Most folks can probably name a handful of companies they dislike off the top of their heads, companies that have caused past grievances or present unhappiness. That’s all well and good, but which one is bar-none the absolute worst? Now that’s a different story.
The Consumerist’s “Worst Company in America” competition puts the “mad” in “March Madness.” The tournament pits 32 companies against each other and allows disgruntled customers to vote for their most reviled. Business may not be personal, but the contest certainly is.
So far, several tech companies have been given a pass by consumers, while others remain. Apple beat out Google in the first round of voting, but then lost to AT&T. The telecom giant then beat out Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking powerhouse Facebook.
Electronic Arts has made it to the Final Four in its first year in the running, garnering 66 percent of the vote against opponent Comcast. The video game publisher has angered gamers by supporting controversial online passes and pricey downloadable content. Releasing the divisive trilogy closer Mass Effect 3 earlier this month didn’t help. EA topped Sony and Best Buy in earlier rounds, the former coming off last year’s PlayStation Network hacking incident which compromised millions of customers’ personal information.
PayPal, which has its very own disgruntled customer forum, was on a roll until it met Wal-mart in the quarter-finals. The online currency company made headlines in December after freezing a charity group’s account.
One surprising “winner” is Netflix. Despite a 2011 full of price hikes, unpopular business decisions, one million lost subscribers and substantial stock drops, the video streaming and DVD rental company wasn’t considered bad enough to beat retail chain GameStop in round one.
The semi-finals currently look like this: Bank of America vs. Wal-mart, and EA vs. AT&T. All four have a high bar to vault. Last year, voters chose BP as the bottom-of-the-barrel (no pun intended) in a squeaker against repeat contender Bank of America.
One thing’s for sure: whoever wins, consumers will (probably) still lose.