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"What's that stench? It's fantastic."
Only the Grinch could love the dreadful customer service, sexist CEOs, and concealed safety issues that were served up by the most-hated companies of 2014.
Here's a list of five firms that "stink, stank, stunk" this year...
5 Most-Hated Companies of 2014
No. 1: American Apparel Inc. (NYSEMKT: APP)
The fashion brand has logged $300 million in losses since 2010. APP stock lost half its value this year, from Jan. 2, 2014 ($1.14 per share) to March 28 ($0.47 per share). It has slightly rebounded since, and will finish the year down roughly 12%.
In 2005, two former employees filed harassment lawsuits against (now former - keep reading) American Apparel Chief Executive Officer Dov Charney. They claimed Charney conducted job interviews in his underwear, hired women based on his sexual interests, and made crude gestures in the office. The cases were settled out of court, but Charney's behavior never stopped.
In 2011, former employee Irene Morales sued Charney for $250 million. She claimed Charney sexually harassed her as a minor. Charney said in a deposition on the matter, "There's some of us that love sluts. It could also be an endearing term." That year, four more women filed piggyback lawsuits on Morales' claims.
On June 18, 2014, the APP board suspended Charney, in part based on new arbitration information from the Morales case.
"We have heard for years allegations and rumors in newspaper stories that were not sufficient to take action," said new co-chairman Allan Mayer. "But what came to our attention was not allegations and rumors but established fact."
Charney's bad behavior strained the company's finances - the other factor that played into his ultimate dismissal on Dec. 16.
No. 2: Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA)
Comcast has made lists of most-hated companies since...well, we got to 2007 and stopped looking. All the lists cite exorbitant costs, the intentional stunting of Web speeds, and horrendous customer service as Comcast's top offenses.
But this year, the largest broadcasting and cable company in the world (by revenue) truly outdid itself...
We present to you this July customer service call that's the stuff of legends:
No. 3: Uber
Five years ago, Uber was just an app that allowed customers to summon a private cab with a few taps on their smartphones.
As of December 2014, Uber's value reached $40 billion. The service is available in roughly 64% of the United States.
"At this valuation, investors appear to be thinking that when Uber goes public, it might be worth $80 billion to $100 billion," CB Insights' Chief Executive Officer Anand Sanwal told Bloomberg. "This type of mega-financing affords Uber a great deal of flexibility in terms of when they might go public."
But perhaps Uber has grown too fast...
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