America's most hated companies

Last Updated Feb 1, 2018 3:15 PM EST

Corporate America as a whole is blamed for all sorts of societal ills, from greed on Wall Street to shafting the little guy. But people's scorn can intensify when it comes to individual companies and other organizations, especially after inadvertent missteps or, worse, outright misconduct.

Here's a quick rundown of the 20 most hated U.S. companies, according to 24/7 Wall St., which took customer surveys, employee reviews and news events into account in devising its list:

20. The Weinstein Company. The ouster of co-founder Harvey Weinstein following multiple accounts of sexual abuse hasn't lessened public outrage at the one-time darling of independent film.

19. United Airlines. The Chicago-based carrier is still in the dog house with customers after a video of a passenger being forcibly removed from his seat on an overbooked flight went viral last year.

18. Facebook. The social-media platform's role in the 2016 presidential election has been the subject of much debate, with Facebook hit for being a medium for deceptive ads and fake news.

17. CenturyLink. The telecom, one of the nation's biggest internet and telephone service providers, reportedly gets poor reviews from customers and employees alike.

16. Monsanto. Over the past century, the chemical company has drawn public ire at a lengthy list of harmful products, including DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange. Most recently, it's accused of causing cancer in hundreds exposed to its weed killer, Roundup.

15. Comcast. In a arena known for dissatisfied customers, the provider of internet, TV and phone service fares even worse than its competition in customer satisfaction surveys. Not helping matters, Comcast in 2016 paid $2.3 million to settle claims it charged customers for unauthorized services and equipment.

14. Uber. The ride-sharing app had a difficult time in 2017. Hit by complaints of sexual harassment at the company and a video of its then-CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver, the company last year faced a slew of lawsuit and saw 13 executives resign, including Kalanick.

13. Sears Holdings. The retailer, described in 24/7's ranking as plagued by unhappy customers and employees, plans to shutter more than 100 additional stores through the spring of 2018, with the count of Sears and Kmart stores already down to under 1,300 from 3,467 in 2007.

12. Trump Organization. At this point in time, Donald Trump is the least popular president in U.S. history, with a 35 percent approval rating at the end of December. That disapproval extends to the Trump brand, which includes golf courses, a hotel chain and real estate holdings around the globe.

11. Wells Fargo. The bank's ongoing public relations nightmare began in 2016 with the disclosure that its employees created millions of phony accounts on behalf of unknowing customers, and continued with news last year that Wells Fargo charged late fees on mortgage payments when the bank was to blame, not its customers.

10. Cigna. The insurance industry is not exactly beloved, and allegations of fraud have not helped Cigna's case. Multiple lawsuits allege the company inflated medical costs and overcharged customers.

9. Spirit Airlines. The carrier's no-frills, inexpensive flights come with a cost: low customer satisfaction.

8. Vice Media. The media organization has lately been roiled by allegations of systemic sexual harassment, dating back to 2003. 

7. Sprint. The telecom gets knocked for poor customer experiences that could in part be due to service, with Sprint getting low grades for speed and data, as well as calling, texting and overall reliability.

6. Foxconn Technology Group. Many may not know the name, but the company makes and assembles consumer electronics for entities including Apple and Nintendo. It's also caught attention for poor working and living conditions after a series of employee suicides at a compound in China. It recently drew negative press for a planned complex in Wisconsin.

5. Electronic Arts. The video-game maker known for its successful franchises is also viewed poorly by gamers for buying smaller studios or operations for a specific game and then taking away its originality.

4. University of Phoenix. Possibly the country's best-known for-profit college, its parent company, the Apollo Group, has been the focus of federal and state probes alleging it used deceptive practices to recruit students.

3. NFL. The National Football League took more than two decades to acknowledge the long-term impact of head injuries on its players. And while football remains a popular sport, the NFL's viewership fell last year, in part due to controversy over some of its players kneeling during the national anthem to protect racial inequality.

2. Fox Entertainment Group. The parent company of Fox News Channel, the network has a strong right-wing slant. And, while one of the most popular cable channels in the country, it's also one of the most divisive. Fox has also settled multiple sexual harassment claims regarding one of its anchors and the late Fox News CEO and founder Roger Ailes.

1. Equifax. The consumer credit reporting was hit by a massive hack last year, exposing the personal data of more than 145 million Americans and putting them at risk of identity theft. Arguably worse, the company sat on the information for a month before letting the public know.