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Founded in 1963 as a local cable operator, Comcast is now the nation’s largest provider of high-speed internet, cable television and voice services to residential customers. The company boasts 141,000 miles of fiber, completes over 142 million calls each day and generates over $68 billion in annual revenue. Comcast holds itself out as a reliable and trustworthy provider of cable and internet services through mass media advertising. To finance its marketing full-court press, Comcast spent over $3 billion on advertising in 2013, including $901 million on TV, $97 million in magazines, $84 million in newspapers, and $311 million online.
Comcast has amassed its empire in part through active participation in the M&A markets, buying growth in various verticals. For instance, it completed the acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2013. Apparently until recently, it was seeking regulatory approval of its announced merger with Time Warner Cable. Mergers and acquisitions may be a savvy business strategy for Comcast, because sixty-four percent of American homes have only one or two available broadband suppliers, according to the FCC.
Despite its $69 billion in revenue and $159 billion in assets, Comcast continues has experienced hiccups in its customer service. For instance, in the summer of 2014, a Comcast “retention specialist” repeatedly refused to honor the unambiguous cancellation notice provided by a customer over the phone. Ryan Block's recording of the call struck a chord, going viral nationwide. Notably, Comcast Cable’s chief operating officer conceded that the “agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him . . . to do.” In other incidents, customers have found their names changed on their bills to “Super B*tch Bauer,” “A**hole Brown,” “Dummy” and “Wh*re,” according to S.F. Gate. (The full actual profanities, without stars, were used by Comcast, according to press reports.)
Apparently, the above-mentioned snafus were not Comcast’s only customer service faux pas. Thus, according to Bloomberg, market research firm Harris Poll ranked it as the eighth-most hated company in America. Meanwhile, Time reports that the American Consumer Satisfaction Index measured Comcast as second-worst among 230 companies, besting only Time Warner Cable. The Consumerist’s reader poll, for its part, gave the dubious distinction of “Worst Company in America” to Comcast.