Posted: April 9, 2014, 1:56 p.m.
by Shannon Auvil.
On April 8, Comcast was named Worst Company in America by Consumerist, a consumer advocate news site. It’s the second time Comcast has won (or lost), previously snagging the honor in 2010.
Comcast faced a tough field: Monsanto, SeaWorld, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Walmart were all worthy competitors.
When Comcast was first named the WCA, the company urged its employees to vote for other companies so that faux pas would never happen again. Alas, having employees vote on its behalf could not suppress a tide of dissatisfied Comcast customers, and Comcast took home the sad trophy yet again.
The WCA competition is hosted online, and a winner is determined via a bracket by voters. There is no criterion for the distinction – Consumerist builds a bracket and voting commences. It is remarkable then that Comcast took the initiative in 2010 to ask its employees to vote and prevent the company from winning again.
Comcast urged employees to vote for other companies from work, from home and from mobile devices “to show that Comcast is a great company.”
Consumerist called out Comcast for the internal memo, which was rather embarrassing for the Internet, phone and cable provider.
That’s not all. Comcast repeatedly scores terribly on the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. On the same day it was named WCA, it merged with Time Warner Cable, to great consumer skepticism.
Critics of the merger suspect Comcast will raise broadband rates with its newfound size and impact and that, “The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger would give Comcast unthinkable gatekeeper power over our commercial, social and civic lives.”
Comcast’s FCC filing and impending Senate hearing will determine whether the government will side with Comcast or its opponents. Comcast released a lengthy, highly detailed public interest statement defending the merger and outlining the benefits to consumers that will result from it.
The Comcast-TWC merger is a massive opportunity for Comcast to fix its image and emerge from its decade-long reputation as a terrible service provider, a necessary evil or a last resort. In order to come out on top, Comcast needs to keep its big promises, including “faster Internet speeds, especially for current TWC customers; high-speed broadband services available on bundled and standalone bases; [and] a fully upgraded network that provides highly reliable and secure service.”
Perhaps Comcast’s second time being named the absolute worst isn’t too bad – Comcast can always take advantage of the humiliating recognition and turn it around. Maybe Comcast will let this one go and do some real work amidst the merger to improve its brand instead of foolishly using employees to manipulate an online poll.