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These failed merger partners also flunk with customers

If Comcast's (CMCSA) deal for Time Warner Cable (TWC) had gone through, it would have brought together two companies with one striking similarity, according to recent surveys: Both are loathed by their customers.

A survey released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found the two largest U.S. providers of cable and broadband were rivals for the bottom rungs in terms of customer satisfaction.

"There was a time when pay TV could get away with discontented users without being penalized by revenue losses from defecting customers, but those days are over," Claes Fornell, chairman and founder of the ACSI, said in a statement. "Today people have more alternatives than ever before...lower satisfaction could mean even more cord cutting by subscribers ahead."

Comcast, the nation's biggest cable provider, got a score of 54 out of 100 for cable service, declining from 60 in 2014.

Time Warner, the country's second-largest cable company, which Comcast recently attempted to purchase, drew even more consumer disdain, getting a score of 51, a fall of nine points from last year and placing at the bottom in the rankings involving 300 companies in the annual poll of 70,000 people.

The results follow another survey released Friday by Consumer Reports, which found Time Warner and Comcast to be especially inept at keeping customers content.

Comcast's attempt to purchase Time Warner unraveled last month amid scrutiny from regulators, who voiced concerns over whether consumers would be worse off as a result of diminished competition.

Charter Communications, which is now trying to acquire Time Warner in addition to Bright House Networks, increased in the ACSI's ranking, going to 63 from 58.

Mergers typically don't lead to happier customers, at least in the short term, the ACSI said.

"Cable companies are trying to strengthen their positions through consolidation, but the benefits to consumers of one coaxial cable company absorbing another are questionable," David VanAmburg, the group's director, stated.