Customers Rate These Companies LOW in Service Satisfaction

There’s one difference between Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and UPS (NYSE:UPS) that won’t show up on the balance sheet. Customers hate Bank of America. This feeling — generated by excessive fees, impenetrable call centers and foreclosure horror stories — is reflected in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And customers love UPS. ACSI rates companies based on thousands of consumer satisfaction surveys. The most-hated include large banks, airlines, power and telecom companies.

“These are not terribly competitive industries, as the switching barriers for most of them are quite high,” ACSI’s David VanAmburg told us. “In other industries, like the food or clothing sector, the competition is huge. They bend over backwards to make customers happy, because they have to.”

#19 Bank Of America (NYSE:BAC)

#19 Bank Of America

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 68/100

Customers complain of excessive fees for overdraft and other services and are pursuing lawsuits over illegal charges. The bank is America’s largest mortgage servicer and the slowest to respond to clients, according to Treasury reports. In recent years it has blundered through countless foreclosure horror stories. Meanwhile, as with other large banks, BoA offers dismal rates for savings.

Bank of America was the second lowest rated bank.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#18 Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH)

#18 Dish Network

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 67/100

Common complaints include incorrect billing and bad customer service. In 2009, Dish Network paid nearly $6 million to settle allegations that the company practiced misleading consumer marketing and lacked full disclosure when dealing with costs and fees. The agreement was made between Dish Network and 46 attorneys general.

Dish’s rating has lost four points since the last year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#17 Cox Communications

#17 Cox Communications

The Cox Communication mascot

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 67/100

Common complaints include unexpected extra fees including up to $480 to cancel service

Cox has maintained its satisfaction rating since the previous year, affirming its lead on Time Warner, Comcast, and Charter. Cox has actually been touted as a success story compared to other cable companies. That said, cable companies in general are liked less than satellite, according to ASCI.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#16 Pacific Gas and Electric

#16 Pacific Gas and Electric

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 67/100

Common complaints include the company’s plans to raise electric rates and multiple investigations into recklessness. In June 2011, PG&E agreed to pay $26 million in fines for a gas explosion that fatally wounded a man and injured five others. It is currently the largest fine assigned by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The company is still under investigation for a gas line explosion that killed eight people in September 2010.

PG&E admitted to the death of a man on Christmas Eve 2008 when the company failed to reply quickly enough to complaints of a possible gas leak.

Recently, the company’s decision to install smart meters has created a backlash as consumers express concern of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the devices.

PG&E’s customer satisfaction rating dropped 3 points since last year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#15 JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM)

#15 JPMorgan Chase

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 67/100

Common complaints include absurdly high overdraft fees according to a Federal Court suit and other complaints associated with big banks

JPMorgan Chase suffered from its rebranding, as the reorganization was slow and some branches took a long time to present the new brand.

The company’s consumer rating has steadily decreased since 2007, as costumers perceive the bank to be more impersonal with growth, according to ACSI.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#14 AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T)

#14 AT&T Mobility

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 66/100

Common complaints include dropped calls — especially in New York City, San Francisco, and other major metropolitan areas — and limited coverage.

AT&T has had problems ever since taking on the popular, data-heavy iPhone as an exclusive product. The lack of choices for smartphone users was one of the biggest complaints the company faced, but AT&T recently adopted a new, tier plan, which will phase out unlimited data plansfor new subscribers. Instead, consumers will be able to choose between cheaper, capped plans.

In early June 2011, Sprint filed a motion to block AT&T’s merger with T-mobile, claiming the two will become too powerful for Sprint to compete against.

The company’s consumer satisfaction ratings dropped 3 points since last year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#13 LA Department of Water & Power

#13  LA Department of Water & Power

The LA DWP building

Image: en.wikipedia.org

Satisfaction rating: 66/100

Common complaints include billing problems and disputes over proposed charge hike within the next three years.

Consumers claim the LADWP is intentionally issuing bills late in order to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in late fees.

The LADWP is also seeking to raise electric and water rates for their consumers in order to afford the new renewable energy commitment set forth by the city of Los Angeles. If approved – it will be up to the Los Angeles City Council – increases in charges for consumers would hike to more than 15 percent for water and 16 percent for power over the next three years.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#12 Long Island Power Authority

#12 Long Island Power Authority

Image: freefotouk via flickr

Satisfaction rating: 65/100

Common complaints include billing glitches resulting in the company overcharging customers at least $230 million in the past 10 years. Merely days after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state inspector general to audit LIPA’s electricity rates, the energy utility company hired their own auditor. Governor Cuomo’s move came after a decade of questionable overbilling practices by the LIPA. The company claims the overcharges resulted from a faulty formula they were using and have since began returning the money to consumers.

The Long Island Power Authority is currently ranked the lowest in the energy utilities sector.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#11 UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH)

#11 UnitedHealth

Image: Steve Rhodes via flickr

Satisfaction rating: 65/100

Common complaints include coverage denialsmishandling claims and miscommunication. In 2007, UnitedHealth paid $12 million to 37 states for allegations of mishandling claims and administrative practices. The National Insurance Commissioner requested that the healthcare company be  monitored in their claim practices through 2010.

Although UnitedHealth is ranked the lowest in its industry by ACSI, the company’s employer satisfaction is the highest in the nation’s self-insured commercial health plans, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Employer Health Insurance Plan Study.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#10 Facebook (NASDAQ:MSFT)(NYSE:GS)

#10 Facebook

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 64/100

A common complaint includes user’s privacy and personal information protection. Social networkers worry about privacy and sometimes complain when Facebook introduces new features, like the news feed. Or when Facebook shuts down apps without warning users beforehand, like they did recently to tens of thousands of apps.

ACSI began measuring social media sites in 2010 and ratings may have a few kinks to work out. Wikipedia earned the top score at 77.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#9 MySpace

#9 MySpace

Satisfaction rating: 63/100

Common complaints include privacy and personal information protection and bad interface.

My Space does not attract new subscribers to its service and its traffic is slowly decreasing. Parent News Corp is still trying to find some way it can compete with Facebook.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#8 American Airlines (NYSE:AMR)

#8 American Airlines

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 63/100

Common complaints include baggage fees and service cutbacks, as with most airlines.

American Airlines’s satisfaction rating has not changed since the previous year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#7 United Airlines (NYSE:UAL)

#7 United Airlines

Satisfaction rating: 61/100

Common complaints include flight delays and baggage fees. A recent unexplainable computer glitch resulted in the airline canceling 31 flights and delaying 105 more. Overweight bags could cost passengers $100-$200 a piece. Service cutbacks, as with most airlines, is another concern for consumers.

The merger between United Airlines and Continental might have influenced the bad score of the company in consumer satisfaction. According to ACSI, a big merger in service companies usually have a negative impact on customer services in the short-term, because of organization issues. The company’s ratings has increased steadily since 2007.

In June 2011, United Airlines violated the DOT’s 3-Hour Rule after trapping passengers on the tarmac for nearly seven hours at Dallas International.

United Airlines has increased in consumer ratings by one point since the previous year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#6 US Airways (NYSE:LCC)

#6 US Airways

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 61/100

Common complaints include low-ratings for cabin-crew service, baggage fees and baggage handling, a lack of entertainment options and poor communication regarding delays. The company is currently censured by the Department of Transportation for its lack of communication with travelers.

In June 2011, the airline carrier paid $45,000 in fines for failing to include the law-required applicable taxes and fees on the same page as a print advertisement on air fare.

US Airways has recently launched a new program to encourage on-time arrivals, fewer filed complaints and an improved overall performance. In May 2011, the company announced cash bonuses would be awarded to workers with the fewest bag mishandling.

The airline’s rating declined by one point since the last year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#5 Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR)

#5 Charter Communications

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 59/100

Common complaints include improper billing practices – which led to a class action settlement in 2004 – and poor customer service following the closing of domestic call centers in 2006. The Better Business Bureau issued a warning to Charter in 2007 following numerous complaints. In 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy and was forced to cut cost and downsize heavily.

Within the next few months, Charter’s subscribers will increase by 16,000 in Missouri with the acquisition of Texas-based U.S. Cable.

Charter’s consumer satisfaction rankings has decreased by two points since the previous year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#4 Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)

#4 Comcast

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 59/100

Complaints include poor communication of upgrade and billing changes, lost channels for customers who didn’t upgrade to digital box or digital-ready TV, long waiting time for technicians and price hikes.

Comcast announced that a new dispatch system will cut wait-time for repairs and installations in half by 2012.

One of the largest cable companies in terms of revenue, it remains one of the worst in terms of customer satisfaction. Comcast has decreased two points since the previous year.

*ASCI lists Comcast as a cable company (59/100) and a telephone company (69/100). In both cases it scores among the worst.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#3 Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC)

#3 Time Warner Cable

Image: www.flickr.com

Satisfaction rating: 59/100

Time Warner has been a public relations disaster for at least a decade. Blunders include  usage capsfees increasing each year faster than inflation and fraudulent business acts and bad services. In June 2011, a lawsuit was filed against Time Warner for  refusing to make closed captioning available on CNN’s online videos after being notified by disgrunted consumers. Recently it also aired pornography on children’s channels.

For a long time, cable companies in general lacked incentives to improve their customer satisfaction, as they enjoyed sole franchise agreements in many cities. With competition from satellite companies, they are being forced to address service issues — but they have a ways to go.

Time Warner has decreased two points since the previous year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#2 Delta (NYSE:DAL)

#2 Delta

Satisfaction rating: 56/100

Complaints include additional costs for food, beverages and baggage fees. The airline collected more than $952 million in baggage fees from flyers in 2010, almost twice as much as any other airline carrier.

Since acquiring Northwest airlines in 2008, Delta’s consumer satisfaction score has plunged. According to ACSI, a big merger in service companies usually have a negative impact on customer services in the short-term, because of organization issues. Delta’s rating dropped another 6 points this year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

#1 Pepco (NYSE:PEP)

#1 Pepco

Image: Mr. Pi via flickr

Satisfaction rating: 54/100

Potomac Electric had among the worst ratings in various power reliability studies, according to Washington Post. The average Pepco customer experienced 70 percent more outages than customers of other big city utilities that took part in one 2009 survey, and the lights stayed out more than twice as long. The unreliable services resulted in the adoption of the “Pepco bill,” in March 2011, requiring the state’s Public Service Commission to hold electric providers accountable for service quality standards

Pepco’s rating declined a shocking 16 points from last year.

Rating provided by ACSI.

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