Worst Company In America Round 2: PayPal Vs. Charter

It’s the final day of competition in Round Two of Worst Company In America 2012, but there are still an awful lot of awful businesses still waiting to do battle. So let’s get to it and do it, shall we?

This morning’s competition features two companies that had an easy go of it in the first round. But only one of them can survive (though some of you would be glad to be rid of both).

Riding the wave of several months of bad PR — and years of horrendous customer service — PayPal not only smashed Capitol One nearly 73% of the vote. It then took pictures of the vanquished foe and e-mailed them to Capitol One’s mom just to rub it in.

Meanwhile, Charter — which one study says is both the least-trusted and next-to-least-trusted company in the country — body-slammed CenturyLink (Qwest) in the first round showdown between the regional telecoms. But can a company that really irritates a portion of the country stop a national nuisance like PayPal?

It all comes down to how you vote. So go do that.

(Voting on this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 25.)

If you like competing for free stuff, there’s a sweepstakes on the Consumerist Facebook page that lets you pick who you think will win the Golden Poo. The prize packages includes the usual T-shirts and coffee mugs, but also our own Laura Northrup will knit you a little something nice. Go HERE for details.

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. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Dear Consumerist,
    You have received a vote that we believe is not the from the authorized account holder. We are going to hold the results of this vote for 20 days, much after it will be of any use to you. Regards,
    -The Paypal Team.

  2. meske says:

    Paypal should get an automatic bye.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    The only thing that could be worse about PayPal and Charter is if Charter required you to use PayPal to pay your cable bill while charging you a “convenience” fee to do it.

    PayPal and Charter, holding hands and skipping stones; walk into the sunlight together with a faint smile of accomplishment.

  4. TaraMisu says:

    My brackets are blown to hell.

  5. Velifer says:

    Someone using Charter has never stopped me from calling them.

    People using Paypal? I shop elsewhere.

  6. George4478 says:

    Back in the “let’s get digital…digital” mid-90’s, wifey and I had Charter and we wanted to upgrade. This meant new hardware, new programming — an annual contract instead of the month-to-month Charter plan.

    I called Charter and told them I was giving them first shot at keeping my business and I was going to talk to Dish and DirectTV. “Gimme your best deal now — this is my only call.” And they gave me a rate. Dish blew the rate away; about half of the price, so I subscribed with Dish.

    When I called Charter to cancel my month-to-month, they NOW offered to match Dish, said this was actually their best rate, and stay with us, pretty-please. But Dish was installed and it was too late. I told them if they’d done what I asked on my first call…

    Still voted Paypal. I had no actual problems with Charter.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I still don’t understand how PayPal is being represented on it’s own, and not the whole eBay/PayPal organization – they’re the same company.

    Individually, either is plenty evil. But together…their evil shakes the very foundations of mankind.

  8. some.nerd says:

    I hadn’t sold anything on FeeBay in a couple years, and last month I sold a few things, only to realize… PayPal has somehow become MUCH, MUCH WORSE.
    21 DAYS to get your money?? Another 4 to transfer it to your bank account? Seriously?!
    I don’t think I’ll be able to tolerate selling on eBay again after this. Absolutely pointless and ridiculous. The fact eBay physically prevents you from posting a listing saying “I’ll accept a money order as payment” is deplorable.

    • lauy says:

      It’s 21 days but will release 3 days after the tracking shows delivered, or once when the buyer leaves feedback.

  9. Cicadymn says:

    The Sweet 16 round is pretty boring. Has there even been one close match?

  10. Flik says:

    PayPal all the way. Nothing else to say.

  11. Gorbachev says:

    I’m jeering for PayPal. PayPal FTW! All the way, baby!

  12. SmokeyBacon says:

    My problem with Paypal is that the act like a bank but are not covered by any sort of banking regulations. I have twice had issues with paypal getting hacked and taking money from my personal accounts that paypal decided to link to even though I didn’t give them permission. They make it so that if an online customer has a paypal shopping cart (which I hate but there is one company that I don’t really have an option on which really makes me sad) you can easily be tricked into agreeing to a paypal account – even though you don’t want it (I have since found they changed the wording a bit but it can still be confusing). So the fact that they are tricking people into signing up is what pisses me off. Now to be fair they did get the situations fixed very quickly, but I still hate them.

    I also hate that there are some sites I would like to use but paypal is the only option in terms of getting money (etsy comes to mind but after reading about them here that changed – but right now it is the only one I can think of). I hate that they really have such a monopoly on things, but don’t have any sort of oversight to protect the people that use it.

  13. daemonaquila says:

    PayPal, no contest. For most road transactions where we used to use PayPal, we now take donations and payments through Square. It’s just night and day. Bye bye, losers!

  14. wildbill says:

    PayPal must be doing really bad (as if destroying antique instruments wasn’t enough) to be loosing to a Cable Company.

  15. Zanorfes says:

    Paypal hands down.

  16. BackInBlack says:

    Slam-dunk for PreyPal on this one, and special recognition to their team coach and owner, FeeBay. It’s an unregulated Wild West bank that claims not to be a bank, and it seems to grow worse by the week. I’ve been inconvenienced so many times using PayPal it’s not even funny… and that’s as a BUYER. Every time they change their software/screens I have to click several more times; can’t default to credit card payment (they don’t want to pay the fees so it defaults to a bank account debit) so have to remember to change it. Getting any help from their Customer Service (a misnomer) is a joke—and I’m a “preferred member.” As a seller? One word: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  17. Rick Sphinx says:

    Nutshell, Have website (not an eBay store), uses Paypal payments. customer disputed charge, we submitted proof of delivery. Lost our money anyway, $18. Then they charged us $20 to ‘investigate’ because we submitted proof to argue the chargeback. Why would I pay $20 to investigate an $18 chargeback? We even submitted proof of this customers own BLOG, which shows the website, she saw our item on, and ordered it the the same day it appeared on this website. Not only is the customer a crook, so is Paypal. Will soon be dropping Ebay store, Paypal, and doing our own thing on our own website, with Google payment system or something. I hope Paypal and Ebay go out of business one day, they deserve it. They treat their sellers like crap, force them to use their own services. Now we can’t even use Stamps.com, because eBay has to have the tracking number entered within 24 hours to keep your top-seller status. And with Paypal, we would only be protected from the this chargeback incident if the item was purchased via Ebay, no protection sold via our own website. Ebay/Paypal…Go F**K YOURSELF!

  18. HogwartsProfessor says:

    PayPal. So far the only problem I’ve had with them is it takes forever to transfer money into my account. My bank, it’s instant. After all the stories here, I switched my linked account from checking to a secondary savings account with the minimum in it.

    I picture them going “Hey, a transfer is coming through! Grab it! Grab it! Is there any way we can stop it / take it / fee it / deny it / screw it / keep it? No? Aw shoot. Let it go then.”

    • BackInBlack says:

      Great strategy. I never had a linked bank account until I’d used up my ‘free’ unverified $5k in purchases. Then they cut you off until you either ‘verify’ (meaning link to a bank account) or shut down you account and open a new one with another e-mail. But I had the good sense to NEVER disclose my checking account to them for fear of overdraft fees and other problems that might be caused, and linked it instead to a small savings, opened pretty much exclusively for that purpose. I may shut it down soon and see what happens – I don’t think they would ever know unless you accidentally tried to debit against the dead account (then it goes to your credit card anyway, which is where I want all mine for the 1% kickback).

  19. clydesplace says:

    I don’t use Feebay and would never use Paypal. And I try to avoid any web site that uses Paypal just on principle. Which is why I’ll never go in another Home Depot. Why they thought it was necessary to hook up with paypal is beyond me. And I would think their arrangement should now make them come under some government regulations in regards to credit companies. I’m no legal eagle so I’ll leave that up to someone else. In case you missed that story: http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/28/paypal-store-checkout-home-depot/. Great Association there, Home Depot.

  20. airren says:

    I’m rooting for Paypal to go all the way this year. Can’t think of any other company more deserving of the Golden Poo.

  21. andre nickatina says:

    Not everybody is a potential Charter customer. I have shitty TW Cable and have no idea how bad Charter is. On the other hand everybody is potentially a Paypal customer. I see Paypal winning this easily

    • poco says:

      Ditto. Paypal gets my vote by default because I’ve never done business with Charter.

    • BackInBlack says:

      We’ve had TWC for years, first for only CATV, then my mom had the whole bundle of a few hundred digital channels and her phone service before she died. In my home, I have only their Internet service (RoadRunner), but ti’s awesome – best I’ve ever had anywhere in the U.S., and I’ve got their SLOWEST/least expensive service, which just screams.

      Through all of those, their customer service has been fantastic. Their CATV prices are high (which is why I only go with “off-the-air” TV right now), but their ISP is reasonable, reliable and amazingly fast all the time. Only problem I ever had was when a trainee installer took my Rx med bottle while I was out of the living room babysitting her partner in the basement. Even with that, they took the report seriously, talked to the employee involved, and followed up with me to the extent their HR people would allow (I didn’t press charges, just wanted to give them a heads-up about the employee, who was hopefully ‘scared straight’ from being caught).

  22. PhilipCohen says:

    And, just for a laugh, some analysis of “PayPal: The New Way To Pay In-Store”, PayPal Digital Wallet, PayPal Debit MasterCard, PayPal Here, PayPal Local and Watch With eBay …


    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

  23. Scribblenerd says:

    PayPal screwed up my account a couple of years ago and multiple attempts to fix it have failed. I just spent an hour on the phone, escalating up through 3 levels of supervisors, only to get a shrug and “sorry, can’t fix that. Security, you know.” I can’t use PayPal, and some vendors (Notably Andriod’s AppsLib) require PayPal.

    • BackInBlack says:

      Did you try opening a new account under a different e-mail addy? A year or two ago I was told that would work for the issue I had (required verification after hitting a $5k cap). They may have fixed that in the mean time if they check IP, mail/physical address and/or account number(s) of your bank & credit accounts. But it’s worth a try. Fortunately, they have a couple of competitors like Square coming along, so they may not be the only game in town soon.

  24. Press1forDialTone says:

    On the other hand:

    I have not had the slightest problem with PayPal or eBay for years
    and I have a PayPal VISA and I use PayPal’s security dongle and I
    use PayPal’s SmartConnect credit service (administered by GE
    Capital). Honest to God, they have never made one mistake with
    any purchase I have made from any business that accepts PayPal.

    I have both bought and sold on eBay for years and I have a perfect
    rating and rave feedback. It is NOT my sole source of income, but
    I use it to feed my hobby habit for childhood happiness building
    Heathkit (Google it) electronics.

    So, all-knowing consumerists, what’s up with my success with
    PayPal and eBay??

    • BackInBlack says:

      Wow! Didn’t know they still made Heathkits—or is that why you have to find them on eBay now?

      No problem with PayPal? Just lucky I guess? Maybe it’s just that both are so huge that there are gonna be some horror stories and that’s what everyone hears. I’ve never had many problems with eBay in 12 years, also have thousands of positive feedbacks at 100%, etc. But I have had a few issues with PayPal, and I’m scared for small sellers with the way eBay is heading. They seem to be doing a ‘Wal-Mart’ and favoring big sellers, driving off the small guys. Time will tell. They also have their hands in a number of other businesses you’d never suspect (read the Wiki article) including 25% of Craigslist, and retaining part of Skype even after selling majority to MicroSoft.

      But back to PayPal… I’ve had so many issues myself with PayPal, and heard so many horror stories from so many people that it’s a case of “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire.” It’s troublesome that they act like a bank, but without banking regulations.

      Still not as bad as Bank of America. Literally everyone I’ve talked to so far in my circles who has had dealings with them has a story!