Bank of America in the running for Worst Company in America 2012

Bank of America advanced to the Sweet 16 bracket of companies nominated by voters at consumerist.com to win the title, "Worst Company in America."

Consumerist.com has held the "Worst Company in America" competition seven years now. The tournament begins with 32 companies and whittles down to the "Sweet 16." Bank of America ha earned 83 percent of consumer votes against rival Chase Bank.

Last year, Bank of America was the Grand Champion runner-up for the worst company title. Other companies on the list that have advanced to the Sweet 16 round include Best Buy, Electronic Arts, and Spirit Airlines. Consumerist.com describes Spirit airlines as "newcomer." Spirit advanced in the tournament over Delta, one of the world's largest airlines and a "veteran contender" in the race for Worst Company in America.

In the matchup between EA and Sony, consumers made it clear they were tired of playing games with EA's increasing amount of add-on content not included in games and the company's exclusive deal with the NFL. With the help of these less than popular policies, EA made a strong first showing in the competition, earning 80 percent of reader votes to beat out Sony. Worst Company in America bracket veteran Best Buy also started strong in the first round against fellow retail behemoth Target. Best Buy racked up 86 percent of the votes against Target, but only time will tell if the company is able to turn this early lead into a victory against EA in the Sweet 16 round.

"Perennial bracket juggernauts like Walmart, Comcast and Ticketmaster keep finding new ways to irk consumers and maintain their status as 'the companies to beat' in this competition," said Chris Morran, Deputy Editor of Consumerist.com. "We're curious to see how far Bank of America's new debit card and checking account fees will take them and if a dark-horse like Facebook, with its slew of user privacy issues, might make a surprise run at the Championship."

The companies in the Sweet 16 round were nominated and voted on by Consumerist.com readers and will go head-to-head on the Consumerist.com website in a bracket-style, single elimination tournament, similar to the NCAA basketball tournament. Each week, Consumerist.com visitors' votes will scale down the brackets until the final round on April 2, after which a Grand Champion will be named. Consumers can visit Consumerist.com today to cast their vote for the first bout in the Sweet 16 round between Best Buy and EA at 12 p.m. ET

Throughout the next two weeks, consumers will see Bank of America, GameStop, Apple and AT&T, among others, fight for the glory of the following round – the Elite Eight – which kicks off on March 27.

Consumers can check back regularly at Consumerist.com for updated brackets and voting opportunities throughout the month of March and April. The 2012 Grand Champion in Consumerist.com's "Worst Company in America" will receive the prestigious Golden Poo Award, a golden statuette modeled after a pile of poo.

Upcoming elimination dates:

March 27 – Elite 8
March 29 – Final Four
April 2 – Championship Battle
April 4 – 2012 "Worst Company In America' Grand Champion Announcement

Click here for a direct link to bracket.

Consumerist.com (The Consumerist) empowers consumers with entertaining and informative issues of the day. Consumer.com is a leading online resource for consumer-driven advice.