Citigroup (NYSE: C) fell at the low end of a number of customer satisfaction surveys, even among banks, which generally performed poorly. It received particularly bad ratings from Zogby and the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The bank’s reputation has been hurt by employee discrimination suits, especially one which contends that the bank used the recession as an excuse to fire women. Citi’s image was also tarnished by the large amount of money that it received as part of the bailout, which was the most given to any other bank.
AT&T (NYSE: T) has received a great deal of negative press for its poor 3G service. That is not Ma Bell’s only problem. Independent research on customer satisfaction rates AT&T as poor. Consumer Reports recently reported that AT&T was the nation’s worst cellphone service provider, receiving a “poor” rating in all service categories other than texting. No other service provider was given a single “poor” rating. AT&T also receives the lowest marks among cell phone companies in ChangeWave Research’s survey of over 4,000 consumers.
8. Bank of America
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has a legion of reasons to be included among the most hated companies in America. It received one of the lowest scores in a recent Zogby/MSN customer satisfaction poll, and was rated as the worst bank in the poll. Many consumers complained about high fees, although this was a common response to many other financial service firms. Bank of America also has received large amounts of negative press. There is a great deal of resentment among the public because of the bank’s bailout. In addition, there is Bank of America’s participation in mortgage “robo-signing” activity – a practice that rubber stamped home loan documents to allegedly short-circuit the foreclosure process. Bank of America recently settled with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a $2.8 billion payment to cover bad mortgages sold to the agencies by one of the bank’s operations. Bank of America’s stock has significantly underperformed its rivals, certainly disappointing its investors.
Dell’s (NYSE: DELL) electronic store performs worse than nearly every other online retailer. Its ratings in recent Consumer Reports research were abysmal. Its laptop reliability ranks last based on frequency of repairs needed and other serious problems. Dell also experienced much negative press about charges brought against it by the federal government which covered accounting misstatements and other business violations. Recently, The New York Times reported that Dell sold defective PCs even though a number of its employees were aware of their problems. Dell’s shares substantially underperformed the DJIA over the last year.
Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) recently received unusually poor ratings from the MSN/Zogby customer service poll–31.2% of those familiar with Dish Network’s service called it “poor.” Consumers were particularly upset with what they view as “surprise” fees for Dish service. Glassdoor research shows that the company has a terrible reputation among employees and that the company’s CEO, Charlie Ergen, is held in particularly low regard, with a mere 22% approval among surveyed employees. Dish Network stock has significantly underperformed the DJIA.
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