Worst Company In America Round One: Comcast Vs. Time Warner Cable

Finishing off this week of blood-drenched business battles is a pairing between two of the largest — and two of the least-favorite — cable companies in the country. The fight is scheduled to begin anywhere between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Two years ago, Comcast rolled through the WCIA brackets like a Comcast truck rolling by your house without stopping to make the service appointment. Since then, the crew from Kabletown has done little to show that it doesn’t deserve to win the Golden Poo trophy once more.

But it’s not just the near-constant complaints about Comcast from our readers that have them as an early front-runner this year. Plenty of trusted researchers and news outlets say Kabletown is not a town you want to visit.

Out of 143 companies named on the Temkin Trust Ratings, Comcast managed to load up the back of the pack, coming in both 140th and 141st place for its untrusted Internet and cable service, respectively.

Even a recent Fortune survey of most-admired businesses showed what executives at other corporations think of Comcast — not much. You would think that the suits would be impressed by Comcast’s brazen hiring away of the FCC Commissioner who only months earlier had championed the company’s acquisition of NBC Universal.

And in an MSN Money customer service poll, Comcast had one of the 10 worst ratings, and the second worst rating for a cable company.

Which brings us to Time Warner Cable, which actually had a worse rating on that MSN survey.

TWC might not be snatching up bottom-tier broadcasters like NBC or have the political pull to lure away high-placed regulators, but they do appear to have a corporate culture that is just fine/dandy with ineptitude.

How else do you explain screwing up the cable bills of at least 15,000 people in one fell swoop? Or randomly performing an unauthorized credit check on a customer — and dinging his credit score in the process? And then there was the TWC subscriber who needed four service appointments just to have a tech come out and create a situation that required police intervention.

It’s Friday afternoon. Almost time to punch out for the weekend. But before you do, punch one of these companies where it hurts — in the Worst Company In America polling place.
(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 18)

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Robofish says:

    Considering they just raised our cable bill again, Comcast.

  2. MichaelRyanSD says:


    • Patriot says:

      Why? Do you get DOCSIS 3.0? Comcast has actually upgraded most of their footprint. Time Warner, not so much.

      • vastrightwing says:

        I know this is very tough. They both suck badly… it’s just that Comcast/xFinity sucks slightly more than TW. Don’t worry, there’s always next year TW.

      • Xizer says:

        Time Warner offers 50/5 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 in the majority of their markets and it is COMPLETELY UNCAPPED. Comcast has bandwidth caps on all of their Internet connections. You can only use a 50 Mbps Comcast Internet connection at its capacity for 12 hours before hitting your cap! On Time Warner you can use it 24/7 the entire month, transferring over 60 TIMES as much data as Comcast will allow you to transfer. You are allowed to download more data in one month on a Time Warner 50 Mbps Wideband connection than Comcast will allow you to in 5 YEARS of subscribing to their capped connections.

  3. jsl4980 says:

    Aw this isn’t a fair fight, Comcast has more subscribers to disappoint than TWC does so the vote won’t be “how bad is the company” just “which bad company is bigger”?

    Voters, don’t forget that Time Warner is trying to reintroduce metered billing on home broadband plans.

  4. ThinkingBrian says:

    I’ve never used either company and while I don;t have plans too any time soon, I believe that Comcast will win this one is a good battle.

  5. Cat says:

    Bigger, more evil, more incompetent, and more monopolistic…

    …and then there’s that whole “we’re giving an FCC commissioner a cushy job almost immediately after she approved the our merger” thing.

  6. MutantMonkey says:

    I’m in a TWC area. Easy choice.

  7. BrownLeopard says:

    I’ve always been a happy Time Warner customer. Using negotiation tactics I’ve read on Consumerist has kept our bill low, our DVR full of shows/movies and our internet speeds high for many years.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      Time Warner has a policy of encrypting all of their channels so that cable cards are more difficult to use with a Tivo or PC based PVR. This is why I view them as the intolerable local monopoly.

  8. consumed says:

    TWC because that’s who serves my area. And they raised my 10 meg Road Runner service from 39.99/mo to 44.99/mo and then to 54.99/mo within a 6 month time span. I cancelled even after the rep tried to keep me and put me back on a promotional rate.

    • consumed says:

      And the price wasn’t the reason I was cancelling, BTW, it’s because I’m moving in with my significant other and they already have AT&T. So to Time Warner, they lost a customer because of the price increase, not because of the fact I’m moving.

  9. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    Never had twc but I have a blood feud with comcast over incompetent techs and phantom billing, so I’m riding comcast until the wheels fall off in the WCIA

  10. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I lived in one of those areas that was Comcast and was traded/switched to become TWC. Same service, same account, same everything. TWC was far better once they took over. Far less downtime, far fewer problems, far better support.

  11. krom says:

    Since cable companies don’t compete, this will come down to which one more Consumerist readers are customers of.

  12. bnceo says:

    Never had TWC, but with Comcast, sure I’ve had issues. But their Twitter team has more than made up for it. I reward their good CSRs. TWC with their meter billing can go to hell

  13. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    This one is weird for me, because in the Houston area we used to have Time Warner, but they got bought out/sold/merged with Comcast. So I’ve been a customer of both.

    The service was essentially the same, but when I moved the last time Comcast tried to charge me a fee for moving ($40!), and in the mean time kept trying to up-sell me. All I wanted to do was tell them I was moving. I didn’t need a guy to come out and hook everything up. I know how to hook up a cable box.

    I cancelled my service with them after finding out that AT&T would pay me $350 to sign up with them, and I got more channels for the same monthly cost as Comcast.

    The only thing negative I could say about the switch is that Comcast seems to have better internet than AT&T U-verse.

    I wonder if Comcast still has their awful DVR software. Ugh… I had no idea how bad it was till I switched and got a better one.

    • Robofish says:

      You mean the one that randomly records shows that you didn’t tell it to record, and randomly deletes shows you did record?

      • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

        Yes, that, and how you can’t search the guide by show name or actor or anything. I remember it being really slow and buggy. And you could only record two things at once and watch nothing, or watch one thing and record one thing. With AT&T I can record 2 shows in HD and still watch another channel, or record 4 SD shows (not that I ever do.. lol.).

        Oh and you couldn’t look more than 3 days ahead in the guide… UGH.

        • Robofish says:

          Now I think you can record two shows and watch one. The guide goes further in the week, but it still randomly deletes things and records stuff we didn’t tell it to. Comcast says it’s our box going bad (possible), but I don’t know because it’s not that old.

  14. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    Seeing as how they completely shut off my service instead of just changing my plan like I wanted, Comcast. To make it worse, it happened while I was gone, and it required a 1 1/2 hour phone call (1 hour of which I was randomly put on hold) after I got back. I was going on 26 hours without sleep and needed to e-mail out a report before I could crash, so it was a pretty maddening experience. The script they read off of was just insulting, too. You don’t have to spend 30 seconds of every two minutes reminding me about “how much you care” and “guarantee the problem will be resolved today”.

    Also before you ask, Comcast is the only cable internet provider I have as a choice. I will jump ship as soon as they lose their monopoly in this area.

  15. Sunflower1970 says:

    Voting Time Warner. They raised our bill and they’re looking at metering their internet service again.

  16. scoosdad says:

    Comcast, even though technically I’ve never personally received service from them.

    I used to pay for cable TV for an elderly friend and neighbor who ended up in a nursing home. Her family dumped here there and didn’t care about her at all. The bill was in my name, sent to my home address, with a comment note about it saying it was for service at the XYZ Home, Room 21B.

    When she passed away, it took three months for me to get them to stop the billing even though the nursing home called Comcast the day after she was gone and they came by for the box and to unplug the line at the building’s terminal block immediately. Then the struggle became Comcast claiming they couldn’t refund the three months to me, because the account, they said, wasn’t in my name, and because I didn’t live in one of their service territories. They wanted to send the check to the dead neighbor. Or her deadbeat nephew. But not to me.

    It finally took ‘Comcast Cares’ Frank Eliason getting involved to patch things up, and I believe it involved me threatening to take them to small claims court (in an area where they didn’t have offices) and that I had already decided that if I won and they still didn’t pay, I wanted to send the sheriff to take posession of their pay-per-view billing computer at their nearest head-end facility.

  17. Squeezer99 says:

    I think they are both equally as evil, but TWC has less market share.

  18. clydesplace says:

    Time Warner. Certainly. Although I knew Comcast would take this round – again.

  19. thomwithanh says:

    We have TimeFucker and they’re horrible – although CrapCast is worse.

  20. scoutermac says:

    They are the same company!!

  21. EarlNowak says:

    It’s Comcastic!

  22. gman863 says:

    This isn’t really a fair fight. Unlike the DirecTV/Dish battle, cable franchises are awarded by local municipalities; a customer in any given location does not have an either/or choice between TWC and Xfinity (a.k.a. Comcast).

    This being said, I’m have Comcrap high speed Internet. The only good thing I can say about it is it sucks less than my other two broadband options (Windstream DSL or Clear Wireless).

    * My Internet service crashes at least twice a month (likely more, but I’m only home about half the time). I work in IT so I’m positive the problem is always at their end.

    * They call at least once a week telling me my modem is “obsolete”. Bullshit (again, I work in IT and wasn’t born yesterday). The only possible reason I’d have to upgrade to a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is if I wanted to upgrade to Xfinity’s new 100MBs mega-speed package for the low price (not!) of $129 per month. BTW, Comcast wants to lease me a router/modem combo for $15/month extra. I already have an excellent WiFi router and could buy a Linksys DOCSIS 3.0 modem at Fry’s for $99. At this point, the 12MBs service I have at $40/month is fast enough.

    * Post Hurricane Ike, my electricity was back on within 48 hours. My Comcast was off for over three weeks. Unlike AT&T, Verizon and other landline/cellular carriers, Comcast is too cheap to install natural gas or propane generators at the critical points along their network.

    As for TWC’s plan to screw people with metered billing, I suspect Comcast will try and copy this in three…two…one…

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “* They call at least once a week telling me my modem is “obsolete”. Bullshit (again, I work in IT and wasn’t born yesterday). The only possible reason I’d have to upgrade to a DOCSIS 3.0 modem is if I wanted to upgrade to Xfinity’s new 100MBs mega-speed package for the low price (not!) of $129 per month. BTW, Comcast wants to lease me a router/modem combo for $15/month extra. I already have an excellent WiFi router and could buy a Linksys DOCSIS 3.0 modem at Fry’s for $99. At this point, the 12MBs service I have at $40/month is fast enough.”

      I would think that someone “in IT” would know the difference between a megabyte (MB) and a megabit (Mb).

      • MMD says:

        I would think that you could overlook whether or not the B is capitalized and look at the content of the rest of the message.

        • elangomatt says:

          I would hope that if anyone is gonna get the Mb thing right, it would be someone in IT. As someone in IT, I am impressed by the rare user that actually knows the difference between a / and . I think it is just too much to ask for them to know the difference between MB and Mb, but if someone from my department mixed up MB and Mb, you can bet I’d make sure to point it out to them.

          • gman863 says:

            Wow! An anal-retentive beat down!

            I haven’t had one of these since I left the douchebag I worked for two years ago and opened my own shop.

            John? Is that you?

  23. Lefturn says:

    Voted for Comcast. I could probably write a book on all the reasons I think they’re the worst.
    I wonder if they’ll guilt their employees into voting for the opponent again this year?

  24. Ed says:

    TW just doesn’t have the experience here. Nice try, but Comcast FTW!

  25. homehome says:

    I’ve had and used both for long periods of time, to me I don’t like either and they’re equally bad to me, so I’m not gonna vote because one is not worse than the other. I think they are both lower tier bad though.

  26. TrustAvidity says:

    I’d normally go TWC all the way, especially with them testing out bandwidth caps again, but they actually called me out of the blue asking if I had issues. I said not really outside of a couple glitches in recorded shows every once in a great while. They sent someone out the next day (who actually showed up early :-O!!) and fixed it in 5 minutes. They have temporary props from me.

  27. hahatanka says:

    TWC help is no help.

    I don’t use Road Runner email. I own web sites and use my email through them. Suddenly, my email wouldn’t go through, but taking my laptop to the local bar’s wifi no problem on their ATT system. A sure sign it’s a TWC problem. CSRs kept asking what email program I used. What did that have to do with anything? Nothing you morons! IT people were totally clueless. About a month later, it mysteriously started working again.

    Next problem, I pissed a neighbor off. He has a program that can send 1000’s of postings to blog sites. He used my email address in the postings. Again the CSRs couldn’t even understand the issue and thought I was having an email program. Again, “what email program are you using?” I took a letter to the TWC store and asked they send it to the local IT people. Never got a response.

  28. FrugalFreak says:

    Where is Brighthouse? why arent they combined with Time Warner?

  29. Professor59 says:

    9 out of 10 Comcast employees I have ever had contact with feel the only purpose of their job is to put each and every customer through as much hell as possible.

    There’s a good reason their branches have 2″ thick bulletproof glass in there.

  30. ThunderRoad says:

    Still doesn’t work in Firefox.

    Nominating Comsumerist for next year’s WCIA.

  31. Derek Aldridge says:

    TWC, 30x5Mbps internet connection $49.99 for the first 12 months. It’s a better deal than the other cable company here (Buckeye), but then again, maybe that’s why the price is what it is.

  32. JLyles says:

    For me they are about equal but I voted Time / Warner .

  33. droidor says:

    breezy peasy comcasteasy

  34. daemonaquila says:

    Voting for Time Warner, the company that, after telling me I could return their equipment to any of their offices, called me 2 months after I had moved 1800 miles away to tell me that I had to come to their office and re-deliver my equipment to a different office. Yeah, I laughed in their faces.

  35. bben says:

    Ex TW customer here – I actually had no problems at all with TW in either Cincinnati or Charlotte. But my one run in with a cable company was when I tried and failed to get Comcast – after a week of missed appointments, excuses and lost work I told them to forget it and got Direct TV instead.

    Now, I live in a small city that has it’s own local combined Cable TV/Internet/phone/security company – the people are very friendly and service has been great. Most service calls are handled that day or the next, the techs seem to be knowledgeable and will go out of their way for a special request. One gave me a new HDMI cable during the install and showed me how to hook up my stereo amp to the cable receiver as the sound for the TV – the big guys could take lessons from them.

  36. missminimonster says:

    I haven’t really had experience with Comcast but TWC, who had a monopoly in the small town I used to live in, was the one most horrendous company to deal with after my mother died and I was trying to get their service cancelled before I put the house up for sale (it was unoccupied so I cancelled everything but the electricity and water).

    In addition to that, one of their technicians was probably the last person to see her alive. When I came home and found her, it was obvious that the technician had been there so the sheriff’s deputy who came over called them to ask what time the tech had arrived. There wasn’t any foul play suspected and the deputy made it clear that the tech wasn’t being accused…we just wanted to establish a time frame between the tech arriving and me coming home and finding her. We didn’t even care which tech it was. Well, they informed him to call back when he had a warrant. They wouldn’t even tell us what time the tech came.

    That in and of itself ticked me off.

  37. alexwade says:

    Can’t they both advance? Both Comcast and TWC have announced they are going to monitor internet traffic for “piracy” on July 1. This side of the bracket is unfairly balanced.


  38. Trapspam Honeypot says:

    No laughs but I am visually impaired and have yet to see where to place my vote, a link at the top of the article could be very helpful.

  39. impatientgirl says:

    A Friday afternoon poll that closed on Sunday night? So none of the 8-5ers could vote in it? thx.