Companies we love in 8 industries we hate

A trip to the bank doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are the customer service winners in eight industries that customers hate, from airlines to cable companies.

2. TV subscription provider

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    In this February 2011 file photo, three Dish Network satellite dishes, are displayed on an apartment house, in Palo Alto, Calif. TV subscriptions are among American consumers' most-loathed industries, but satellite providers tend to fare slightly better than cable in terms of customer service.
    Paul Skauma/AP/File
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Winner:  DISH, Cox Communications

I have only screamed at someone over the phone once in my entire life. It was at an unlucky phone operator from my former cable company, which kept calling me with overdue bill reminders a full year after I had transferred my service and moved cities. The issue was finally resolved, but the mere sight of that company's logo still makes me irretrievably grumpy.

I'm not alone, either. TV subscription providers are among the most loathed companies around – the industry was the second lowest-rated by ACSI for 2012, scoring a 66 out of a possible 100 for consumer satisfaction (two points higher than the newspaper industry, and lower than that of the Federal Government). Part of the problem is that these companies have little incentive to change their ways – local TV markets are generally dominated by a single provider, so there is virtually no competition and no choice for consumers. According to the FCC, 2 percent of cable customers have a choice of providers. For most of us, it's one cable company, one satellite provider, or nothing.

Still, satellite providers have a definite edge over cable in customer satisfaction, with DirectTV nabbing the top J.D. Power ranking in most regions of the United States. DISH Network also ranked consistently high, scoring at least a 4 out of or higher in all regions except the South and earning the second-highest ACSI score among TV subscription providers for 2012 (Verizon FiOS was first). DISH also trounced DirecTV with the Better Business Bureau, with an A-minus grade to DirectTV’s D-plus. On the cable front, Cox fared the best, garnering a perfect 5 in 5 in regions where offered (and an A-plus with BBB).

Sources: J.D. Power and Associates, Bloomberg Businessweek, Better Business Bureau

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