Time Warner is still beating Comcast—if by "beating" we mean coming in first in "least popular company" surveys. The University of Michigan's American Consumer Satisfaction Index is out, and Time Warner Cable's ISP ranks dead last on a list of 230 household brands, scoring 54 out of a possible 100, MarketWatch reports. TWC's TV service didn't fare much better with its score of 56, while Comcast's ISP and United Airlines tailed those two with a not-stellar 57 and 60, respectively. Walmart earned dubious honors as the most unpopular retailer with a score of 71. And lest doubters think the index is based on a casual, man-on-the-street sort of gauge: Scores are compiled using 70,000 interviews, as well as a consumer satisfaction score, 10 economic-sector scores, 43 industry scores, more than 230 company scores, and more than 200 government scores.
Some companies such as Apple (which came in with a score of 79) engage in their own iffy practices—MarketWatch mentions a charge regarding health and safety issues and human rights violations against Apple—but seem to get relatively OK scores on the index because of their "cultlike following." With a retailer like Walmart, meanwhile, consumers can't seem to overlook slower service times and longer waits in exchange for lower prices. In the case of this year's index "winner," the vilification of cable companies has apparently compounded as rates continue to rise and mega-mergers such as the one planned with Comcast threaten to knock out the competition—or, as Gizmodo writer Mario Aguilar puts it, "They want to Voltron into Sauron" to grace us with a "single mammoth company to hate." (Read more Time Warner Cable stories.)