Even for the “Worst Company in America,” it’s been a rough year. Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, got that title—and the Golden Poo trophy that comes with it—from Consumerist, the advocacy blog owned by Consumer Reports, in April 2014. Since then, one of its customer-service reps badgered a family for canceling its service, and a recording of the incident went viral. It sent out bills that addressed one customer as “Asshole Brown” and another as “Super Bitch Bauer.” Customers surveyed in its hometown of Philadelphia said they regard its service as “lousy” or “nonexistent.” To cap it all, at the end of April, federal regulators pushed the company to abandon its proposed $45 billion acquisition of similarly despised Time Warner Cable, which Comcast spent about $336 million pursuing since last year.
The company’s reputation has been in the toilet for years—it also “won” the Golden Poo in 2010—but bad press during the year when the government was considering the acquisition almost certainly contributed to the federal thumbs-down, says Craig Moffett, an analyst at researcher MoffettNathanson. “Comcast has been the unfortunate subject of an awful lot of embarrassing customer-service episodes over the past year,” he says. “I think those episodes may have a bigger impact in Washington than many investors are aware.”