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Posted: 1:40 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

The 19 most hated companies in America

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I love capitalism and free enterprise. There are so many innovators out there just trying to give best the service or product to a customer. But then there are also other organizations that don't do a good job at all!

The Atlantic has focused on that latter group with its list of the 19 most hated companies in America. It turns out much of the data is based on the monthly American Customer Satisfaction Index.

It's interesting to note that so many of the 19 are monopolies or regulated utilities. Companies like that don't have normal worries about the marketplace, or they are in an industry with limited competition and don't do a hot job as a result.

The worst company in America is Pepco, an electric service provider in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. I used to pay a monthly bill to them when I lived in Maryland.

Rounding out the Top 5 are Delta (No. 2), Time Warner Cable (No. 3), Comcast (No. 4) and Charter (No. 5). Note again that four of the first five worst companies face limited competition because they were granted monopolies.

Sitting right next door in the sixth, seventh and eighth spots are three airlines: US Air, United and American, respectively. (Not a single discount airline in sight on the list, but we do have four full-fare airlines in the top eight!)

As I said, with most everything else on the list, you have either utilities or monopolies -- with a few exceptions like banks. No surprise there!

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