Companies I Won’t Do Business With

Bad businessesGood customer service is never an accident. The motivation to provide good service has a lot to do with a company’s culture. When Delta’s CEO talks about ‘customer satisfaction’, ‘quality’ and ‘good service’, I think he is mocking us all. When Jeff Bezos of Amazon says the same things, I know he means it.

As a lone consumer, there isn’t much I can do. A bank like BofA would be shut down as a criminal enterprise in most countries, but when you make political contributions to the tune of $530,500, the largest ever by a bank, it is hard to shut down that bank. I think Warren Buffett invested in this bank for exactly this reason and not because he believes BofA is a wonderful bank. Buffett is no fool.

What I can do is, not deal with such companies. Might not make even a dent in how these companies do business, but greatly reduces stress in my life.

Susan Komen Foundation

Even before the planned parenthood controversy, I had decided not have anything to do with this organization. This foundation sent lawyers behind any fund raising organization that used the word ‘for the cure’! And lawyers don’t work for free! That’s your donations at work!

Their associations with companies to promote their efforts always raised eyebrows. You could buy specially engraved Smith & Wesson guns with the awareness ribbon engraved on them. Do you see the irony here when compared to the refusal of donations to planned parenthood?

They collaborated with M&M and get this, KFC! Apparently, death by obesity is less important than death by cancer.

And a CEO with a pay package of slightly less than half-a-million dollars to run a charity.

Nope. Sorry.

Privacy Guard

If you are looking for identity theft protection, I can’t tell you where to go. I can tell you where NOT to go. Privacy Guard comes to my mind. The service provided by Privacy Guard is offered mostly by Chase as a trial offer. You call to cancel within 30 days and you won’t be billed. I did and they billed me year after year claiming I never called. I was no exception, there are tons of complaints against this company.

Stay away.

Delta Airlines

I’ve flown Delta. When things don’t go wrong, their service was ok. It was like taking the bus. You don’t think much about it. But when things do go wrong, it is a nightmare. Here’s one such experience.

This was a flight for an international travel. Delta was the connecting carrier. I arrived at the airport and was told that the flight was cancelled. No big deal. I was on vacation, and didn’t mind catching the next flight. But here’s the kicker. They didn’t provide one! Instead they advised me to pay for the fare at the Jet Blue booth next to Delta if I want to catch my connecting flight!

The travel agent couldn’t believe it since Delta and the connecting international airline were partners and when things go wrong, you usually get the next flight with a corresponding flight from the connecting airline. Delta didn’t care!

So we went home and I was on the phone from 2 am till 6 am (I wish I was exaggerating, I’m not) making various calls to the Delta, to the international airline and the travel agent. Delta was the worst with wait times lasting 45 minutes and when you do get them, they were of no help. Not to mention, extremely rude. And there was not even a talk about a refund.

I hope I never have to fly this airline again.

Homesite Insurance (Progressive)

Homesite is one of Progressive insurance group’s homeowner insurance partners. Homesite is not related to Progressive insurance group. And to be clear, I have nothing but good things to say about Progressive. But their association with Homesite leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Since bundling your home and auto insurance saves you a bit, I decided to sign up for homeowner insurance from Homesite since my auto was already with Progressive. A year passed, and I got a renewal with an increase of more than $250! No claims or anything the past year or …ever!

No biggie, I called to see if they may be able to reduce the premium. After the call, Homesite increased my premium by another $75 dollars!

So this woman takes my call and goes over the various coverage and claims that with the new information, the premium has gone up and I now have to pay $75 more.

Ok may be this is how the industry works. Fine, but that’s not what bothered me. Throughout the call, this woman was least interested in what I was saying and extremely unhelpful. She couldn’t care less if I stayed with Homesite or not and most annoyingly was giggling almost throughout the call. Either she was high or flirting with a co-worker.

No, this wasn’t an outsourced call.

Progressive is the complete opposite. They were so good and so accommodating, I actually switched back for my auto insurance from a different company! Pity they teamed up with Homesite.

Oh, and don’t bother using Homesite’s contact page. They don’t acknowledge your email or respond to it.

First Internet Bank of Indiana

If you’ve never heard of this bank, good for you! If you are thinking of refinancing your home, here’s one bank to stay away from. Their behavior was so unprofessional, it warrants an entire post by itself.

When you lock in a rate, you are guaranteed that rate for the lock-in period. That’s the point of locking in a rate. Not at FirstIB. A week after locking in the rate, I get an email saying the rate has gone up and they can’t provide the agreed rate unless I paid points.

This bait-and-switch tactic is very effective because by then you’ve already paid for the credit reports and the appraisal and if you choose not to go with the vendor, you lose that money. But I was looking at the bigger picture and hinted that I will going with another vendor.

Guess what? The agent pulled the classic car salesman tactic – ‘let me talk to my manager’. Within 10 minutes I get an email agreeing to the original rate!

This is just one incident, but every step of the way it was an unpleasant experience. Thankfully, FirstIB is only a broker and not the actual lender and now that the deal has closed, I don’t have to deal with them again.

Bank of America

I’m a BofA hipster. I quit this bank before it was cool to hate BofA! Much before their sub-prime fraud, the mortgage fraud, the muni fraud, the robo-signing fraud and yet-to-be-revealed frauds.

Thankfully my mortgage wasn’t sold to BofA.

Do you have a blacklist of companies you don’t hope to deal with? Share your stories!

38 thoughts on “Companies I Won’t Do Business With

  1. Great rundown. I worked for Bank of America as an investment subsidiary so I know the corporate philosophy first hand. It stinks and their travails of recent years has been well deserved. The story on Delta was eye opening!

  2. I won’t do business with AARP, Comcast, telephone solicitors of any kind, politicians of any kind, Planned Parenthood, Acorn or any of its spin-offs or reincarnations, banks that charge excessive fees for the privilege of having an account with their institution, and mutual fund companies that charge a load or have excessive fees. But I am enjoying the stock market gains on that universally hated institution Bank of America.

  3. I, honestly, never had a bad experience with Delta. In fact, when my connecting flight was late, Delta employees met me at the gates and took me through de Gaulle airport to my next flight.But it was years and years and years ago. I would not be surprised to find out that their service quality has changed since.

  4. You need to add AT&T to this list. I am paying a lot for my family plan, but when I called them last month to complain that my calls are dropping so frequently, I was told how much refund do I want. Cheez!

    • They’ve gobbled up all the smaller, better players. (Cingular comes to mind). Once again, too monopolistic and AT&T knows we don’t have a choice. It’s either them or Verizon. Neither of them are any better.

  5. Don’t forget what Delta stands for:

    Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive

  6. You can probably add most telecommunication companies to the list, including Sprint. I was disheartened to see how we were treated as long time subscribers when they no longer wanted us on our plans (they wanted to “upgrade” us to more expensive plans).

  7. RE First Internet Bank Of Indiana – I’m sure the FTC would like to hear about that little rate-lock scam. What a joke.

    I too have a list of companies that I refuse to use, mainly due to poor service but also dubious business practices.

    Most recently a heating company wanted to charge me $78 for the privelage of quoting for the replacement of our furnace. A 14 year old kid inspected by broken furnace. Wthin a minute he quoted me $4,000 to replace it. In shock I explained that this was more than double my other quote. He said “ok, how would you like to pay for the service fee?” A must have frightened him so much we have never been charged.

  8. Wow that’s crazy abut the Delta flight, that’s ridiculous.

  9. BankofAmerica is my #1 with a bullet. I feel bad that I feel so bad about not liking Susan Komen. They’re huge in our area, and I can’t stand their practices. I hope they start to learn that their practices aren’t helping them achieve what’s supposedly their end goal.

    • There are tons of other ethical charities. If nothing, contribute either your time or money to a local soup kitchen. To see your donations actually been used is a wonderful experience.

      Charities run by political hacks is not something I can get behind.

  10. I’m getting very close to adding Apple to my list. Loved them at the beginning of their run, but the closed ecosystem model cannot last forever. Apple has done great things in tehnology, but their litigious approach to every other successful company is beginning to get old. Hopefully, things will get back to a “out innovate everyone approach”

  11. Very interesting notes on the Susan Komen Foundation. I am not a fan of lawyers or people/groups that send their lawyer attack dogs on others. That’s disturbing to hear they were going after people for using “for the cure”

  12. Karunesh @ says:

    thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Its bad to see big companies treating there customers like that but within those flaws lies the opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter there markets. Many businesses were started like that

  13. Karunesh @ says:

    I found your post very helpful. I have linked your post at my website weekly roundup

  14. Well, I hope the Delta curse stays off our vacation trip to Italy this June. :-)
    Every single airline has the potential ability to royally screw their customers at one time or another. They simply don’t *have to* care about satisfying you, Mr. Customer. Flying is a miserable experience, really, when you get right down to it. From the cramped seating, to bad food, to long wait lines, to getting groped and scanned and pushed and prodded by the helpful folks at the TSA. Anytime that so many customers have so many bad feelings, and absolutely *nothing*
    changes for the better, this is proof positive that the forces of the free market are fully constrained. Not until some paradigm-shifting industry-busting black swan comes into being (maybe teleporting, or personal anti-gravity devices, or something) will things change with the airlines.

  15. I personally see no disconnect between a pink ribbon on a S&W and the refusal to financially support abortions. I don’t carry a S&W, but if I did, I would use it only on someone actively and maliciously attempting to harm me or my loved ones. (OK, and poor, unsuspecting paper targets:) Abortion is just not such a clear cut issue.

  16. I hope to never again do business with Fidelity National Home Warranty. They are eager to take your money when you purchase their warranty, but they sure don’t like paying out your claims!

    Unrelatedly, I don’t consider myself a radical nationalist American, and I was born 18 years after America’s involvement in Vietnam ended, but I find Jane Fonda’s actions during the Vietnam War deplorable. I don’t see her movies, and I don’t (knowingly) buy things that I know will help her.

    • Bryan: You are wrong. Do you really think the Vietnam War was an honorable one? U.S. air and naval power vs. the mighty North Vietnam airforce and navy. The U.S. used South Vietnam and the North as a chemical laboratory and as an advanced-weapon testing site. I’m sorry, but the misinformed tend to try my patience. Instead of being so exercised about the ogre of “Hanoi Jane”, read, read, read. Best o’ luck to ye.

  17. I wish I could stop using Time Warner for internet. We don’t have cable. Their customer service is awful, and they raise their prices at the drop of a hat, it seems. We’ve tried one or two other competitors, but they aren’t any better.

  18. I whole-heartedly agree with BoA. Our mortgage was once with CountryWide and when they sold out to BoA, our mortgage went with them. It was the worst service I have ever received with a mortgage. All the way to the local office (actually, the local was worse than the 800 number). I would also add Chase to that list. I have a real problem with them and will soon rid my life of them forever.

  19. The privacy guard is a scary stuff. They might warrant a class action suit. More news on Susan Komen foundation, I found it a couple of months earlier on Huffington post hat they spend 90% of funds collected in fund raising efforts. amazing, isn’t it?

  20. Agreed. I boycott Victoria’s Secret. I used to have an Angel VIP card which I cancelled after a couple incidents. Their CS sucks!

  21. I won’t work with RBC, McDonalds, amongst others. RBC has the rudest staff and I don’t like McDonald’s ethics. I think we probably all have a black list if we think about it.

  22. I boycotted McDonald’s for a year and still only go when there is NO other option while traveling.
    I fell in one of their stores. The floor was wet and, while there was a sign, it was in the MIDDLE of the wet area. A customer helped me up and the only thing the employees kept asking me was “didn’t you see the sign?”. I told them I did but that didn’t make the floor dry! AFter months of delaying tactics and “review of the video”, I was denied my request for them to pay the doctor bill (84.00). So, for a lousy 84.00, they lost hundreds because I have three children and a husband and we all used to eat there! (And I still have a scar on my arm from hitting the Red Box machine as I fell).

  23. In addition to boycotting McDonalds, I am thinking of boycotting Great Clips. Novice hairdresser combed my earring right out of my ear! Problem is, we couldn’t find it on the floor. The employees were going to look for it but couldn’t find it. I’ve been calling their district manager (they won’t give me a national hq phone number), but have just been put off with “I’ll get back to you”. Two or three times over the course of this past year. Too bad for them because my sons and I all use their services. So, I figure they are going to lose about 500.00 from us this year.

  24. Haha…I was a BoA hipster as well; I kicked them to the curb years ago!

  25. I would add any credit card company to this list. I’m done with credit cards, as there are cash back debit cards out there that give you some pretty nice rewards.

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