15 Most Hated Companies in America – Yahoo Finance

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 15 most hated companies in America. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most hated companies in America.
In an ideal world, companies would be supported by the general population. After all, the economy of a country defines its standard of living, and the economy of a country is propped up by the major industries in the nation. And these industries are defined by the companies within each industry. After all, companies provide innovation, ideas and solutions that people need. If they didn’t, they would soon be out of business. They also provide employment to the working force of a country. So why is it that most people hate corporations?
Many corporations in the world, and especially the bigger ones, are disliked strongly by the general population because people believe that these companies exist for one purpose and one purpose alone: to maximize profits no matter what the cost. Even though these companies earn billions of dollars in profits each year, people believe that they do not contribute in any positive way and continue to cut costs in order to increase profit even more. This ends up benefiting only a select few such as the executives of the company and shareholders. Meanwhile, employees are sometimes overworked and underpaid, not to mention made to work in harsh conditions. Many people also hate corporations because they believe that such companies take from the country but do not provide much in return and so, they are actually a detriment.
You might think that this hatred would translate to a negative impact on the company’s financials and hence, its success but the discussion isn’t as straightforward as you might believe. Some of the most successful companies in the world are also among the most hated primarily because of their success, and yet they do genuinely make the life of customers easier. For example, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been derided time and again for its treatment of workers, and considering the fact that there are 1.5 million workers in the company, this is an important fact to consider. However, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has made the life of consumers really easy, providing instant delivery or next-day delivery in many cases while also providing the cheapest price possible for many products, excellent customer service and a great return policy. When the lives of people are made easier, they often compromise on their beliefs.
Another reason behind companies not suffering despite widespread hatred is because there aren’t many alternatives. Take the U.S. for example. While there are anti-trust laws established to ensure competition, and there are many examples of mergers not being allowed to avoid monopolies, with the attempted merger of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) being a recent example, there are effective monopolies in some industries which has led to them being the only possible solution, no matter how poor their customer service is or no matter how many outrageous fees they tack on. Some of these companies are part of the most hated countries in America and we will discuss them in greater detail later on.
It is interesting to note that just because a company is among our list of the most hated companies in America, it doesn’t mean that it’s universally hated. After all, maybe 10% of the population hates a specific company but maybe 30% of the population loves it. Since we’re only focusing on the former criteria, it would feature in our list even though more people love it than hate it and so, being in this list doesn’t mean that the company is doomed. Take Meta Platforms Inc. (META) for example. It is hated by a ton of people due to privacy concerns, data leaks and its influence on everyone, but it still has 2 billion active monthly users, and so, is nowhere near finished. Meanwhile, financial corporations such as The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) is hated by most of the public but the company mainly deals with other companies and wealthy clients so public perception doesn’t really hurt its bottom line. For companies which operate on a B2B model (business to business), public perception doesn’t matter as much as for B2C companies (business to consumer).
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there are no repercussions to a company if they fail the general public. Nowadays, profits and revenue alone aren’t sufficient to determine the success of the company: Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is just as important and is the biggest challenge for companies to overcome if they want to continue the level of success that they’ve enjoyed, or even increase it. According to PwC, itself one of the largest firms in the world, mentioned that social capital is incredibly relevant to the success of a business now. Social capital refers to the impact of the decisions taken by a business on people. According to PwC, it “describes the stocks of knowledge, skills, experience, health and wellbeing within people; as well as the stocks of relationships, institutions, shared values and norms that exist between people. Just like other forms of capital, social capital can be increased or decreased by the ‘flows’ of social capital – the social impacts – which result from business activity.” If a business operates properly with the general well-being of society being a primary focus, it will achieve success quickly. Of course, this always has to be balanced with revenue and profitability, but the point is that both need to go hand in hand for a business to be truly successful.
Speaking of audit firms, the audit industry has seen its fair share of criticism too, especially in recent year. There have been a series of high-profile failures in audit which has put the industry under scrutiny, with record fines administered to some audit firms which has resulted in the Financial Reporting Council in the United Kingdom to announce plans to overhaul corporate governance. Audit firms also see heavy workload with tight deadlines and often do not have adequate staff, resulting in high pressure for employees which in turn results in a high level of turnover, all of which are detrimental to the health of an employee as well as impacting their performance. This is a trend in audit firms throughout the world and audit firms, while taking steps in some countries, should ensure more global policies to create a proper work-life for employees.
You can also consider the pharmaceutical industry as an entire industry which is disliked by the general public. Conspiracy theorists have come up with the term “Big Pharma” which refers to major pharmaceutical organizations with conspiracy theories alleging that the executives of these companies collude to keep medical breakthroughs from reaching the public while also citing price hikes as a way for companies to make even higher profits at the expense of the health of the general public. This reputation has seen a massive improvement in recent years as these companies worked hard to come up with a vaccine for the worst pandemic in a century, helping to avert millions of deaths and tens of millions of serious illnesses across the world.
For our rankings of the most hated companies, we polled the rankings published by various other websites including 24/7 Wall Street, TheStreet.com, Bloomberg, Business Insider and Fast Company, giving precedence to companies which made multiple lists. Basically, our article reflects the approximate consensus opinion of the financial media. Some of these rankings are as old as 10 years as we intentionally picked rankings that span a long period of time. This way we are more likely to identify the companies that are consistently out of favor with the general public and the media. So now, let’s take a look at the most hated companies in the America, companies which need to work hard to regain public trust, starting with number 15:
American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) earned the ire of the general public when normal people lost their life savings and employment in the 2008 recession, while it was bailed out by the Federal Government to the tune of $180 billion and announced payments of $165 million in executive bonuses alone. In a display of rare unity, both Democrats and Republicans voiced their anger at this announcement by American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG), with even President Obama commenting on whether such a bonus was deserved at all.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world by revenue but has faced significant controversy regarding its operations. While Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) received praised in 1982 for a nationwide recall of Tylenol after some packages of the drug had been laced with cyanide, it has garnered significant criticism based on lawsuits that its baby powder causes ovarian cancer, with damages in billions of dollars being decided against the company.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Fox Corporation (NASDAQ:FOX) owns Fox News, which is the main basis for the hatred it receives. Fox Corporation (NASDAQ:FOX) is criticized for only providing views sympathetic to the Republican party, and the bias present in its coverage. We believe this is a brilliant business strategy as most of the media companies stand to the left of the political spectrum.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has been a people favorite for a long time, growing massively over a short period of time. However, hatred for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has started to increase mainly because of price increases and the company pledging to crack down on multiple people using the same account. We don’t think Netflix’s presence in our list of the most hated companies in the US points to a negative outcome for the company or its shareholders.
Number of times mentioned: 2
The ride-hailing company has over 122 million monthly users, but it has received criticism for its treatment of its drivers as gig workers. Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:UBER) is also disliked because of its disruption of the taxicab industry and contribution in traffic congestion. We don’t think UBER deserves to be one of the “most hated companies” as its services addressed a massive problem for consumers who have trouble hailing a cab and getting almost anything to be delivered to their doors. UBER will probably find itself a place in an extended version of our “most innovative companies” article.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is widely criticized for its monopoly in many areas where alternates aren’t present and the difficulty customers face if they want to cancel the service. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is also derided for extremely poor customer service. The Consumerist dubbed Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) the worst company in America in 2010 and 2014.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Our list could’ve consisted entirely of oil companies, considering how maligned they are in the eyes of the public but we settled for just two. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has been accused of being aware of the contribution of fossil fuels to climate change but provided false information to investors to prop up its share price. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) was also accused of hiring military units of the Indonesian National Army to provide protection to the company’s assets in the country, with these units being accused of human rights violations. Exxon Mobil is also still remembered because of the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster.
Overall, though, we don’t think XOM’s presence in the “most hated companies” lists affects its business materially as consumers don’t really prefer one oil company over another.
Number of times mentioned: 2
One of the largest banking institutions in America, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) was accused of misrepresenting its exposure to Enron after the collapse of the latter. Further, Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) paid $75 million in 2010 after charges were brought against the company stating that investors were misled with respect to potential losses arising from risky mortgages. Yes, we know, it is a tiny fine. Regulators fixed their mistake in 2014 as the bank agreed to pay $7 billion to resolve a Department of Justice investigation into its sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities leading up to the financial crisis.
In 2018, Citigroup also agreed to pay $1 billion to settle charges brought by the Department of Justice and the Federal Reserve that it had violated the Bank Secrecy Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by failing to properly monitor transactions that potentially violated U.S. sanctions.
Number of times mentioned: 2
BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP) is one of the biggest oil companies in the world, and in 2010, was responsible for the worst oil spill in global history in what is now known as the Deepwater Horizon Spill. While the spill ended up costing BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP) around $65 billion, this has led to the general public hating the company. The oil spill disaster affected BP’s business for a few years, but we don’t think it is material anymore.
Number of times mentioned: 2
Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is the largest private employer in the world with over 2 million employees, most of whom are being accused of being treated unfairly by the largest company in the world by revenue. Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is also disliked because in many places, it has swooped in and destroyed local businesses, leaving customers no other options. That’s a consequence of the success of its business model. Consumers love Walmart and prefer to shop there, just like they love Amazon.com (AMZN) even though Amazon drove several competitors out of business.
Click to continue reading and see the 5 most hated companies in America.
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Disclosure: None. 15 most hated companies in America is originally published at Insider Monkey.
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