08.20.13 7:20 PM ET
The Internet’s 9 Most Hated Companies
The people who frequent the website Reddit.com, which bills itself as “the front page of the internet,” are overwhelmingly young, male, fairly affluent, and, generally, interested in—or work with—computers. They are what one might call “tech-savvy.”
So it’s no surprise that when asked on the site “What company has forever lost your business?,” users took the occasion to direct a fire hose of bile at several well-known technology and consumer companies. The results, of course, are highly nonscientific. But sorting the responses by most “points,” helps reveal the Internet’s (well, the Internet front page’s) most hated companies.
1. PayPal—“Their customer service is the worst I’ve ever dealt with,” “Paypal has quite the scam going,” “Plus PayPal won’t allow you to donate to WikiLeaks” list among the primary concerns people have with PayPal, the online payments company founded by Elon Musk and later bought—for $1.5 billion—by eBay. The good news, for those who have to send money online, is there are alternatives. WePay, Skrill, Dwolla, Google Wallet, and Payza are five that have been recommended as alternatives.
2. AT&T—“They throttled our Internet,” “their horrible customer service,” and “their bait and switch bullshit with the iPad when it first came out,” are reasons Reddit users cited for hating the second-largest phone carrier on the planet. In the past, AT&T has responded to throttling accusations—the term for limiting its customers’ data transmissions—by saying only its unlimited data customers who use more than 3 gigabytes or more in a billing cycle would see their data throughput speed lowered, a result of “soaring mobile broadband usage and the limited availability of wireless spectrum.”
3. BP—No surprise here, but the energy company behind the Deepwater Horizon oil spill gets no love on the Internet. That its predecessor, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, has been accused of playing a role in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état doesn’t help its prospects either. But honestly? “There doesn’t seem to be any multinational oil company without a significant amount of blood on its hands,” a Redditor admits—so maybe BP shouldn’t be alone in the hot seat.
4. British Airways—The U.K.-based British Airways finds itself atop the most hated list because of ticketing policies that bend, allegedly, for nobody—not even for victims of terror attacks. “I called prior to take off to say because of a train crash I’d miss the first flight of a 10 stop trip and would catch the following plane in Germany a few days later (I was in the UK),” a former customer explains in the thread. “They said it’s company policy that if you miss one flight they cancel the whole ticket. And they did. Round the world holiday and all my money gone with no refund.” Another former customer tells a similar tale. “They did the same thing to my family. The reason we missed our flights? My uncle was on one of the subway train platforms when the London Tube bombings happened. He had 20% of his body covered in 3rd degree burns and had to be hospitalized.” Cold, but there’s always +travel insurance.
5. Adobe—The company that got slammed in an open letter from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (who is generally admired by tech-savvy crowds) has more than a few enemies among Reddit’s creative class. “The near-monopoly they hold on digital creative software,” that they are “practically begging people to pirate their” software because of high prices, and their constant need for updates rank among the top reasons for Adobe-directed hate.
6. Nestlé—Coming in at spot No. 6 is Nestlé, which in the top commenter’s opinion is “the most inhumane company that exists.” The accusations that follow range from dubious marketing practices of baby formula in Africa, alleged human rights violations with employees, and questionable comments that have been said by its chairman and former CEO. “I’m not all corporations are evil,” the top commenter says, “but f*ck Nestlé”; 2,084 other users agree.
7. Nutrisystem hates Christmas. At least that’s what the son of one of the company’s former customers believes. “They charged my dad’s credit card for an entire year’s worth of food without his consent two days before Christmas, the user writes on the site, spinning the sad tale. “He had canceled many months before, but they decided to dig up his information and bill him again. Obviously he got his money back, but as a single father we weren’t able to have as good a Christmas as he had hoped.” The story, which got over 2,000 up-votes from users, is one of the saddest things another Redditor has ever heard.
8. College Board—Perhaps owing to the fact that most of Reddit’s users are college educated, it’s no surprise that College Board, the company that administers standardized tests, gets the stink eye. Accused of being “EVIL,” the company is criticized for sharing information with other companies and making “it seem like the SAT and APs are the only way to judge a students ability.”
9. Best Buy—It used to be a technological dreamland, but with the rise of online shopping from megastores like Amazon, Best Buy has been relegated to “Amazon’s Showroom,” in the words of one Reddit user on the thread. “I go to Best Buy to check out things I want to buy on Amazon,” another user concurs, despite Best Buy’s price-matching policy. Still, it’s the employees who seem to be causing the most frustration with the big-box retailer. Reddit’s top complaint about the staff, that “nobody working there actually knows what they are talking about,” seems to be confirmed by one Reddit user who actually fits that bill. “I used to work at Best Buy,” he writes, admitting, “I know nothing about 95% of electronics. Definitely recommended a lot of movies/cds, though!”