Corporate Eye

10 Most Hated Companies in America for 2012 Revealed

jc penney may book coverThe 2012 list of the 10 most hated companies in America from 24/7 Wall St. includes some repeat offenders as well as some newcomers. Each of these companies successfully angered their customers, employees, and shareholders in comparison to similar companies and the broader market during 2012.

Suffice it to say, these companies have made some big mistakes. The question is whether or not they can fix those mistakes and get off of this list for 2013. Based on the success of companies like Netflix, which appeared on the 2011 list as the tenth most hated company in America but did not make the 2012 list, there is still hope for each of these companies. Whether or not they can regain the brand value that has been lost remains to be seen.

Other companies that managed to avoid this list in 2012 but appeared on it in 2011 include AT&T (#3 in 2011), Goldman Sachs (#5 in 2011), Best Buy (#6 in 2011), Bank of America (#7 in 2011), and Johnson & Johnson (#8 in 2011). Companies that were not able to redeem themselves and appear on the list again in 2012 include Facebook (#1 in 2011 and #4 in 2012), American Airlines (#2 in 2011 and #7 in 2012), Nokia (#4 in 2011 and #8 in 2012), and Sears Holding Corp. (#9 in 2011 and 2012). Newcomers include J.C. Penney (#1 in 2012), Dish Network Corp. (#2 in 2012), T-Mobile USA (#3 in 2012), Citigroup Inc. (#5 in 2012), Research in Motion Ltd. (#6 in 2012), and Hewlett-Packard (#10 in 2012).

Douglas A. McIntyre and Michael B. Sauter of 24/7 Wall St. explain some of the reasons why the companies on the 2012 list made it to the top 10:

1. J.C. Penney: Sales dropped by 20% after the new CEO, Ron Johnson, implemented a new store design and pricing policy. Sales are still declining, and J.C. Penney stock has dropped by 40% since Johnson took on his leadership role in November 2011.

2. Dish Network Corp.: Terrible customer service and low employee ratings about their experiences working for Dish Network Corp. were the primary reasons this company took the #2 position.

3. T-Mobile USA: Poor customer service and poor wireless service performance caused more than 1.5 million customers to leave T-Mobile USA in 2012.

4. Facebook Inc.: An IPO that will go down in history as a huge disappointment, falling stock prices, customer dissatisfaction, and customer privacy concerns caused Facebook to stay on the list of the 10 most hated companies in America for another year.

5. Citigroup Inc.: Massive layoffs of thousands of employees and poor relationships with customers caused Citigroup to lose 12% of its brand value in 2012 according to Interbrand and landed it on the list of most hated companies in America.

6. Research in Motion Ltd.: Once the smartphone leader, RIM’s market share has dropped to 7.3% in the United States and keeps going lower. Layoffs, disasterous product launches (and delays), and layoffs caused RIM to lose 20% of its share price in 2012 (80% in the last two years) and 39% of its brand value (according to Interbrand).

7. American Airlines: Bankruptcy filing, cutting financial obligations, failing to meet pilot demands, laying off a huge number of employees, and having the “rudest employees” all played a part in landing American Airlines on the list of the most hated companies in America again this year.

8. Nokia: Once the largest handset company, Nokia now trails its competitors like Apple and Samsung. As a result, the stock price was down 20% in 2012 and 60% over the past two years. Interbrand reports that the Nokia brand lost 16% of its value in 2012.

9. Sears Holding Corp.: Stock price has dropped by 60% during the past five years and the company keeps losing money while top competitors like Target and Walmart keep growing. Customers and employees are also dissatisfied with Sears.

10. Hewlett-Packard: Hewlett-Packard shares fell by 40% in the past year. The company continues to lose money and laid off nearly 30,000 people in 2012.

You can get all of the details about why these companies landed on the list of the top 10 most hated companies in America on 24/7 Wall St.

Which companies do you think can make a comeback, revitalize brand perceptions, and get off of the list in 2013? Which do you think are in serious trouble? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: J.C. Penney

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.