TIME Consumers

Everybody Hates Time Warner Cable and Comcast

Hate your television or Internet provider? You’re far from alone: Time Warner Cable and Comcast earned bottom-of-the-barrel scores in a consumer satisfaction survey published Tuesday.

Subscription TV-wise, Time Warner Cable scored the lowest of the companies included in the report, with a 56 (a 7% decline from last year’s report). Comcast came in second to last, at 60 (a 5% decline from last year’s report). In terms of Internet service, TWC got a 54 (a 14% decline from last year’s report) while Comcast earned a 57 (an 8% decline from last year’s report).

The numbers come by way of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)’s 2014 Telecommunications and Information Report, a survey of 70,000 customers about their satisfaction levels with commonly used products and services. The results span 230 companies across 43 industries.

DirecTV, AT&T, Verizon (FiOS) and Dish scored highest for TV providers, with their scores tightly bunched at between 67 and 69. FiOS ran away with the Internet crown: it scored a 71, with AT&T’s U-verse service and CenturyLink both a distant second at 65. If we’re talking grades in a school setting, we’re still in D+/C- range for all of these, so let’s not get too excited just yet.

So why are people so down on Comcast and Time Warner Cable? According to the report:

High prices, poor reliability, and declining customer service are to blame for low customer satisfaction with pay TV services. The cost of subscription TV has been rising 6% per year on average—four times the rate of inflation. But now, dissatisfied pay TV customers have more alternatives than ever before. The rise of streaming video from companies like Netflix and Amazon, combined with pay TV’s deteriorating service quality and higher prices, has led to the first-ever net loss of television service subscribers for a full year in 2013.

Among the largest subscription TV providers, the customer satisfaction decline is broad and pronounced—every company experiences a drop between 3% and 7%. Still, customer satisfaction varies greatly depending on the type of service. Fiber optic and satellite providers typically beat the industry average and perform much better than cable companies.

People are also generally pretty happy with TV sets (and accompanying video players), credit unions and soft drinks – which scored 85, 85 and 84 out of 100, respectively.

You can download the full report here, though you’ll need to register first.

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