We all know what it is like to deal with a company with poor customer service. Hours on hold listening to soft jazz or elevator music, mind-numbing responses to simple questions, and ultimately no resolution to your initial problem. I have surveyed over a dozen people and compiled a list of the worst companies for customer service.
The worst company for customer service is Bank of America. My personal dealings with Bank of America made them a front runner to begin with. At one point in my legal career, their ineptitude caused my Attorney Trust Account to become overdrawn (a serious problem that could result in disbarment). And then Bank of America had the gall to report the overdraft to the state’s ethics committee. Ultimately, the ethics committee dropped the matter, as the overdraft was clearly the fault of Bank of America. (The bank withdrew the funds from the Attorney Trust Account without my authorization). But the bank refused to apologize. In fact, several customer representatives of Bank of America did not even know what an Attorney Trust Account was! Conversations with several other professionals confirmed that Bank of America was the worst company for customer service.
The customer service representatives at Verizon Wireless are friendly enough, but give them a simple task and they turn it into an epic struggle. Case in point, an individual (we’ll call her Jane) recently hit the wrong button on her cell phone when paying her Verizon Wireless bill, mistakenly charging the wrong debit card, causing her an overdraft. Jane needed a simple refund to that debit card so that she could remove the overdraft and pay her Verizon Wireless bill with the proper debit card. After speaking with several customer representatives and their supervisors, she got nowhere. They would not process the refund, saying simply, “We can’t.” If you go to a hat store and purchase a hat with your credit card, you can return it the next day for a full refund in the form of a credit to your debit or charge card. But the customer service representatives at Verizon Wireless cannot or will not grasp this simple concept.
Comcast and CableVision tie for the third spot on the Worst Companies for Customer Service list. I’d ask you to pick up the telephone and tell them so, but you’ll probably be on hold for at least an hour and a half. Setting up appointments for installation? Well, no problem, so long as you can wait for cable and internet until June 2010. Both of these companies offer horrid customer service, and both make a solid case for getting Direct TV.
Many of the people I spoke to also had problems with Expedia’s poor customer service. If everything goes smoothly with the trip you planned and plotted on their website, no problem. But as soon as the need arises to pick up that phone and dial 1-800-EXPEDIA, you are in customer service hell. “Long wait times is an understatement,” my friend John told me. And he is absolutely right. I had to increase the minutes on my Verizon Wireless cell phone one month because I was on hold with Expedia for so long. (Luckily, that is a task Verizon can handle). If you need to change anything on your Expedia itinerary, make sure you have a platinum credit card handy. Because they will charge you an arm and a leg just to change your seat on the plane from an aisle to a window. To top it all, I was once stranded in Lisbon, Portugal, for an extra week thanks to Expedia.
Finally, TD Ameritrade. Since the company merged and changed names, the customer service has gone downhill. Longer wait times, customer service representatives who just don’t get it, or don’t care. Difficulty answering even the simplest of questions. My friend Brian works for the company and he admits, “Customer service isn’t our strong point.” Would somebody please call Sam Waterston and let him know?
Here is a question to you all: What are your own nominees for Worst Companies for Customer Service? I’d love to read them in the Comments section below. Share your worst experiences. Which companies do you feel belong in the Customer Service Hall of Shame?