Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Shame

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3. Wells Fargo
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 21.1%
> Revenue: $94.2 billion
> Industry: Banking

The third largest bank in the United States by total assets, Wells Fargo is one of several financial institutions on the Hall of Shame that received billions of dollars in federal bailout money during the financial crisis. While many might still hold the near decade-old failure against the San Francisco-based bank, Wells Fargo has been in hot water much more recently.

Wells Fargo made headlines yet again in September 2016 when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined the bank $185 million for opening some 2 million accounts without customers’ knowledge and consent between 2011 and 2015. In the following weeks, the FBI opened an investigation into the matter, and CEO John Stumpf was called before congress to testify. Ultimately, Stumpf was forced to resign. The bank remains under scrutiny from lawmakers for fraudulent business practices. About 1 in every 5 consumers surveyed reported a poor customer service experience with the bank.

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2. Bank of America
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 23.1%
> Revenue: $93.7 billion
> Industry: Banking

As one of America’s largest banks, Bank of America played a role in the events leading to the financial crisis. Despite this, it received one of the largest federal bailouts — $45 billion in taxpayer money. Though the financial crisis is now nearly a decade in the past, banks still dominate the list of companies with the worst customer service.

This year, both Bank of America’s primary business and its credit card department made the Customer Service Hall of Shame with 23% and 19% of survey respondents reporting a poor experience, respectively. While this point might be controversial, customer service expert Shep Hyken argued that financial institutions must grapple with compliance laws more than most other industries, and as a result are often prevented from providing the level of service many customers may expect.

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1. Comcast
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 25.6%
> Revenue: $80.4 billion
> Industry: Cable/satellite TV company

More than 1 in 4 surveyed customers rate Comcast’s service as poor, the largest share of any company. More than 12,000 consumers filed complaints about Comcast with the FCC in 2015, about twice the the combined total complaints about AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable that year. After more than 1,000 Comcast subscribers complained to the FCC about being charged for cable TV services and equipment they never ordered, the regulatory agency ordered the company to pay a $2.3 million fine — the largest ever levied against a cable operator. In addition to overbilling, the company was the subject of frequent complaints concerning its status as a monopoly, slow internet, and poor service overall. Many customers attribute their dissatisfaction to the company’s policy of data capping — meaning often unsuspecting customers are charged extra for using more than a set amount of data.

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