This is Round 46 in our Worst Company in America contest, Blue Cross Blue Shield vs Sprint!
Here’s what readers said in previous rounds about why they hate these two companies…
“BCBS is just plain evil. They make a profit from deliberately denying service not based on your medical needs but on their bottom line. I personally have had nothing but trouble with them since the very first day I was “covered” by their organization.
BCBS is the best rationale I can think of for government run healthcare, and that’s saying a lot. “
“Blue Cross bid our contract for insurance assuring us that they would provide the exact same services, THEN turned around a year into the contract and denied claims we could take with our previous services.”
“Big Pharma, shame on you.”
“So I was just reading an email that I received from my insurance carrier (Aetna) about their delay in their ending coverage of monitored anesthesia for colonoscopies. They said because of misinformation given to the public from websites (like the consumerist I’d imagine) they delayed pulling the plug on covering anesthesia. They didn’t say they were abandoning their plans just yet just delaying them until they can strong arm their members into agreeing to stop using monitored anesthesia in favor of the cheaper sedation methods. I would guess most of the BCBS affiliates will do the same and drop their coverage of monitored anesthesia if they haven’t already.
As I get older, insurance companies make me very nervous and anxious. That’s a shame.”
“Did you know that if you lose your job and are told your coverage is “through the last day of the month,” so July 31 or whatever, that only means through midnight ON July 31? So nothing on July 31 is actually covered? Standard procedure for them.”
“As I’ve posted before, health insurance companies take 40-45% of every dollar WE give them and pocket it as pure profit. Consumers have GOT to wise up to what’s going on and demand their representatives do something about it NOW. Health insurance is something that should not be allowed to operate in a ‘free market’ fashion – health care is something that should be inviolate, highly ethically bound. MDs are supposed to abide by high high ethical standards, so should health insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and hospitals. This is a very fixable problem – one that the f$#@ing politician piece of feces are great at pointing OUT to us, but are useless in coming up with a viable solution. (like so many other failed governmental policies such as the ‘war on drugs’, the penal system, the social welfare system, etc.)”
“Blue Cross Blue Shield hands down. CNN can’t hold you hostage when your life hangs in the balance. And BC/BS was in it up to their eyeballs (late 1960s) when health insurers were theorizing how to convert their product from a function of the free market into a commoditized necessity shifting costs from what consumers were willing to pay in a competitive pricing environment to the five stage process of creating socialized healthcare which guarantees their profits. They suck beyond all comprehension. Further I cannot say without risking banishment.”
“Health insurance companies are murdering swine whose practice of denying services ultimately kills people.”
“Blue Cross Blue Shield just dropped my 85 year old grandparents with no warning. Oh yeah, my grandmother just was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Coincidence? What a bag of flaming @*&%#s!”
“Anthem BCBS turned me down for individual coverage because I had cancer six years ago, and take an anti-cancer med. They told me to feel free to reapply once I’ve been “sign, symptom and treatment-free” for 15 years. My oncologist says the anti-cancer med I take is considered “treatment.” So in order to get Anthem to cover me, I would have to go off the drug that keeps me from getting cancer…for 15 years.
Does that make sense to you?
My consolation in all of this is that I expect Anthem BXBS to be gone in 15 years. And I’ll still be here. “
“Any health company that tries to screw their own customers in a proactive way deserves to burn in hell.”
“My family has been with them for upwards of 10 years and CSRs treat us like garbage. Granted, we stick with them (it works for us), so some people will inevitably say “stop being part of the problem”, but really, they do need to improve customer service. The last few times I’ve called, I’ve spoken with people who barely, barely speak English.”
“A good friend of mine (a Sprint Customer) is from Kansas City, home of Sprint’s corporate headquarters. He tells me that when he drives by the corporate compound, he gets no cell phone reception, making the sprint office an invariable “dead zone” of cell service. What else could you ask for?”
“My friend has had Sprint for years and has gone through three different phones, all of which get poor signal and don’t receive some incoming calls.”
“Sprint is absolutely abysmal. After my friends dropped them, Sprint said they would be getting a $45 check from Sprint since they were canceling after a month to month. Sprint went ahead and billed them again for the next month and wanted $60. This is two months after he canceled service with them.”
“I made the mistake of signing up with Sprint several years ago, and immediately learned that Sprint has the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced anywhere. My bill was paid via auto debit, so from day one my history of bill payment was flawless. They thanked me by giving me too many bad billing and customer service experiences to describe here, but I can summarize it as a culture of meanness with customer service reps and store salespeople that seemed to be playing a game of “beat the customer.””
“Sprint had found numerous ways to screw me over when I was with them–up until they renewed my contract without my permission (which took away a discount I had with them for being military). Screw you Sprint, AT&T treats me far better than y’all ever did.”
“Every encounter I’ve had with Sprint Customer “Service” has been negative. Used them as a LD provider 20 years ago; gave up after three or four months of having them change access codes without warning. Tried again a few years later when I had a Sprint-USAA co-branded calling card. The one time I tried to get a question answered about a bill resulted in me cutting the card up and mailing it back. About 5 years ago, my kid purchased a Sprint cellphone plan, decided it wasn’t working as desired, and returned it within the 14 day grace period. Took two letters and a threat of small claims action to get the deposit refunded.
It’ll be a cold day in Hades before any telecomms service labeled “Sprint” is used in this household. “
“Sprint. I’ve actually been with Sprint for about six years, mainly because I get a discount on my bill as a perk of a job I had, well, about six years ago. The problems I’ve had with them have been pretty minor in the long run, but a real pain in the ass in the short run. For instance, they have a spending limit on your account; when you’ve exceeded your minutes and reach your spending limit, your service is disconnected. Without warning. This has happened to me at least twice, when I’ve been traveling and find myself in roaming areas for extensive periods of time. Even an automated text would be nice, Sprint!”
“Years ago – I think this was in the early 1990s, we had Sprint long distance. I called customer service because there were dozens of little $1 charges on there that I didn’t call. Now, some years before that (mid-80s)I and some friends of mine were teenage hackers who “bounced” through legitimate phone numbers, also no doubt leaving a little trail of $1 long distance bills, to eventually get to a point where you could make a long distance call and not pay for it. I doubt this can be done nowadays, but back then it could. So when these little fees to numbers of people I had never heard of showed up on my own bill, I knew exactly what it was. So I called customer service and complained someone was “bouncing” on through my account in this manner and the service rep told me there was no such thing as I was describing, and refused to credit my account – and his manager said the same thing. When this went on for 3 months, we canceled our long distance account with Spring, because every time I called I got the same idiotic answer – even after I explained to one manager, finally, how to do it! Clearly they were idiots then I don’t see that they’ve improved any since.”
“Until recently I had no problem with them. I’m in a rural area, and my reception is questionable sometimes, but so are all the other carriers here. Our network is still 1xRTT, but the only carrier who isn’t is Verizon, and they’re insanely expensive for the same plan. It’s irritating, especially since Sprint has promised us EVDO upgrades for two years now and has completely failed to deliver.
The straw, though, was that Sprint has been calling me over and over and over trying to sell me new phone/new contract. The people are nice enough about it, but I’ve asked them over and over to stop freakin’ bugging me to buy a new phone. I’ve told them I’m not getting a new phone until they go EVDO. They’re all very nice, all promise me I’ll never get another call, and I usually get another one in a week or two, lather, rinse, repeat. So that’s two things now that they’ve promised me that they can’t deliver on. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose they’re minor quibbles, but it all adds up to Sprint promises not being worth the time it took to get them. “
“I worked for Sprint, so I know how bad they really are. I quit after a year working for them. I was put on written warning for not hitting my quota of new sales. I guess all the customers that I saved for them that were spending hundreds of dollars a month just didn’t matter to them. Or the fact that in every other performance metric I scored in the top percent (customer satisfaction, accessory sales, upgrades, renewals, lowest number of cancellations, etc.). I was often sidled with doing the manager’s job because he would hide in the back room from irate customers or would leave early all the time. I’m good at diffusing situations and good at problem solving, so I would end up fixing mistakes made by other reps all the time. When they put me on written warning, I told them that they could put me on written warning all they want because I refuse to do anything that I find morally reprehensible (such as adding 3 lines to an old lady’s account when she’s on a fixed income, telling people they can’t keep their phone numbers when they upgrade so the have to add on another line to get a phone cheaper, etc.). The funniest part of all this is that after I left, they called me to offer me a job training their staff on customer service. Glad they see value in keeping their customers happy now(not!)!”
This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america
STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Bank of America vs Monster Cable, US Air vs Microsoft, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Home Depot vs Wellpoint, Wal-Mart vs Citibank, Capital One vs ATT, Sallie Mae vs eBay/Paypal, TransUnion vs Diebold, Best Buy vs CompUSA, DeBeers vs Verizon, Exxon vs United Airlines, Sony vs Ticketmaster, Comcast vs The American Arbitration Association