November 2011

A company’s reputation is based on the satisfaction level of its customer, its financial performance, and its ability to tackle problems. Here is a list of the worst companies in U.S.
Charter Communications

Charter Communications has been ranked as the worst Internet Service Providers and its services as the worst among all the major national carriers. Charter redirected the error pages and the Windows Live Search results to the Charter’s page, without informing the customers. If any customer wanted to opt out of the option to be redirected, they had to click a link on Charter’s search page. The main problem was that while opting out, the link would install a cookie on the customer’s computers, and in order to delete the cookie, they would be required to opt out again.

In 2008, Charter reportedly deleted the email accounts of 14,000 customers during a routine sweep of the inactive accounts, which made the removed data irretrievable. Though it refused to pay any compensation to the customers, it finally decided to give a $50 account credit to each of the affected user. Its customers generally filed complaints regarding the improper billing practices and the poor customer service.

Four former Charter executives were framed for accounting frauds in 2005. In 2008, Charter announced its plans to monitor the websites visited by its high-speed Internet users via a partnership with NebuAd, but had to change its plan after many customers voiced their concerns. The company has been under financial pressure and filed for bankruptcy in March 2009, but emerged out of it in November 2009.

United Airlines

United Airlines has faced a lot of customer complaints regarding to extremely long delays of the flights, and the exorbitant baggage fees. In 2002, United Airways filed for bankruptcy, as it failed to keep its costs under control, which along with the rising oil prices made United loss $2.14 billion. It tried to cut down costs with its employees, suppliers and contractors. In 2005, it cancelled its pension plans, which was the largest such default in the U.S. corporate history. After implementing a restructuring in 2006, United finally returned to normal operations.

The merger with Continental Airlines had negative impacts on customer services. The Air Line Pilots Associations sued the company saying that the revised operating procedures were inadequate to maintain the levels of safety. The merger led to the check-in kiosks being inoperative, flight delays, and loss of baggage.


The company has been in the loop of a lot of criticism for its stance on net neutrality, and poor levels of customer satis
faction. The common complaints included poor communication with the customers when it came to updates and changes in the billing systems, making the channels unavailable for customers who didn’t update to digital cable, long waiting time for technicians, and a very steep increase in prices. Comcast is also stated to having spent millions of dollars on lobbying relations with the government. Though Comcast is a largest cable company on the basis of its revenues, it is equally big when it came to providing the worst customer services.

Time Warner Cable

The company has been into a lot of controversies with regards to bandwidth metering, agreement to local stations, and cable and on-demand channels. The common complaints were centered around fraudulent business acts and bad services, capping the usage by customers, limited support for public access television, and a steep increase in the prices. In 2008, the company started capping the customer’s broadband usage. In 2010, Time Warner Cable’s transmission on the kids channels was interrupted by a programming by Playboy TV for around two hours.

Time Warner enjoyed a long period of monopoly, which enabled it to rule its customers with its own policies, but the increasing competition from the satellite companies, forced Time Warner to provide better services.

Delta Airlines

Delta has been ranked the worst U.S. airline for a long period and the usual complaints revolved around flight delays, exorbitant baggage fees, and service cutbacks. The other controversies the company has been involved related to its free upgrades and lining the pockets of policymakers, a lousy service, and their refusal to let people use their frequent flier miles. In 2005, Delta filed for bankruptcy, owing to increasing fuel prices, lot of competition and a declining inflow of cash. The sacrifices made by all, from the employees to the management, pulled Delta out of bankruptcy in 2007.

Delta acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, to form the world’s largest airline in terms of schedules passengers carried, after which the level of customer satisfaction dropped further.


Corporations are notorious for being formal and stuffy, but not all big businesses are created equal. Over the last decade, more big-name companies are ditching the standard suit and tie and allowing their employees to wear khakis, jeans, and even (gasp!) flip-flops. These trend-setting companies have gone above and beyond the business norms to provide a comfortable and fun working environment for their employees, while providing awesome amenities like free gym memberships, complimentary dry cleaning, and on-site chefs to meet their daily needs. Check out these 10 big businesses with incredibly casual offices.

1. Google. Google was one of the first companies to adopt the laid-back corporate culture that emphasized creativity and achievements on an individual basis that add to the team’s overall success. One of the company’s 10 principle philosophies is “you can be serious without a suit.” This philosophy speaks volumes for the casual culture of Google. Not only is the dress code casual, but the overall look and feel of the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., is also laid back and fun. Google employees can enjoy ping pong, snacks in the break rooms, video games, and “huddle” rooms for everyone to take a break. Some additional office amenities include massage chairs, foosball and ping pong tables, an onsite gym, haircuts, and complimentary car washes.
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If you were to Google “Stock Market Volatility”, you would find a wide range of observations, conversations, reports, analyses, recipes, critiques, predictions, alarms, and causal confusion. Books have been written; indices and measuring tools have been created; rationales and conclusions have been proffered. Yet, the volatility remains.

Statisticians, economists, regulators, politicians, and Wall Street gurus have addressed the volatility issue in one manner or another. In fact, each day’s gyrations are explained, reported upon, recorded for later expert analysis, and head scratched about.

The only question I continue to have about all this comical hubbub is why don’t y’all just relax and enjoy it. Jon Methuen nailed it in his August 15, 2011 parody of the financial world’s ridiculous obsession with “volatility”. “A Reasonable Guide To Stock Market Volatility” is a must view — but only for mature adults with a semi-sick sense of humor.

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