In the spirit of the Comcast employee who was recorded being a huge pain the ass, we’re drafting companies that we would love to eliminate due to their customer service reputations. As anyone who has ever worked a public facing job will tell you, there are many customers who are worse than the worst customer service representatives. However, there are also companies that go above and beyond when it comes to trying the patience of the average consumer. Companies that make you wish the invisible hand of the market would smash them like a housefly. These are their stories.
*Law and Order noise*
There’s a lot of good talent left on the board, so please tell us what we missed, Kommenters.
1. Old James selects – Time Warner Cable
They’ve managed to build a cable box large and sturdy enough to survive the apocalypse, but only work around 12% of the time. Fuck them.
2. Big Sandy selects – All forms of city public transportation
If you live in a big city, you have to deal with them at least occasionally or, if you’re like me, regularly. They’re also the people who could care less about your well-being. Bus drivers bypassing your stop for no reason, trains pulling a Tokyo Drift around a tight corner, customer service reps who could give two fucks if your card stopped working for no reason… oh, but if you’re the bus driver’s friend, you ride for free.
3. Dave Rappoccio selects – Comcast
I live in the Pac Northwest which means I get to choose Comcast or crap cable that doesn’t work and gives out in the rain (which you might hear we have a lot of). The level of price creep on their bills is outrageous. We got our cable/Internet package for a reasonable price and every month it goes up for no reason, and the only way to stop it (and then only temporarily) is to sit through their customer service garbage and then yell at them and threaten to quit, at which point 20 dollars will magically vanish from your bill. Only to be back 3 months later.
Portland is in serious talks for Google Fiber and the entire city is excited to possibly have an option that isn’t comcast or worthless providers.
4. Eric Sollenberger selects – DIRECTV
A few years ago I called to purchase the Sunday Ticket package. I knew they ran promotions from time to time so I wanted to see what they could offer me as far as price goes. The guy I was talking to told me they could give it to me FOR FREE. I couldn’t believe that he would actually do that so I put the call on speakerphone and recorded it.
Week 2 of the NFL season rolls around and what do you know? My Sunday Ticket is cut off. So I call them back and tell them what happened and PLAY THE DAMN RECORDING for them and they tell me that they can’t give it to me for free. Meanwhile I’ve got 6 friends over at my house trying to watch the out-of-market game that I told them I would have. They eventually give me a shitty deal of like $50 off which I had to accept because they have a monopoly on televised NFL games.
5. Sarah Sprague selects – SunTrustBank
It took me nearly a decade to ever trust a bank again after the terrible, terrible punishment I took from SunTrustBank when I was young, foolish and poor, getting by on pennies a day. But paychecks have to be deposited somewhere and check cashing stores take 14% so you set up a bank account and agreed to ridiculous terms that say you will always have $100 in the account and bounced checks would be $25 which makes sense but overdrawn ATM (HOW DO YOU OVERDRAW SOMETHING YOU JUST APPROVED) fees are $25 and soon you’ve got two fines, overdrawn because under minimum balance which suddenly makes your $5 pizza purchase with the last remaining $20 you have in your account because you’re starving and you can only take out a $20 a negative $50 nightmare and you can’t put money in for a week when you get the next paycheck so the fines add up and suddenly the check cashing store isn’t looking so bad.
6. StuScottBooyahs selects – Pepco
Oh, your power went out? We better hurry up and get someone out there before you switch to one of our zero competitors!
By the way, Pepco, a REGIONAL provider to DC and Maryland ONLY, was listed as the most hated company in ALL OF AMERICA by Business Insider a couple years back.
7. PFT Commenter selects – The electoral college
Ive never met a graduate and there football team sucks.
8. Christmas Ape selects – Sprint
So maybe a week after I wrote my rant about them on KSK a while back, someone from the Sprint Care got in touch with me about remedying my issue with my defective phone.
@xmasape Just read your blog. I wanna be your hero. Email SprintCares@Sprint.com Attn Christy & I'll get my cape ready. *CMM
— Sprint Care (@sprintcare) June 25, 2014
After going back and forth over email (because my phone couldn’t hold a call long enough for us to discuss it there) their customer care rep offered to send me a new HTC One and put a credit for a month of service on my account.
Lo and behold, my new phone works well. Issue resolved! Sure, I feel kind of like a sucker for a being a customer of a company that treated me lousy for a while, but now I have their attention and their willingness to help. Better to stay with a company actively working to help you than land with one that sees like just another customer.
Still, I felt a little guilty. I expressed those reservations to the customer rep:
If I’m being honest, I feel a little uneasy about how this worked out. Until I wrote about my phone problems on a website with a fairly significant readership, no one at Sprint – either in on the customer service line or the stores – seemed especially concerned or eager to address my issue. Only after I wrote that rant did someone reach out to me. I wonder what recourse that someone who doesn’t have the platform that I have would be able to do. Did I just go about trying to fix the problem the wrong way? If I did, what should I have done instead?
To which she responded:
Totally valid question. Any time you or any other customer has an issue that isn’t appropriately handled at the store level or at the front line Care rep level, you have the right to escalate that call to someone higher up. I see you called us on the 29th and we talked to you a bit about network problems, but clearly, you didn’t get a resolution. You have the right to say, respectfully, ‘this isn’t helping, I’ve done all the troubleshooting; had the phone looked at. Something’s wrong, I need to speak to a supervisor.’ Or a manager. If you did ask for a supervisor that day and the Sprint employee did not let you speak to someone, I need to know; that’s taken very seriously.
You’ve visited the store, you’ve talked to supervisors and you still don’t have a resolution? My team assists customers on Twitter, Sprint’s Facebook page and Sprint.com resolving issues very much like yours and our level of care is in no way associated to follower count. Your blog got you some attention in that I proactively reached out to you, but you have a Twitter account that enabled me to do so (we don’t currently proactively post on blogs, maybe someday). Not to make less of your accomplishment in building a very healthy following, a person with no followers at all could get similar attention by tweeting their story @Sprint or @Sprintcare or posting on Sprint’s Facebook page. Of course, every situation is unique and I can’t promise we’ll offer any one particular solution to everyone but when we see a problem like this, it doesn’t matter how popular a person is, we’re going to find a way to fix it.
I’m not sure I totally buy the “you should’ve just asked to speak to a supervisor” answer, but fine. This customer rep, to her credit, treated me really well and resolved my issue promptly. Of course, this was after months of getting the run-around, so I’m not sure it changes much about my opinion of the company altogether.
9. Johnny Sugar selects – Delta Airlines
I guess kind of a predictable pick. But I’ve only been on a plane about five times in my life. I’m pretty sure everytime its been with them, and every time something has gone wrong, and the whole thing was a big pain in the ass.
10. Trevor Risk selects – Apple
I’m sure everyone has a story about Apple products letting them down, but mine is a specific kind of maddening.
I bought a Mac Book Pro, which i saved a lot of loonies for. Before that I was working on a desktop PC from 2002. About six months into owning it, the 1/8th inch adapter that i plug into it to link it to my stereo system had the tip of it break off inside the computer and I can’t get it out. Now the computer thinks there is always something plugged in there, therefore the speakers won’t function, in essence turning the computer into a mute laptop. I took it into Apple and about seven other Apple dealers and their answers were all the same; that they could not remove that piece from it. This two thousand dollar piece of equipment that cost me all my savings, had taken away (for someone working in the music industry) a sizeable chunk of what i bought the thing for in the first place. Apple’s repeated response was “Oh yeah, this happens all the time. There’s no way to fix it, because of our unilingual (or whatever) body design, there’s no actual way of getting in there to remove that tiny 1/8th inch tip.” This happens all the time? And you just tell everyone to take a walk and suck it up? They also acted like i was wasting their time and ushered me out of the store every single time. They rolled their eyes and were snarky with me. They told me that my insurance didn’t cover it because (get this) it was the 1/8th inch cord that was defective, NOT the computer. 1. Apple doesn’t even make 1/8th inch cords and 2. WHAT ARE WE EXPECTED TO STICK IN THERE??? I eventually gave up all hope and when my MacGyver-ish buddy thought he could fix it, but couldn’t, and a jeweller just laughed at me, at the advice of the internet i took the inside of a Bic pen and dabbed super glue at the end and tried to stick it in and grab the piece but nothing worked. I eventually bought a new Mac Book. Bought. A. New. One. Nobody would even give me 200 bucks for the old one.
11. Trevor Risk selects – Lufthansa
I was going to say PayPal, but PayPal (especially if you’ve ever dealt with them over the telephone) are just braindead and lazy. Lufthansa, however, are masochistic, and get pleasure out of prejudice and pain, and are the worst airline on the planet. It’s not even close. Three separate times I’ve been on a flight from the Pacific Northwest to Europe, which is about twelve hours of flight, and i’ve had my bulkhead or emergency seat TAKEN away from me after i worked and asked to get it for my 6’3″ (with shit knees) frame. The reason? To give seats to Germans. Seriously, that was the reason they gave me on THREE different flights over the years. “Some Germans would like these seats. Please move in between these 90 year olds for twelve hours and watch this one English thing on your tv set: a single episode of Two and a Half Men.” No wonder the Goodfellas robbed you. You deserved it.
12. Johnny Sugar selects – Tops
Not the fault of the cashiers, but the place is woefully understaffed. There was a Tops right near my Campus when I was at school. It was really crowded, and yet, they never had more than three cashiers pen at any time, so you were always waiting 10-15 minutes, even if you were only buying one thing. Plus, Wegmans is like a trilion times better.
13. Christmas Ape selects – Home Depot
When it first rose to prominence, it put local hardware stores out of business with better prices through economy of scale and good service. Though once Home Depot achieved market dominance, it soon stopped giving a shit on the service end. I’ve rarely encountered employees who more aggressively don’t give a shit. On one hand, I understand that a job at Home Depot almost certainly sucks. At the same time, if I have a question, it’s probably not going to answered.
Oh, and last year, I went there to get a key duplicated and had to wait almost an hour because only one employee knew how to operate the machine and they couldn’t find him. Apparently he was just out back smoking for a while.
14. PFT Commenter selects – Golden Corral
They CLAIM to be a all you can eat francise but in realty can a place really be all you can eat if it closes? Also they dont tell you but you halve to pay extra for the real cuts of meat ..and they dont serve beer and will try to have the right to kikc you out if you bring youre own.
15. StuScottBooyahs selects – Avis
Jesus Fucking Christ, I hate Avis. Should’ve made this my first pick.
I rent cars quite often. Now, in general, car rental companies are annoying as hell. They poorly manage their fleets, they take forever to punch in information at the counter that you already gave them online, and they all have their own unique annoying quirks: Enterprise tries to shame you into buying their ridiculous rip-off $22 PER DAY damage waiver by implying you’re an idiot if you decline it, Hertz overbooks all the fucking time, etc.
But Avis. Deer sweet Jesus, Avis. Avis holds a special place in my heart for fucked up corporations with absolutely zero fucks to give to their customers. It all began about six years ago when Avis first tried to slip in a little $15 charge for some bullshit device that I didn’t want, ask for, or approve of, and when I came back later to complain they removed it but only before whining to ME about how I should have spotted it at pickup in their confusing-ass print-out receipt from the 1960s. I wrote them off as shysters and vowed never to do business with them again.
Fast forward to the last year or so, when I discover I can save bundles by using the “bid now” feature on Priceline. The only problem is that I can’t choose the rental company, and Avis starts accepting some of my bids. I said OK, it was a long time ago and one incident, maybe I’ll have a better experience now. One thing you will notice renting from Avis is their bizarre policy of requiring you to show a receipt proving you filled up the gas tank. No other rental car company does this because they all just look at the fucking gas gauge to see if it’s full. So what’s the point? Even if I don’t have a receipt, and they charge me their $9-a-gallon rate to refill, there’s nothing to refill so I won’t get charged, right? WRONG. You get hit with a $17 fee before they even check the tank if you can’t produce a receipt. And don’t think having a receipt will save you either. They hit me with a charge later on my bill despite showing them the receipt. I called up customer service to ask what the hell, and they asked me to prove I wasn’t lying to them by producing a three-week old receipt from a gas station.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. When you bid on Priceline, for some bureaucratic reason rental car companies won’t allow you to alter the times of your rental, so if you want to keep it an extra day, you have to bid again for the next day, return the car, go back to the rental counter, and pick up the car again with a new contract. Fucking medieval. I did this one time with Avis, as I wanted the car about 14 hours or so earlier and thus bid on a separate 14-hour rental that would lead directly into my one-day rental. Unbeknownst to me, Avis had “changed” my 14-hour rental into a 24-hour rental, since I guess they only deal in one-day increments. The 10-hour difference meant that when I returned the car to switch to my next rental, I had actually returned the car a day early in their minds, meaning they were allowed to void my Priceline bid of $20 for two days and charge me $200+ at the standard daily rate. I have never been buttfucked so hard by a company in one blow. I have it on my to-do list to call Avis and ask for the money back, but after my experience with the gas fee, I feel like this is like hiring a dominatrix and asking her to go easy on the whip: Avis’ business model is built on dicking over its customers, so calling them and asking them to not dick you over is going to get a confused reaction.
Sorry this is so long, but I really, really, really fucking hate Avis.
16. Sarah Sprague selects – The Wizard of Bras in Monrovia
As a large breasted woman, my options are limited when shopping for bras except for weird shops aimed at grandmas and online stores which carry UK and Eastern European brands which make bras for young, normal shaped women who happened to have natural, round full boobs. (When I go to Europe, I always make at least one stop in a bra store which compared to what we have in the US — shove it with your Oprah endorsed fancy stores, they don’t carry a 28 band — are a play land of pretty-sexy-meant-for-real-woman-bras-that-don’t-make-you-look-like-a-lunch-lady bras. I spent two hours in Edinburgh not looking at castles, but in bra shop.)
My last trip into a local bra shop that carries one or two styles in my size turned into a screaming match with the owner, an older lady who tried to get me into a size that didn’t fit correctly because they didn’t have anything left in my normal 28 H. She tried to tell me how I was wear my bras all wrong — not like I hadn’t been buying from her for years — and that my tits should be way down in my stomach, that raising then high was not how clothes fit. Fortunately I had worn a fitted blouse that day, and I put it on over the ill-fitting bra showing her where the dart lines were and how the bust line was four inches higher, and there was no way my nipples should be level with my belly button. She keeps insisting I’m wrong and how she’s been in this business for 50 some years and she knows more about bras than I do, which turns into me yelling, “I’VE HAD THESE TITS FOR 20 YEARS AND I’M PRETTY SURE I KNOW HOW THEY WORK” so loudly, Bryan hears me from the waiting area. We both refuse to deal with the other, I leave the store refusing to take what I had already paid for and I now have a $300 credit I refuse to go back and use just so I don’t have to see that witch ever again.
17. Eric Sollenberger selects – Papa John’s
They managed to sneak in the side door of the mid-90s pizza game because pizza hut and dominoes were in a competition with each other to see who could make the shittiest pizza and still remain profitable. Papa John’s came claiming “better ingredients, better pizza” which, yea better ingredients is a pretty low bar to cross when your competition is using cans of pre-WWII tomatoes with wasp infestations. Have you ever tried ordering just one large pizza for delivery? They always have specials for like 5 mediums and a weird dessert that your weird friends’ parents would order for his birthday party all for a total of $35, but it you try to order a god damn large pepperoni pizza it will invariably cost $18.
18. David Rappoccio selects – Buffalo Wild Wings
Yeah I said it. Back years ago I used to go there all the time, when they were a smaller chain and the wings were cheap. Then near the end of college when they started getting big they switched chicken providers and I haven’t had a good experience since. The wings shrunk in size by half, the sauces got weakened and they barely put any on the wings anymore. The bleu cheese and ranch they used to serve got gross and liquidy, and the carrots changed from actual quality carrots to weird carrot sticks that taste like cardboard. This wasn’t one location, that’s what I thought. I’ve gone to at least 9-10 in several parts of the country since then and each one has been just as disappointing.
19. Big Sandy selects – DMVs
20. Old James selects- Hollister
I used to work for Hollister. Sort of. Allow me to explain.
Here’s how you get a job at Hollister. Your better looking college friend needs a new polo or something, and you decide to tag along, because you’ve got all this free time to kill since you decided to skip class. A manager walks up and asks if you guys want to apply for jobs. He declines. You say “Eh, fuck it” because you don’t have any idea how to say “no” to a good looking girl, and she probably wasn’t talking to you anyway.
Two hours later, they call back. You’ve got an interview. “Eh, fuck it,” right? The next day, you go back to the mall for what turns out to be the weirdest job interview in the history of employment. You and a dozen other hopefuls are standing in a stockroom being vetted by a different manager, with questions ranging from “Who would you rather party with?” to “Why do you want to work here?” which you’re supposed to answer IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE GROUP. You learn that Trey Anastasio would be chill to hang with. You learn that someone wants the job because he “likes the smell of the store.” You can’t decide whether he’s serious, or if the pooka shell necklace is cutting off his circulation. You decide, right then and there, to throw the interview. You’d like to party with the president of the university, you say, because you’re a smart ass. You’d ALSO like to work there because you like the smell of the store, because you’re an asshole.
You don’t realize the manager has a sense of humor. You get a job. You need money. “Eh, fuck it.” You go to training, where yet another manager is hungover, and seems pretty apathetic toward the whole thing. You learn how to fold a shirt. You learn that you have to buy Hollister clothes to wear to work, which will essentially negate any money you’d actually earn. You also learn that one single store in the mall has over 140 different employees, and you’ll probably be working somewhere in the neighborhood of four hours per month. And you learn that “Eh, fuck it” maybe isn’t the best credo.
I never worked a shift at Hollister. They told us how to check the schedule, but I apparently wasn’t paying attention. I’d gone to an away football game on a Saturday a few weeks later, and was in the car coming home on Sunday afternoon when one of the 37 managers called asking where I was. “Oklahoma” wasn’t what she wanted to hear, so I was told to not worry about showing up to work that day, because my services were no longer required. Which was good, because developing the necessary technology for teleportation wasn’t on my to-do list that particular day.
So the lesson here, I guess, is that Hollister doesn’t exactly hire the best employees. They’re either dipshit state college kids, like me, or they’re over in the corner huffing a pile of board shorts.
I’m pretty sure each and every DMV wherever you is an entrance that all leads to the same place: Hell. Sure, it’s a stereotype but it’s a stereotype because it’s true. Sorry, Big Brother, I have no need to wait in a line of awful people for 2 hours just to take a test that makes sure I know which is a STOP sign and which is a Yield sign, all so you can keep track of me and keep me from having fun.