What company do you love to hate? Wish they’d get an award for being awful? If so, welcome to Radvocate’s inaugural CRIF-ies — the Customer-Centric Radvocate Index of Frustration.
We’ve come to expect frustrating treatment and “shady” dealing from big business. Practices like endless phone hold times, rude service representatives, and confusing pricing or contracts.
And beyond the bad customer service there’s also the downright illegal — like verbal promises from sales reps that won’t be honored, or ”stuffing” mystery fees and services onto a bill.
That’s why we at Radvocate set out to rank which companies have reputations for the most frustrating service. How? We started by looking at which companies, across a range of industries, drove the most customers to the internet asking for relief. We used Google’s data to see how many users were searching for terms like “Dish Network lawsuit” or “Wells Fargo complaint.”
Are these the companies with the worst customer service? We don’t know. But they’re definitely some of the most disliked.
We looked at the most frustrating airlines, most frustrating banks, most frustrating cable and internet providers, most frustrating car insurance, most frustrating MLMs and rideshare (“side hustles”), and an “other” category for most frustrating businesses like gyms, home security, and for-profit colleges.
What you’ll find below are our overall “winners,” followed by a top-5 ranking for each industry in our data:
The “Bottom” 10 11 Most Frustrating Companies for Customers
Based on Google search data
DISH has been called “The Meanest Company in America,” and it tops our list as well as a source of continued customer frustration. A lawsuit decided earlier this year found DISH liable for telemarketing to numbers on the Do Not Call List, with penalties of up to $1200 per person.
Uber was once Silicon Valley’s darling. But the sheen has long since come off, as the company faces concerns over fairness to drivers, passenger safety, and an aggressive corporate culture.
Another obvious one: Wells Fargo’s pricey advertising campaign trumpeting the bank’s new, “Re-established” approach hasn’t succeeded in winning over those looking for relief from the 2016 revelation of massive fraud against customers.
A below the radar pick, LuLaRoe is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company claiming $1 billion in revenues. A number of the company’s “consultants” have launched a potential class action based on shady business practices. It will be interesting to see if the case works, since LuLaRoe has tried to keep any disputes within the arbitration system.
Same as above, Herbalife’s problems seem to stem from its network of resellers for its supplements and other products. MLM companies very much want you to know that they are not technically pyramid schemes.
Bank of America
The original Bank of America was founded in a quiet San Francisco neighborhood but moved to the Financial District after the earthquake of 1906. Was it fated from that move to become one of the largest and least-liked banks in the country? Who knows.
The top airline on our list. Air travel is complex, and so airlines might produce the widest range of complaints on this whole list. (American, if you’re listening, you still owe me 33,000 miles back!)
Another MLM. What does this one sell? Essential oils. How do we know they’re essential? Because they’re expensive I guess.
The “nicer Uber,” Lyft still sees its fair share of dissatisfied customers.
A bonus pick, since we couldn’t stop at 10 and not mention Equifax. Credit bureaus are strange beasts: they know everything about you, but they work for other big companies and not for you. Equifax’s leak of data on 143 million Americans will hold a legendary place in the annals of data snafus. At least until the next one.
Rankings by Industry
We ranked the 5 worst companies for our metrics across key industries. (100 = index for most negative within an industry)
American Airlines 100
United Airlines 50
Delta Airlines 17
Banks & Finance
Wells Fargo 100
Bank of America 39
Capital One 7
Cable, Internet, Wireless
DISH Network 100
AT&T & DirecTV 36 – file a claim
Charter Spectrum 12
Comcast 11 – file a claim
State Farm 100
“Side Hustles” (MLM & Rideshare)
24 Hour Fitness (Gym) 100
Vivint (Home Security) 87
University of Phoenix (For-Profit Education) 63
Planet Fitness (Gym) 58
Aetna (Health Insurance) 52
Have a complaint with one of these companies? Tell us about it here and we’ll let you know if and when it’s something we can process for you.
Radvocate specializes in customer empowerment. We help frustrated customers find resolution, by guiding them through available options including consumer arbitration. Radvocate was recently recognized by the American Bar Association as a Best Web Tool of 2018.