No Competition Here: Comcast Dominates Most-Read Consumerist Stories Of 2014

Image courtesy of (honeylamb)

Between a still up-in-the-air mega-merger, the company’s repeated nonsensical insistence that it supports net neutrality while also squeezing Netflix to pay more for decent access to customers, and numerous high-profile customer service gaffes, it’s no surprise that Comcast’s name turns up a lot among our most-read stories of the past 12 months.

Here they are, the stories that millions of you read in 2014…

1. Unhappy Customer: Comcast Told My Employer About Complaint, Got Me Fired

Yes, the most-read Consumerist story of 2014 was our original post about former Comcast customer Conal O’Rourke, who says he was fired from his job at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (which does a lot of business with Comcast) after taking his year-long spat with Kabletown — during which the company repeatedly over-billed him, ignored his complaints, then sent him (and charged him for) $1,820 in equipment he didn’t need or request — to the office of the Comcast controller, who admits to having then contacted PwC, in possible violation of federal law prohibiting cable operators from sharing customer information without consent.

2. Comcast Tells Customer The Only Reason He’s Getting Bogus Charges Refunded Is Because He Recorded Call

Oh look, it’s Comcast again. This time, it’s for our report from August about YouTuber Jim Davis, who recorded his calls to the cable company involving his dispute over allegedly bogus charges on his bill for self-install kits that weren’t sent and for a failed self-install that didn’t happen. Not only does he have to rely on a tape of a previous call to show that he’d been promised there would be no charges, but a rep admits that he wouldn’t have gotten a refund otherwise.

3. New Starbucks Free Drink Record Set With $54 Sexagintuple Vanilla Bean Mocha Frappuccino

Back in May, we brought you the story of Andrew, who tried to break the back of Starbucks’ generosity by cashing in on a massive free drink containing 128 ounces of espresso with some other stuff — a drink that took five (5) days to get through.

Then there was Sameera’s bladder-busting Starbucks freebie that she thought was a record-breaker, only to find out the

subsequent attempts to shatter this mark.

It also resulted in unimpressed Starbucks employees and a reported change in company policy that strictly limits the flexibility of the much-abused program.

4. Honey Maid Is Okay With People Hating Its Ad Showing “Wholesome” Gay Parents

When Nabisco’s Honey Maid graham crackers began airing ads about “wholesome” families that included non-traditional families, including same-sex parents, there was a predictable backlash. But rather than respond by changing its campaign or even simply ignoring the messages from critics, the company created a video sensation — seen more than 4 million times — with a clip featuring a pair of artists printing out the most vitriolic statements and using those pages to form the word “Love.”

5. Kansas Legislature Wants To Stop Any Other Kansas Cities From Getting Google Fiber

Even though Kansas City was the first metro area to get access to high-speed Google Fiber broadband, members of the Kansas state lawmakers caved to industry pressure and considered legislation that would prevent GooFi or any other form of municipal-backed broadband from being deployed elsewhere in the state.

After people got wind of the cable-industry-supported legislation, there were promises that the bill would be tweaked to make it less restrictive, but by the end of February the bill was dead and gone. Alas, several other states already have, or are considering, bills that prohibit cities and counties from investing in affordable broadband that would actually compete with the cable and phone companies.

6. Congratulations To Comcast, Your 2014 Worst Company In America!

Thought we were done with Comcast? Not yet. In April, Consumerist readers once again chose Comcast as the Worst Company In America, a title it had previously won in 2010.

Interestingly, Comcast’s first WCIA win came at a time it was acquiring NBC Universal, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the TWC merger, which would have a more direct and immediate impact on consumers, helped push the company to its second Golden Poo.

If the pending merger is approved, we’re not predicting that the widespread dissatisfaction with Comcast will dissipate, especially with some 10 million new customers to nickel-and-dime, not to mention the 3-4 million consumers who are being spun off into a completely new company called GreatLand without having many other viable choices for pay-TV and broadband.

7. Bought A Red Bull In The Last 12 Years? Here’s How To Claim Your Piece Of The $13M Settlement

For some reason, a flood of readers were drawn to this wee story about how to make a claim in the $13 million Red Bull false advertising settlement— so much so that it temporarily overwhelmed the claims site.

8. How To Reheat 7 Foods You’ve Been Reheating Incorrectly (Until Now)

This handy guide to properly reheating everything from eggs to pancakes to steak and chicken was another unexpected hit among Consumerist readers in 2014. Who knew that everyone was warming up their leftovers the wrong way for so long?

9. Let’s Break Down Forbes’ Laughable “5 Reasons To Admire Comcast”

In July, Forbes contributor Gene Marks penned a love letter to the Worst Company In America that was so poorly put-together that he couldn’t even come up with a fifth reason. The piece also claimed that Comcast treats its customers so well (which is why they keep complaining — and leaking documents — to the media), and that its technology is “reliable,” which is like telling someone that their newborn baby is “nice-looking” because you don’t have the heart to speak the truth.

10. Bitcoin: What The Heck Is It, And How Does It Work?

While Newsweek was stupidly and pointlessly trying to unmask the creator of the Bitcoin virtual currency, most of America was asking "What the f&&& is Bitcoin?" That probably explains why this helpful explainer piece from March became one of the year’s most-read posts on Consumerist.

There’s a lot more where these came from. In all, the five of us that write every day for Consumerist posted more than 6,000 stories in the last 12 months. And we’re doing it without any advertising support or revenue-sharing deals whatsoever.

Which makes this a good time to remind you that donations to Consumerist are tax-deductible and would warm the cockles of our hearts.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.