 of the top 10, including the #1 spot are in those industries as well.

      Maybe those companies being so un-trustworthy is the reason they need regulation now?

    • jojo319 says:

      The cable industry is a pretty poor example. They have been in cahoots with government for years over monopolistic “territories”. I bet if Charter were allowed to go head-to-head with Comcast, both would improve.

  14. EdK says:

    Comcast was not in last place, Charter was. Looks like Morran didn’t click through to the last page of the list.

    Also, Lowe’s was #10 and Vanguard was #11.

    Gotta sharpen those cut and paste skills, Consumerist editors! :P

  15. whosyer12 says:

    Both available here too. Very similar but slightly prefer Sam’s. primarily for their absolutely top-notch fresh cut meat/butcher department.

  16. Extended-Warranty says:

    I trust Amazon to continue driving this country to the bottom through undercutting prices below costs that is uncompetitive just to gain market share, replace good jobs with warehouse jobs, cut jobs at the very sight of collecting sales tax like the rest of the world, to name a few.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Sources? How has Amazon done any of that. I mean, I just haven’t heard that being applied to Amazon. And if it has been, how does it differ from other retailers? Amazon offers low prices – but it’s not always the lowest. It has, on occasion, stopped working with third party sellers in a particular state if the state insists on collecting sales tax via Amazon. It doesn’t mean the third party sellers are then unemployed.

  17. sgmax2 says:

    Amazon lost my trust after they bought Lexcycle (developer of Stanza, the most popular iOS book-reader app), let its development team go, and failed to upgrade it. They have known that iOS5 would cause the app to fail since March – it is clear that they don’t intend to support it any more. Having eviscerated Lexcycle, they are now pretending that this is nothing to do with them. Way to disenchant a lot of people (2 million users) with all things Kindle …

    • balderdashed says:

      Amazon lost my trust too, simply by breaking my number one rule: Don’t lie to me. If you go to right now, you can pick out a DVD or Blu-Ray, and Amazon will assure you, “Order in the next 2 hours to get it by Thursday, Oct 20.” If you place the product in your cart, you will again see, “Get it by Thursday, Oct 20.” It is only after you have clicked the button to place your order, that will you receive a message that refers to this date as a “Delivery estimate.” How does “get it by” become a “delivery estimate” as soon as they have your cash? Am I saying that most other merchants don’t play the same games? No. Am I aware that no merchant can really “guarantee” that a package delivered by UPS, Fed Ex, etc. will arrive at a particular time, absolutely? Yes. But that’s still no excuse for what is nonetheless deceptive, even if others do it. In my experience, I’ve found that Amazon used to be better, but that shipments now tend to arrive at the “estimated” time somewhat less often than those from several other merchants — who sometimes surprise me by delivering earlier than they “promised.” And I still haven’t forgotten one Christmas a few years ago, when I was naive enough to actually believe Amazon’s guarantee to deliver my kids’ presents before the holidays. I’d agree that Amazon is generally reliable, their return policies are reasonable, and their prices are often (though not always) lower than their competition. But that doesn’t get them a medal, or the number two spot on my most trustworthy list. Amazon is better than average — but with companies likes Sears and Best Buy out there, the curve is really pretty low.

  18. kcrobinson says:

    Is anyone else surprised by US Bank being so low on the list. The article says that we shouldn’t be surprised considering the Worst Company in America tournament, but they’ve never been a nominee as far as I know. They’re not known for predatory lending, for robo-signing foreclosures, for excessive fees, or anything else that I can think of. They’ve never been bailed out by the government. They’re about as average of a bank as I can think of.

  19. balderdashed says:

    A surprise on this list is Walgreens. How does a company that had to pay $35 million to settle a lawsuit over improperly switching drugs given to Medicade patients, so it could squeeze more money out of taxpayers, rate a spot on the list of the ten most trustworthy companies? That was in 2008. And it was just this year that Walgreens settled a well-publicized civil lawsuit over double-billing Medicare and Medicade for prescription drugs. Of course, they denied any wrongdoing.

    In my own dealings with Walgreens, I’ve found their pharmacists (as well as other employees) to be less than helpful — and sometimes less than ethical. Example: The last time I came in to get a couple of prescriptions filled, I was told to come back, and that my prescriptions would be ready in a couple of hours. But when I came back, I was advised that one of my prescriptions could not be filled by that night — it was out of stock. Of course by then, most other drugstores, who might have been able to fill the prescription, were closed. I asked the pharmacist why he didn’t tell me he couldn’t fill one of my prescriptions when I first showed up, or telephone me (I’d left my cell phone number) when I would have still had time to go somewhere else. He had no answer. Yet he had effectively held my prescription hostage, ensuring I’d have no chance to go to a competitor — and would likely be sick a day longer as a result.

    After several other disappointing transactions, I gave up on their pharmacy, but would still buy a few items from elsewhere in the store. That was until last month, when I tried to use my American Express card, and a Walgreens clerk demanded my zip code. As many readers of Consumerist are aware, a lot of customers don’t want to give out their zip codes; there have been lawsuits over the issue, and in at least one state (California) it’s illegal for retailers to require a zip code as part of a credit card transaction. When I refused to give my zip code, a conversation ensued with the store manager. He insisted that it’s not Walgreens, but American Express that requires I provide my zip — if I have a problem with that, I should check with American Express, he said. I did. In fact, Am Ex discourages merchants from requiring zip codes, though it doesn’t actually ban the practice, as some other credit card companies do.

    I hope Walgreens’ managers at least keep a good stock of fire extinguishers on hand — it seems their pants are often on fire.

    I’d have to place Walgreens far down the list of companies I’d trust — ahead of Comcast, but not by much.

  20. final_atom says:

    list is not really surprising.

  21. final_atom says:

    surprise that newegg is not in the top 10.

  22. thomwithanh says:

    I’m surprised JetBlue is not on the list

  23. oldgraygeek says:

    Amazon just screwed me over, and lost us as a customer… I’m going to demand a refund on my Prime membership, and attempt a chargeback if they balk.
    In a nutshell:
    –Amazon had a part I needed to fix a leaking faucet, and it wasn’t available locally, so I ordered it early Monday afternoon for overnight shipping.
    –At 4:30 Tuesday morning, they sent me an Email that it hadn’t shipped. I called Amazon at 8, and asked them why it hadn’t shipped and why I hadn’t been notified. Their rep promised me, verbally and in Email, that it WOULD arrive Tuesday, so I didn’t drive sixty miles to Philly to pick up the part.
    –That evening, I found out that no effort had been made by anyone to get me the part that day… and, if I hadn’t called them again, it wouldn’t have arrived Wednesday either.

    I got it, and it fit, but F*** Amazon. I will be demanding a refund of my Prime membership fee, and I will shift all my personal and business purchases to other vendors. Without a time machine, there is nothing they can do to get THIS customer back.

  24. Ashman says:

    and I happily use the top 3 for most of my needs. :)

    Does that make me a better consumer?

  25. ap0 says:

    I just had a lawnmower delivered overnight from Amazon… for an extra $4. I love Prime.

  26. JohnJ says:

    I trust US Bank to regularly add new fees.