Worst Company In America Sweet 16: Best Buy Vs. EA

The opening bout of this year’s Sweet 16 should result in some sparks, as the video game company everyone seems to hate (but whose games people keep buying) squares off against the electronics retailer most of us would rather not shop at (but still do when we don’t have time to wait for an Amazon order).

Each of these contenders won their respective first-round fracases in decisive fashion, though Best Buy’s nearly 72% margin of victory over Target was the largest yet in this year’s tournament.

However, the fight between EA and Sony did manage to bring out a slightly larger group of voters than the Best Buy/Target battle. So perhaps those few extra EA-haters will be enough to push the rookie into the Elite 8.

Only time will tell. While you vote, we’ll be in the back of the store playing Madden NFL on a 72″ LED display model.

(Voting on this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 22.)

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. tbax929 says:

    I’m not a gamer at all. Can one of you who is explain what EA did wrong? I must have missed it the first time around.

    • dolemite says:

      EA..hmm well, where to start? They pulled their games from Steam (a download service) in order to force you to use Origin (EA’s upstart competing service). You have to sign a contract to use this service that waives your right to sue, trial, etc. (only about to use their binding arbitration). In addition, their program scans your computer and reports information on programs back to EA. In addition, there are numerous cases where people have been banned for posting something in the EA forums, and had their Origin account blocked as well, meaning they can’t play games they have paid for, but that’s fine, because it says so in the ‘contract’ you sign with them for the honor of giving them money and playing games you legally own.

      • Robofish says:

        They are also Downloadable content happy and release Madden as nothing more then a roster update each year ( though the hardcore players will say otherwise )

        • BurtReynolds says:

          This. When I read that Tiger Woods ’11 (I think it was) didn’t even include all the courses that you played as part of the “season”, EA officially went too far. What is next? Releasing Madden but making the NY Giants DLC?

          Don’t forget the ads too. I remember buying Madden ’10 (last Madden I bothered with) and about two weeks in got a software update. After updating, I had McDonalds ads on the screen nearly all the time. They did the same with Tiger Woods that year. I’d be on the tee and some McD’s logo would be hanging out on the screen. I don’t mind ads that make sense, like billboards in a stadium you are playing it, but I’m not paying $60 to be bombarded with ads the whole time I play.

          Maybe some day 2K will be able to get back into football. NBA 2k11 showed us how compacent EA had become, when 2K blew them out of the water.

    • dolemite says:

      Oh, and they’ve acquired ownership of several game studios (basically buying out lots of talented companies) in order to become the “Walmart” of gaming. Problem is, the games they produce are mediocre, and studios that used to produce good original games simply produce “paint by number” games.

      • tbax929 says:

        Thanks for the info. None of that makes sense to me, but I appreciate the effort!

        • dangermike says:

          EA has been a pioneer in nickel and diming their customers, in taking drastic measures to try to devalue the resale or rental of games, and when they buy out developers, they inevitably and severely drop the quality of the finished product.

          Think of it like Hasbro buying out New Line Cinema after Fellowship of the Rings, replacing Peter Jackson with the likes of Michael Bay, M. Night Shyamalan, Uwe Boll, and the guy from the [Genre] Movie movies. When the movie finally comes out, there is an additional 15 minutes of footage exclusive to the Imax version. Of you can pay an extra $3-5 to see it at other theaters. Then each month for 4-6 months after the movie comes out, more footage is released on the internet that may or may not be relevant to the story but will lead to massive confusion if you decide you want to eventually see the sequel. Also, if you rent the movie later (or buy secondhand), you’ll have to pay extra to view the entirety of the disc’s contents.

      • Daniel Svoboda says:

        Agreed. As an example, when EA took over Westwood Studios, the Command and Conquer/Red Alert series went right down the crapper. (Please note: That is my very humble and personal opinion on an admittedly personal favorite game series.) Annoying game mechanics, highly politicized storylines, I could go on. EA is a parasite on good gaming.

        I’ve been pretty fortunate when it comes to Best Buy, but I am, thanks to this website, very careful in my minimal dealings with them.

    • wutname1 says:

      basically they buy up well established games then ruin them. They also are making gamers buy tons of additional content for the game they just paid for it is estimated that the newest game Mass Effect 3 will cost over $700 to get the full game.

      • tbax929 says:

        Oh, wait a minute. Are they the ones that make The Sims? I used to play that years ago and stopped because of all the additional software that would come out after a release. It got to be too much money for a video game.

    • cyberpenguin says:

      Much like Standard Oil, they have used acquisitions, hostile takeovers (Ubisoft and Take Two) and market power to completely eliminate competition and force exclusive rights contracts (NFL, ESPN, et. al).

      They have routinely used their dominant market position to crush innovative competitors.

      With a dominant market position they have also abused their position over their employees (2009 class action lawsuit).

      Tack on the SecuROM debacle which secretly limited how many times you could install a particular piece of software (Spore) and other non-disclosures to the consumer and you have the makings of a very legitimate WCiA competitor.

      Many gamers are upset that beloved franchise games were acquired and then distorted in a way the fans didn’t like.

      Personally, their abusive anti-competitive role in the market is what got them my vote.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      When I was in the game industry some years ago, the annual Game Developers Conference (now known as simply “GDC”) used to have a sit-down dinner where they’d give out raffle prizes donated by various game companies – for example, a friend of mine won a ride in a jet fighter in Las Vegas (then the bubble burst and they did away with both the dinner and prizes…but I digress).

      Anyway, EA used to regularly called the “Evil Empire” by attendees for their bad habit of gobbling up smaller dev studios then shutting them down. Whenever someone won a raffle prize from EA and went up to claim it, everyone would usually start humming Darth Vader’s theme. Then Microsoft showed up to the party and promptly usurped EA’s position as the Evil Empire. EA is still evil, but not quite as evil as Micro$oft.

      The good ol’ days of GDC…it used to be a blast. ;)

  2. dolemite says:

    Best Buy is more well-known (as not everyone plays video games), but EA is by far the worse company.

  3. longfeltwant says:

    EA never deserved to get out of the first round.

    I have Best Buy beating Comcast in round three, then losing to AT&T.

    • Azagthoth says:

      Try dealing with EA’s customer service, or even jumping through the hoops of Origin(Consumerist has loads of posts on both). They have gamers by the balls and they are bleeding them for all their worth. DLC has been taken to extreme lengths by EA. Some of that DLC is even already on the disc when shipped(See “From Ashes” in Mass Effect 3).

      EA certainly *did* deserve to get out of the first round. They could pull off an upset here too, but they’ll never take out Comcast.

  4. psm321 says:

    EA. Best Buy is easily avoided. EA not so much if you want certain types of games. (See dolemite’s explanation of why they’re bad)

    • Tyanna says:

      Correction. If you want to PAY for certain types of games, yes EA is very hard to avoid. But frankly, I don’t want to give them my money…..

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        It seems you are implying piracy, but even piracy would not stop EAs influece. Sure you would not be giving them money, but that doesn’t change the fact that their games still tend to crappy endings so they can have sequels, more bugs due to early release and day 0 DLC.

        Really you don’t have that many options for video games, for the most part your options are Activision (who push out the exact same game every single year along with overpriced DLC), EA(Who are pioneers of requiring the internet for singleplayer games, day 0 DLC, placing disincentives on resale and pushing early releases for buggy games), Valve (who make great games…but only once every ~year and a half) or indie titles. There really arnt many options to play video games without supporting crappy publishers.

        Avoiding best buy is really easy. Generally there are even plenty of options in a city to avoid them, weather it is frys electronics or your local computer store not to mention the hundreds of websites like newegg or amazon where you can get the same thing.

  5. Free Legal Advice! says:

    Go EA! I’ve been so disppointed in the Sims since all they seem to do is release branded expansion packs.

  6. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I hope this is the year Best Buy finally takes home the golden poo. They’ve earned it.

    • Latentius says:

      I really think you should try working at Best Buy, preferably in the customer service department. I doubt you’d even make it a week, given the number of unwarranted hatred that gets directed at those poor people by all the violent, hateful, ignorant masses.

      • Bionic Data Drop says:

        I would never work for a company as dispicable as Best Buy unless I was faced with starvation. The hatred towards Best Buy is anything but unwarranted. The fact that they are in this tournament every year is not a coincidence. Just search for Best Buy on this site, read a few articles, and tell me you find that kind of behavior is perfectly acceptable.

        “We didn’t sell you a bad disc, Lionsgate did. You just bought it here. Contact them.” – Best Buy Manager to customer who bought a defective disc. One of dozens of examples I could list. You probably think that is outstanding customer service. It’s not.

        Like I said, morally bankrupt. I understand you work there and your instinctive need to protect your employer, but Best Buy will not get sympathy from me or anyone else on this site.

        • Latentius says:

          I still have to completely disagree. People get upset mostly because those same people have unrealistic expectations. I fully admit and agree that Best Buy does occasionally screw up, but they almost always correct those mistakes. The problem most often seems to be the time frame. Best Buy, being like any other big company, has to deal with a lot of bureacracy, so things don’t happen immediately. However, customers tend to be incredibly impatient and get upset if they aren’t satisfied *immediately*.

          That’s my take on the situation, but what would I know about it? I only work at the place. I’m sure your experience with them is much more extensive.

          Your disc story does sound bad. But I would argue that such a story–if it’s anything more than just a hypothetical example–is not widespread. Company policy is to replace defective discs with an identical new copy. Unless, of course, the original was bought months ago and has a mysterious scratch on it, in which case it’s most likely that the customer scratched it themselves and simply wants Best Buy to pay for the customer’s mistake. That is by no means the only way it could happen, but I’ve seen similar situations far too often to not consider the possibility.

          People like cheating big companies in those cases. After all, they make millions of dollars, right? Who cares if you rip them off for a stupid little DVD? Talk about being morally bankrupt…

          • Bionic Data Drop says:

            There is no reasoning with you. All of the complaints on this site and hundreds if not thousands of others are wrong. My own personal experiences at Best Buy are figments of my imagination. My best friend who used to work there doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The fact they are in this tournament every year is just a fluke. Best Buy is leading the way to a brighter tomorrow with their strong moral fiber and commitment to excellent customer service.

            Seek help you poor delusional soul.

            • Latentius says:

              And you ARE being reasonable?

              Look, I’ve said it over and over, but you seem to be completely blind to this: Best Buy is NOT perfect. They DO screw up occasionally. I have never said, and will never say, that ALL customer complaints are invalid. You suggesting otherwise is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

              That having been said, the majority of complaints against them ARE unwarranted. They are made by people who are willfully ignorant to the agreements they are making, who later becomes disillusioned when someone has to drag them away from their unrealistic expectations and back into reality.

              Working in Geek Squad, I literally have to keep the pen out of customers’ hands long enough to explain to them exactly what it is they’re signing. Most are all too happy to just sign anything that gets passed in front of them, or hit “accept” to any screen prompt. If people like this actively refuse to listen and read to the terms they’re agreeing to, how is it anyone’s fault but their own?

              Oh, and cut it with the personal attacks. That’s just low.

  7. JLyles says:

    It’s definitely Best Buy. Much worse.

    EA does give us some redeeming satisfaction but Best Buy is overpriced and not comfortable.

    • Latentius says:

      Overpriced? Hardly. They cost more than Amazon, yes, but only because they’ve got a ton more overhead to pay for.

      I don’t see how having more bills to pay makes one company worse. If you don’t like the prices, nobody’s making you shop there. Some people aren’t as knowledgeable about electronics and aren’t well-equipped to comparison-shop on their own on various websites. They’re fine paying a few percent more; why the need to hate?

      • Bionic Data Drop says:

        “If you don’t like the prices, nobody’s making you shop there.”

        Like someone else said on this site, by your logic, no company deserves to be on this list because you don’t have to do business with them.

        • Latentius says:

          If your only complaint against them is their prices, then no, they don’t belong on this list.

          Companies should be put on the list for actually harming and defrauding customers. Now, if the company has a complete monopoly in a local area, or they cause damage through their own negligence (dying pets, tossing packages over gates onto concrete, etc.), then by all means, vote away.

          But if your ONLY complaint against a company is that their prices are a little higher, and when there’s plenty of competition to choose from, then no, that is NOT a legitimate reason to vote for them.

  8. Costner says:

    Best Buy has been known to sell a six foot HDMI cable for $59.99.

    Best Buy will often refuse to sell a laptop at the advertised price and claim the “only stock they have remaining” includes optimization services that nobody really wants.

    Best Buy has sold people weights and trash in place of the iPads and televisions they paid for due to them resealing boxes and putting them back on the shelf. She confronted with this, they have often accused the innocent customer of trying to defraud them.

    Best Buy has often refused to fulfill the requirements of their own extended warranties by claiming merely because their employees cannot verify a defect in the product, that it must not exist.

    I personally have witnessed Best Buy tell a customer that they had to pay to uninstall a dishwasher and bring it back to the store in order to prove that Best Buy charged him for one model, and actually gave him a less expensive model. The customer would then have to pay the plumber once more to install the proper dishwasher. Apparently the receipt and their inventory system showing the error was insufficient. (I did not hang around long enough to hear how that saga ended)

    Best Buy is more concerned about upselling services and magazine subscriptions and extended warranties and accessories than they are in selling people what they actually want or educating consumers about what technology products would actually work best for them.

    Best Buy has been known to throw people out of their stores and ban them from their stores for comparison shopping and writing down prices.

    Best Buy has refused to pricematch their own website, although after enough complaints they finally agreed to modify the policy.

    Best Buy employs people who will chase you around the store asking you if you have seen the latest DirecTV offer they have, and even after explaining you aren’t interested they will make some little passive-aggresive comment such as “wow I wish was so rich that I didn’t even care about saving money”.

    Best Buy will try to convince people that $200 for a flat panel television mount is reasonable when the same thing can be purchase from Monoprice for $20.

    Best Buy has been known to setup displays showing the differences between Monster Cable and “cheap” cable that are incredibly misleading. They have also been known to put two televisions side by side comparing cables and/or calibration services while failing to tell the viewer that one television is being fed by HDMI cable while the other is being fed by a traditional RG6 analog cable.

    EA on the other hand produces the same videogames year after year with slight improvements (see Madden, or any of the Call of Duty games for such examples). Considering people continue to buy them…. I’d say their business model seems to work (even if it boggles the mind).

    This isn’t even close. Best Buy has earned a place in the final four.

    • thor79 says:

      You can avoid Best Buy by shopping elsewhere…and get the same products from more consumer friendly companies. You can vote by taking your money elsewhere and get the same product. They do not have the power that EA has and they must compete with others in their business.

      You cannot avoid EA if you want to play one of their games. You have no choice but to deal with them. They use this position of power to control the market in an anti-consumer way. Their actions against piracy treat their customers like criminals while the criminals freely play their games sometimes before the games are even on store shelves. You can only vote by not handing over your money, but that means you also don’t get the product you want legally because there is no other way to get their product legally.

      Companies like EA have a monopoly over their product….Best Buy does not and will never have a monopoly. This fight isn’t even fair for Best Buy.

    • Latentius says:

      I’m sorry, but your post is blatantly wrong.

      Yes, Best Buy sells expensive HDMI cables. So do Amazon and Newegg. [ http://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Speed-Supporting-4Kx2K/dp/B004D5EYEQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1332382170&sr=1-1 ]Is simply carrying an unreasonably priced option reason to hate a company?

      Best Buy will NOT often refuse to sell a laptop at advertised prices. OCCASIONALLY the only stock left is one that has been pre-setup (and the rules for that have changed recently so that only a single computer of any given model is pre-setup), but if you insist that you want the laptop and not the setup, company policy is to let you have it.

      So, Best Buy sold people weights? How about you try blaming the people who actually committed the offense? If a customer tries to return an item that does not appear to be opened (still in shrink wrap), they customer service agents aren’t going to unwrap the thing to make sure it’s really in there. And if they did, I would be money that people like you would be screaming bloody hell about how the store acts as if all customers are thieves.

      This, again, is absurd. The warranties are not their for your abuse. I can’t even count the number of people who wait until the last week of their warranty, then try to get the product sent to service even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And you know what? That’s just a waste of EVERYONE’S time and money. Do you know what happens when a product gets to the service center and they don’t find any faults with it? The store gets charged. And when the stores get charged for bad claims, that means prices go up. To me, it seems like you already have an issue with Best Buy’s prices, so why would you want them to go higher?

      I imagine you personally mis-remembered or simply don’t have all the facts. If Best Buy installers make a mistake–or even if the product itself needs to be replaced–either of these within 30 days of installation, they’ll redo the service for free. That’s company policy.

      Is Best Buy interested in upselling? Of course. No one in their right mind would say otherwise. But to say that they’re more interested in that than actually serving customers is just plain wrong. I wouldn’t expect you to understand that, but most of the employees I’ve worked with actually get satisfaction out of helping someone find what they need.

      Got a citation on that load of BS about comparison shopping? I’ve never seen or heard anything of the sort. The only customers thrown out of the store are ones who are acting aggressive (or otherwise inappropriate for being in public).

      Refusal to pricematch online was an isolate incident at worst, and company policy has been clearly explained long ago to correct these few instances.

      If you’ve ever been chased by a DirecTV rep, he’s not actually an employee of Best Buy–he’s an employee of DirecTV (surprise!). Have an issue, take it up with DirecTV. Heck, even as an employee wearing an employee uniform, I’ve been approached once. But I kindly let the guy know that I was an employee–not a customer–and I was happy with U-verse, and he left me alone.

      Again, with the higher prices. Yes, $200 is more than I’d personally want to spend. No, it doesn’t make them evil for simply offering the product.

      The practice of bad comparisons has happened. It is deceptive. It’s also a matter completely in the past. How long will you blame a company for something they no longer do? Judging by the rest of your post, it would seem there’s no limit on the length of time to hold a grudge.

      And yes, before all the name-calling begins, if it’s not blatantly obvious by now, I am an employee of Best Buy. I am NOT paid to post here. I post here simply because I think people are being intolerably unfair, holding Best Buy to a standard that they don’t apply to any other retailer. I think it’s only fair that someone bring up the other side of the argument.

      • Ed says:

        Hi Latentius, which Best Buy do you work at?

        • Latentius says:

          I’d rather not give out specific store numbers. The people on this site seem to have an exceptionally strong, irrational hatred of Best Buy, and I’d rather not position myself to have them come into my store and harass me.

          And yes, I do expect that would happen. I suspect most people, even those who hate Best Buy, wouldn’t bother, but there seem to be at least a few on here who would do it given the opportunity. They hold it against someone simply for sticking up for a company against unfair complaints.

  9. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Listen to the EA CEO talking about micro payments really sealed it for me. Best Buy may really screw up, but they are competing with Fry’s, Walmart, Target, Amazon, New Egg, etc. The market has plenty of chances to punish them and if the screw ups we read about were an all the time occurrence they would be out of business.

    Content industries always seem to be putting the squeeze on the customer. Piracy probably has a lot to do with it, but it is always the paying customers that get the shaft.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Please don’t fall for that trap. Piracy is due, in large part, because the market demands something not available through normal retail channels. The old school establishment insists on keeping its antiquated model alive using the government to enforce its old ways. And “piracy” is scary way of saying copying. No one is missing anything. No actual goods have been taken or destroyed. No one is harmed. Not even “artists”. The “harmed” parties are the old school publishers who can’t make the same salaries and bonuses they used to make under the old times. Artists have always been screwed by the publishers and still are today. A few have left the old system and now supply their talents directly to the consumers and I don’t hear them crying.

      • SavijMuhdrox says:

        As much as I want to agree with you.. I can’t.

        “No one is harmed.”??

        If you are playing a pirated game and you didn’t cough up money for it.. there’s a whole slew of people who didn’t get hard-earned royalties out of your sale. Sure there are fat cats in the way who suck up most of that money for doing nothing.. but there are people who design and create and code for a living who need that money and especially the feedback that comes with a specific volume of sales. Otherwise, we don’t know if a game was really worth the effort that was put into it

        • OutPastPluto says:

          Who gets royalties? Clearly you don’t understand how the industry works. Everyone “works for hire”. It doesn’t matter if a title sells 5M or 50K, you will still get the same salary and lots of overtime.

          With EA, there isn’t even a talented studio founder taking the big cut.

          EA is a soulless machine that crushes game studios and squeezes the talent for all they’re worth.

          • thor79 says:

            Yeah they treat their customers like golden poo and their employees like golden poo…they deserve the golden poo!

          • SavijMuhdrox says:

            then go ahead and replace “royalties” with “recognition and justification for higher salary” if thats your sticking point. Claiming piracy harms no one is still entitled rubbish. and EA doesn’t help reward those designers by simply trying milk customers and running competent studios into the ground.. golden poo time.

      • finbar says:

        I agree. I don’t pirate much because it’s not worth the risk of viruses and I’m not savy enough to feel confident that RIAA couldn’t find me, but in some cases there’s no other option (looking at you HBO).

        I’ll play honestly if the price is fair and process to purchase isn’t difficult or shady.

    • SavijMuhdrox says:

      +1 to this. The guy came across as such a smug bastard. EA is monopolozing some aspects of the gaming industry (NFL games, add-on DLC fees..) and worthy of a golden poo.

      Best Buy may suck a lot, but you can always buy their products elsewhere or simply not shop at their stores.

  10. clydesplace says:

    If you look on the internet and find any interview with CEO John Riccitiello, you never ever hear him talk about customers, game players, or even improving customer service. What you will hear about is his latest gimmick to squeeze more money out of game players. The video that was on hear was not the exception, it’s the rule.

  11. cyberpenguin says:

    Much like Standard Oil, EA have used acquisitions, hostile takeovers (Ubisoft and Take Two) and market power to completely eliminate competition and force exclusive rights contracts (NFL, ESPN, et. al).

    They have routinely used their dominant market position to crush innovative competitors.

    With a dominant market position they have also abused their position over their employees (2009 class action lawsuit).

    Tack on the SecuROM debacle which secretly limited how many times you could install a particular piece of software (Spore) and other non-disclosures to the consumer and you have the makings of a very legitimate WCiA competitor.

    Many gamers are upset that beloved franchise games were acquired and then distorted in a way the fans didn’t like.

    Personally, their abusive anti-competitive role in the market is what got them my vote.

    • Costner says:

      Standard Oil was controlling the product people relied upon to heat their homes and power the vehicles used to transport people to and from work as well as the school busses picking up millions of children.

      EA makes video games. Which are used for entertainment purposes. Mostly by teenagers and young to middle aged men to pass the time while girls/women of the same age are busy texting each other or updating their facebook statuses.

      Hardly a fair comparison.

      • cyberpenguin says:

        So, anti-competitive behavior and abuse of employees is acceptable if the end product is for entertainment purposes?

        You’re not an Apple or Foxconn employee are you?

        • Costner says:

          Not saying they are “acceptable”, but comparing them is a lot like saying Hitler and the guy at my local furniture store who made a comment about “jewing them down” are the same because they both appear to be anti-semetic.

          I see your point – I just think you could have found a better company to use as your comparison. EA might be horrible, but we need some perspective here…. they make unessential products designed for entertainment and which have no other legitimate purpose.

          Also… I’m not an Apple or Foxconn employee – thanks for asking.

  12. nbs2 says:

    I don’t remember BB ever supporting SOPA.

  13. Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

    Have to go with EA on this one. I mean, users’ game and forums accounts are apparently tied together. If you get banned somehow from their forums, they will basically turn your whole account off, which means you can’t play the games you bought from them and are unable to get a refund. And there’s no one to complain to in person. At least at Best Buy, you have real people you can complain to in person to get something rectified.

  14. SmokeyBacon says:

    Ok, even though EA seems to deserve to be here, I still have to say Best Buy is worse, mainly because they have an effect on more people with their crappyness. Not to say EA doesn’t deserve to be recognized as sucking, just think that the company with the broader damage ability should make it further up the bracket. It is a very tough call on this one.

    • Mambru says:

      I agree comletely with you. I have been screw up and fed up with EA (I’m looking at you FIFA) but BB has a borader impact on the American consumer

      • thor79 says:

        Perhaps the average consumer MIGHT (key word here) be impacted by BB’s practices…but they can ALWAYS choose to go elsewhere and buy the same products Best Buy sells from more consumer friendly companies. For gamers, if you are interested in a game…and it happens to be developed by a game company EA does the publishing for…you have no ability to go elsewhere…you have to deal with EA and it’s policies due to the nature of their business.

        For instance. Mass Effect 3. I’ve been playing the series since the start…both times it’s be available on Steam…not this time though…the others are still available on Steam, but they intentionally left Mass Effect 3 off of Steam to force people into using their own Origin service. I can’t just activate the game on their website…no I have to install another client to manage the updates for the game…right alongside the Steam client which manages updates for the first two games in the series just fine. That causes extra load I don’t want on my system, and frankly I don’t trust EA not to snoop about my PC when the software is running. If I want to play the game I must install the Origin software…there is no other legal option.

        And (for the gamers reading this) No…I haven’t experienced the ending to the game yet…though I have heard plenty of people complain about it…it does not color my comments here. I’m still playing through Mass Effect 2 and I haven’t yet installed Mass Effect 3 so I have the Origin software running on my system for as little time as possible.

  15. jono_0101 says:


  16. proscriptus says:

    Best Buy seems inept; EA seems evil. EA FTW!

  17. ktbeta says:

    Best Buy is a badly managed company, whereas EA are intentionally conniving, so EA gets my vote!

  18. NattyB says:

    Best Buy for sure.

    I got a nice DSLR camera and they forcefully suggested I pay for it with a Best Buy card at 18 months no interest.

    I’m thinking, time cost of money, well dang, that’s free money. So, I bite.

    I check my statement a couple months later, and I realize they’re charging me fees on some BS payment protection plan (to be clear, not the warranty, rather, it’s 12$/month I’m paying, in case I lose my job or something, such that I can’t pay off the debt). I’m thinking, this is BS, I do not want this.

    I call HSBC, they say, we’ll have to investigate if you checked the box saying you wanted it (I vaguely recall checking some box like that, at the Best Buy CSR’s insistence, that it’s necessary to close the transaction but I wouldn’t be charged anything), and that it’ll take about 45 days to determine.

    45 days! F that. I only financed it so I can it interest free for 18 months! I don’t want to pay some BS fees, and not only that, they gave me s–t about trying to cancel.

    I tell them, I want those fee’s off, ASAP, and I’ll pay close my account. They remove the fees, but only after I said I’ll pay off my balance (of which, the only transaction was the camera). So I then close the account. And I feel super ripped off. I was supposed to get 18 months interest free. But since HSBC were being such a–holes, I ended up paying it off in full in 2.5 months. What a rip off.

    EA may be expensive. But I love their games. So, I don’t even know why they’re in the Sweet 16.

    * and spare me this is an HSBC thing and not a Best Buy thing. They work together on this stuff.

    • Latentius says:

      Is it possible that you opted into a payment protection plan? It seems to me that a lot of people just hit “Ok” to any screen that pops up in front of them without stopping to actually see what they’re agreeing to–it’s just reflex to get past it and to the next screen.

      And yes, it must be said–HSBC and Best Buy are separate entities. They may be in a business contract, but once matters get passed from Best Buy to HSBC, there’s nothing more Best Buy can do.

  19. BigDragon says:

    I can avoid Best Buy. I have a difficult time avoiding EA with the way they buy up developers I like and run them into the ground, or when they refuse to sub-license their exclusive contracts to developers I like (see Forza 4 and Porsche missing because of EA). EA is actively evil and destructive. Best Buy is abusive but passive.

    EA gets my vote. Best Buy may badger me about warranties and credit cards, but they didn’t lock me out of using the products I purchased like EA did for a week in January.

  20. Azagthoth says:

    Lots of EA hate going on in here… I love it.

  21. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    EA hands down.

    EA owns Bioware and they made a horrible starwars MMO

    • thor79 says:

      I can think of lots of reason why EA deserves this…but this is definitely not a valid reason for getting the “Worst Company In America” title. This is about the policies of the company and how they treat the American consumer. Not about the products they sell. While I thank you for voting for EA as I think they deserve it…you’re a bit trollish for posting this particular reason here.

  22. Shadowfire says:

    Best Buy can be avoided if you really hate them.

    EA is doing actual harm to the industry. This is a no-brainer.

  23. ScytheNoire says:

    EA is by far the worser of the two. Even if you don’t know gaming, vote EA, because they really deserve it.

  24. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Seems to be a tight race here, but the more deserved company IMHO is in the lead. Seeing as I’m not that heavy into video games (at least not anymore) EA hasn’t really pissed me off. The last EA game I bought was Spore, and yes, its restrictive DRM was a pain in the ass — what if you bought the game for your PC and didn’t have internet? Too fuckin’ bad, says EA, as we need to validate your install before you can play. Of course, then there’s Worst Buy. A company I never really had a problem with until I went TV shopping about seven weeks ago. I’m still owned a Wifi dongle from them, which is continually “out of stock” and “we don’t know when we’re going to get it.” Although I do love the TV I bought, it’s rather tiresome trying to get something they promised me. I eventually gave up and bought a long piece of CAT6 cable to connect the TV to my router — probably works better that way anyway — but the point simply is this: this experience will definitely make me think twice before buying anything from Worst Buy again.

    • Latentius says:

      Why did you buy something if you knew it was out of stock and knew that there was no clue on when it’d be back in stock? Why not just go for another model that you know is in stock? I could understand if they knew it’d be back in stock in a week, and you just wanted to wait (though personally, I’d still hold off on paying and just come back to check). Sorry, but I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for your situation.

  25. Naked-Gord-Program says:

    Best Buy…I’m just hoping for more BB hate articles on The Consumerist.

  26. natebum says:

    best buy u can avoid with online alternatives but only EA can ruin good game series. u can’t get that anywhere else

  27. BackInBlack says:

    Since I don’t game at all but do buy a lot of electronics, I gotta go with [Not the] Best Buy just based on personal experience and talking with friends. But sure sounds like EA is evil.

  28. Neilmurp says:

    EA. Hands down. They have crushed competitive innovation through hostile takeovers and have soiled classic titles (sims, command and conquer, etc.) with their poor, mis-managed development strategy. I’m from Orlando and I’m a big time gamer, with big time gamer friends that have made the mistake of working at the EA HQ in Orlando. Their sweat shop, deadline-drawn environment forces employees to churn out 70 hour work weeks on games that are still riddled with bugs.

    Once you buy their game, they give zero f**ks about you. Their entire command and conquer series? They got ONE (1) support guy running with four different game titles. Their patches solve nothing with regards to balance and bug fixes. It doesn’t help either that that one magical person posts on twitter that he is watching episodes of 24 at work instead of you know…working. Why do you think they release a new Madden title every year? If there are any bugs or issues with one, they simply release an entirely new $60 game you have to buy the next year while they completely drop support for the previous one. Now that the DLC bug has bitten so many developers, you can expect more titles that require $700 to play the complete game.

    EA has destroyed the gaming industry with their lack of vision and support for both their employees and their customers.

  29. greed0120 says:

    I have the option of staying away from Best Buy. However, if I buy an EA game, I am subject to their shoddy programming and poor mathematics. I can’t tell you how many sports games I’ve purchased where the math was off and rewards weren’t granted because the target number was different from what was posted to the screen. Circle gets the square for EA.

  30. Ed says:

    Sorry to see Best Buy getting a pass here. EA is trying to squeeze money out of customers for sure, but Best Buy really tries to screw people over about 15 different ways. How many times do we see a story her from Best Buy and their latest adventures in idiocy?

  31. merc78 says:

    WTH is an EA?