Round 28: Sprint vs Hewlett Packard

This is Round 28 in our Worst Company in America contest, Sprint vs Hewlett Packard. Vote which sucks more, inside…

Here’s what our readers said when they nominated these two companies:

“Thank God I got away…”
“always messes up my billing whenever I make any kind of adjustment to my plan. This usually takes months to fix and many calls to their CSRs.”
“have almost all of their customer service/tech support lines outsourced out of the U.S…often out of the hemisphere altogether.”
“(actually telling their customers to use a competitor!)”
“My drummer has Sprint and his phone is often screwed up, making scheduling rehearsals difficult. “
“service blows and they reupped my contract without asking. Where’s the class action lawsuit?”
“I successfully escaped about two years ago after being with them for over 10 years. I feel like a VIP with Verizon Wireless after Sprint’s horrible service.”

Hewlett Packard
“for moving tech support to India!”
“They will be rising to the top of the bottom very shortly.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield vs CNN
Gamestop vs Monster Cable,
Bank Of America vs Toys R’ Us
Toshiba vs Microsoft
US Airways vs Washington Mutual
American Airlines vs Blockbuster
Time Warner Cable vs Radioshack
Wellpoint vs Charter Cable
Dell vs Home Depot
Sears vs Citibank
Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx
Mattel vs ATT
Capital One vs Video Professor
eBay/Paypal vs COX
Apple vs SallieMae
Diebold Vs Pfizer
MTV vs TransUnion
CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers
Starbucks vs United Airlines
Exxon vs Crocs
Google Vs Sony
Ticketmaster vs Wachovia
Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association
Comcast vs Menu Foods


Edit Your Comment

  1. javi0084 says:

    Sprint hands down.

  2. Bladefist says:

    I own .0000000000001 % of HP, so I gotta go with sprint.

  3. AZTriGuy says:

    I’ve never had any problem with HP, to tell you the truth. The times I’ve had to deal with tech support have all been positive experiences. I have to go with Sprint here, used to live in Wake Forest NC where Sprint was the local phone company, and had a Sprint PCS phone that I hated. Couldn’t get out of that fast enough.

  4. Have had the good fortune to never deal with HP, though I have an HP printer (works fine).

    On the other hand, Sprint. 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.

  5. PunditGuy says:

    I’ve been with Sprint for more than 10 years. I’ve had a few problems, which were solved in a relatively short time. I’ve used my long tenure to get deals out of them, such as “new account” discount pricing plus a rebate (credited immediately, without sending in a rebate form) on a new Blackberry.

    Maybe I’m being too easy on them because I’m conditioned to expect some issues (relative to land lines) with cell phones. Is there a national carrier that’s really better?

    I ended up voting for HP, but I probably should have just abstained.

  6. ShortBus says:

    With Carly axed, the decision is a bit more difficult. But I still have to go with HP because they ruined the Compaq Proliant brand and they coasted on their reputation for indestructible LaserJets for far too long. Lexmark and numerous others are much better buys for corporate printing.

    As a side question: How long is this “contest” going to continue? At this rate, a winner won’t be declared until sometime in October.

  7. milesabove says:

    I’ve had problems with both companies. However, my vote must go for sprint. 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?

  8. Pro-Pain says:

    I had two bad experiences with HP. I would never buy a computer from them again. They NEVER followed through with their promises. I voted HP. Sprint has been good to me. I have good luck with Sprint CSR’s. I dunno…

  9. blackmage439 says:

    I chose HP. For one, I was never foolish enough to be drawn into Sprint’s clutches. Second, for the obvious reason that was omitted:

    They gouge on ink costs. Being the leading supplier of office printers in the nation, that’s a lot of gouging. Not to mention their computers are just ok (at least they brought Crapaq out of the dumps), and they load them up with useless bloatware. Say what you will about Dell; they’re definitely the company I have had to least rid of pre-installed crap/bloatware. I once worked on a Toshiba notebook that had both McAfee AND Norton per-installed… What. The. $%^&…

  10. Pro-Pain says:

    @ milesabove – I live in St. Louis and travel to KC for business all the time, that’s total BS about the “deadzone” around the Sprint compount, C’mon man…

  11. Buran says:

    @javi0084: Ditto. So what if HP can screw up making printers (their laserjets are about all that’s still good) and their calculators are a lot cheaper than they used to be, and sure, the tech support and their computers suck now, but … Sprint has SO much more potential for daily-life suckage.

  12. Buran says:

    @Pro-Pain: Also in STL and used to have Sprint (switched a long time ago though). They worked fine for me signalwise.

  13. I usually vote on the impact of the suckage. HP moved its call centers to India, but I think all of them probably have by now. It makes sense off-hours to have somebody for whom the sun is out when you call, so to the extent that it improves service at dark-thirty, I’m all for it. I had better be talking to someone within three time zones of me during the day. Otherwise, you suck, HP.

    Sprint probably sucks about the same amount as AT&T and Verizon. Put those three head to head to head, and the winner will probably get no more than 35% of the vote. AT&T sucks because they conveniently forget to stop debiting your credit card when you cancel service, which means I have to engage in guerrilla tactics to recover that which they stole from me. Verizon customer service consists mainly of a computer that you have to talk to as if you were talking to an autistic four year old. If Sprint exceeds that level of suckage, they deserve every bit of scorn and derision Consumerists can dish out.

    So who do I vote for? I probably need phone service more than I need my laptop to work, so Sprint gets my vote.

  14. Buran says:

    @milesabove: Could be the phone he has, too…

  15. Pro-Pain says:

    @Buran – Small world. I live in a valley in SoCo and I get one maybe two dropped calls a month where I can’t even get a signal here with AT&T or any other GSM network. Sprint has been great and my plan is dirt cheap. I really don’t understand all the negative fuss about Sprint.

  16. ShortBus says:


    Sprint has a reputation for having the most lenient credit requirements of the major carriers. This could be an indication that they have the mindset to nickle and dime customers with extra fees to make up for a higher rate of defaulted accounts.

    Or, it could also mean that they have more than their fair share of um… “less-sophisticated” customers who are more likely to get in trouble with their account, whine loudly, and disavow personal responsibility.

  17. falc says:

    we are talking about the same HP that sells replacement print cartridges for half the price of the printers!?! did you forget to mention/remember that bad deed? what was the cost of HP ink? somewhere in the thousands per gallon?!?

  18. Anticitizen says:

    I’d have to say Sprint. Sister’s on them, and it’s just ugh, ugh, ugh.

    HP, on the other hand, I like somewhat. I loved their laptops and I say if I had to pick a laptop OTHER than a MacBook, I’d go with an offering from HP/Compaq.

  19. jonathan. says:

    Wow @ all the Sprint hate in this thread. Sure, their customer service is close to useless, but it’s not all bad.

    I’m on the Sero plan and I have reception everywhere, even places I didn’t with T-Mobile. The internet is super fast, and I haven’t had to call customer service for anything so far. I guess YMMV.

  20. Demonbird says:

    Sprint. No doubt in my mind on this one. 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.

  21. T-Bone (KoKo the Monkey) says:

    @jonathan: agree completely. I have been with Sprint for 6 years now and never had a problem with coverage, customer service, or billing.

  22. bohn002 says:

    when do they end the voting/announce the results/update the competition ladder graphic?

  23. JustaConsumer says:

    Why is HP in the competition? Some very weird choices of matchups.

  24. Imakeholesinu says:

    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.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    It’s hard to keep track. Help, people!
    Is Sprint one of the telecoms that sold us out so that Washington bureaucrats could listen in on our calls?

    AT&T is the poster boy for that, and Qwest & Verizon told the lawbreakers to take a hike, but I’m unsure of Sprint.

  26. nyaz says:

    @Bladefist: Yay for us HP stock owners XD

  27. Fuzz says:

    Anyone ever tried getting a replacment install CD set from HP(since they don’t even include those with computers, CD’s costing nickels each, big expense). Its hell. I went through 2 months, wrong CD’s sent the first time, all 14, yes 14 CD’s! and the thing has a DVD drive! Try going through those 14 CD’s 3 times before you figure out it is the wrong set. That’ll get your blood boiling. Ordered again, and they delivered them. To someone else on the other side of the country. Ordered AGAIN and they never showed up. So the guy I was fixing the computer for said screw it and bought XP in a store. HP SUX.

  28. vw195 says:

    @Jonathan, @David–

    You are correct. Their CSRs are very poor. Thats why you always call retentions. Where else can I have 1000mins-4 lines/unlimited text on one line /unlimited data on another for the low, low price of $75 after tax.

    I love you Sprint!!!

  29. jeff303 says:

    @nyaz: My dad keeps getting his $0.17 dividend check from HP every year. sigh

  30. S-the-K says:

    So far, I haven’t had any significant issues with Sprint. (Knock on wood) I have the Sprint SERO plan and I don’t make a lot of changes or have excessive activity on my account.

    As for HP, we’ve had more hardware problems with our HP servers than our Dell servers. And if you make any modifications to a base machine, they send you the parts separately and you have to install them yourself. Dell will at least build-to-order.

  31. says:

    @Bladefist: lol

    i like my HP. no real problems here…i went with sprint

  32. dragonfire81 says:


    I worked for over a year as a Sprint CSR and can vouch that a vast majority of calls I took were from lower credit folks, so you’re dead on the money there.

    This is the match I’ve been waiting for, if I could vote for Sprint 1000 times I would because they suck beyond belief.

  33. rachaeljean says:

    Aw, I kind of <3 my HP printers! They are so cute and work just fine for longer than I want them too sometimes (hehe, I like upgrading every few years). Plus they sell ink at Costco… WIN!

    Spring = boo.

  34. uricmu says:

    It seems that cellphone companies always win over computer companies.

    HP has no customer service whatsoever, they follow a strategy of stopping support on products fairly fast (e.g., no drivers to Vista for popular printers) assuming that people will just buy new ones.

  35. Tom Servo says:

    I’m a Sprint customer and I’ve had good luck with them, even with their CSRs.

    I’ve had good experiences with HP products as well.

    My vote is for Sprint, though. The stories of customer service horrors has really made me think twice about my choice to go with Sprint.

    And yes, I went with Sprint before I came across “The Consumerist”

  36. mike says:

    Both are evil in my eyes.

    But HP is far more evil. Yes, their products are great. But you pay and arm and a leg for toner, not to mention all the waste that goes into them!

    Especially their laser printers!

  37. Bladefist says:

    @nyaz: its a great stock. mine almost doubled.

  38. 8abhive says:

    I just left Sprint yesterday but have to vote HP. Their support has become bad enough to drive my customers to tears. My personal favorite is their heavy push to sell extended service contracts, even to customers trying to get their computers back from the black hole in HP’s service dept.

    “Your current warranty expires next month which could mean your service won’t be covered.” Umm, say again? Playing the fear game? And should we pay for another year of sh*t service? I’ve heard the line from two of my customers with vanished computers so not likely it’s isolated.

    Whether fraud or just incredibly sleazy, it’s enough for my vote even before we get to the damage I’ve seen from their techs.

  39. darundal says:

    @falc: You think that is bad? I have to spend $20 on the only cartridge my printer needs for a printer that cost me $15 on Black Friday!

  40. homerjay says:

    Three years ago this month I had a battle royale with HP. In honor of that battle, I have voted HP.

  41. farker says:

    I’ve had Sprint for about the last 5 years or so.

    Had a little snafu last time I wanted to renew my contract, but a call to customer service resolved it quickly.

    Also, I recently tried to change part of my plan online (for texting) and it didn’t work right, so I got to talk to “Mary” (probably not that nice Indian lady’s real name) and it also was resolved right away.

    As for HP, I think I had one of their printers about 5 years ago, had Canons ever since though.

    Not heard much bad about HP other than a few friends having HP laptop hard drives suddenly fail. However that was a few years ago.

    I think Sprint has too many dead-beat customers (they also run the MVNO Boost, by the way, so what do you expect). People with shoddy credit tend to think the world is out to get them when they’re the ones who don’t seem to understand what 30% APR means.

    Both of these companies seem to have problems, but neither one seems terrible to me, so I’m abstaining from voting this go-around.

  42. Umisaurus says:

    Every HP product I’ve ever owned has broken within three months. In the repair process, they did some pretty egregious things as well. My friends with Sprint haven’t had any problems. I’m voting HP all the way.

  43. IrisMR says:

    Sprint… HP is just … well, being HP. They always stunk

  44. huadpe says:

    HP printers may be cheap ink-guzzlers, but they put out the only printers which consistently have working linux drivers. Probably because they want it to work with the .001% of computers running HP-UX (HP’s Unix for servers product)

  45. razremytuxbuddy says:

    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.”

  46. dragonfire81 says:


    As former CSR, I can tell you you’re about the “beat the customer” remark. It’s pretty much true from what I experienced.

  47. I don’t understand all the Sprint bashing, I mean sure they’ve probably done worse than HP but I don’t see how they’re any worse than T-Mobile, Verizon and especially AT&T.

    I like Sprint service, fast EVDO internet everywhere, decent reception (beats T-mobile) and very cheap monthly plans. (SERO baby)

    I’ve had my billing messups, but I never had to go through these wild chases that some people went through.

    I’ll abstain from the voting as well though.

  48. sporks says:

    HP all the way. Evil evil customer service I can’t even understand.
    Steals laptops for months at a time and magically “delays” them and doesn’t bother fixing them in the first place. And in my case, having it for a month, turning it on once (the day after it arrived) and just letting it chill in a storeroom for the time being.

    And there’s no warranty info anywhere it seems, so sending in something for repairs is like playing Russian Roulette with their repair service.

  49. technotica says:

    I agree Sprint CS is terrible, however they seem more ahead of the curve compared to other providers in our area.

    Data service is fast and easy to use.

    HP on the other hand, they sure know how to keep releasing crap product after crap product. (I miss the old HP battletank printers).

  50. Angryrider says:

    HP, my computer is still doing fine.

  51. FreeMarketGravy says:

    I had an HP computer that was a complete POS a few years ago and the one printer I had of theirs didn’t hold up so well either. That said, I’ve heard so many horror stories about Sprint that despite my never using them, I can’t vote against them.

  52. Snaptastic says:

    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.

    My HP printer, scanner and software never let me down (at least until age took their toll on them).

  53. nardo218 says:

    I like my HP. Why doesn’t like HP?

  54. mac-phisto says:

    i don’t buy consumer-class pc’s, but i’ve worked on a few, so i can understand the hate for hp. my only advice – buy business-class. hp’s business class pc’s are top-notch. & yes, their printers are expensive as hell (business lasers & such), but they are workhorses. i made the mistake of adding a few brothers to the mix at work – talk about a shitty printer that guzzles toner!

    sprint otoh…well, come on. have they gotten a customer bill right yet this year?

  55. jeffbone says:

    Sprint vs. HP? Not even close.

    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.

  56. theblackdog says:

    I own an HP computer that is still merrily running quite well after 6 years, so I can’t really vote for them.

    I don’t have Sprint either, so I guess I’ll sit this vote out.

  57. ViperBorg says:

    Sprint. ‘Nuff said.

  58. frank26080115 says:

    can somebody definitively explain what is morally objectable about moving tech support to india?

  59. FishtownYo says:

    Hey vote for Sprint, they really suck.

    I work for HP, they’re really a company that strives to do the right thing. Maybe it doesn’t always seem that way, but with any major corporation, shit happens. I’m not bullshitting either, if they really sucked I’d say it.

  60. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    1. Americans lose good jobs to people in India paid a fraction of what the Americans are paid & the Indians haven’t the faintest idea of how to solve the problem.
    2. The Indians can barely be understood & don’t understand us.
    3. The real reason that HP, Dell & AT&T have moved their tech support to India is that the Indians are so incompetent at their jobs that the buyers of those products won’t call for tech support anymore thus saving HP, Dell & AT&T an even bigger amount of money.
    4. Indians aren’t covered by US privacy laws.
    That means that your personal financial info could be stolen & you have no recourse to sue anyone!

  61. Feba says:

    HP, by far. I still have bad memories from a compaq laptop with horrible design flaws; but more than that, the seedy ways they try to squeeze money out of people (mainly, with their ink) are downright disgusting.

    I mean, making ink expire after such a date, whether it’s still good or not? Overcharging by an amount that makes gasoline look like tap water? It’s just horrible.

    Sprint, on the other hand, I’ve been with for years, and had no major problems. My phones have been longer lasting than most people I know, the customer service has been plenty good, and the service is reliable. It might just be because I’m in KC, near their main offices, though– and because I’ve never had to make any major changes to my plan that would lead to contract/policy hell, but overall I’ve been very happy with their service. My only complaint would be a small one; they are somewhat overpriced, but not terribly so.

  62. Zombilina says:

    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!

    And since I’ve had no problems with HP aside from those evil “paper jam” printer errors (thereisnoeffingpaperjam!), it’s Sprint all the way, baby.

  63. MissGayle says:

    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.

  64. failurate says:

    I refuse to vote on any of these. After seeing the results of Menu Foods Vs Comcast and Ticketmaster vs Wachovia, it’s pretty obvious that people value petty entertainment over being humane and ethical.

  65. dallasmay says:

    Yeah, I really don’t mind either one of the co’s. Don’t use either one, never have. But, being an Apple fanboy, I’ll choose HP.

    Sorry guys, have to stay loyal to the family.

  66. eblack says:

    Um…HP and Apple don’t really compete that much. HP tends to cater more to corporate IT and such.

    Voted Sprint, because honestly, HP hasn’t done much that I would really consider “evil.” If you have to call tech support in the first place I don’t feel much sympathy. Sprint took a company with in credible customer service (Nextel) and made it one of the worst in the country. Nice job.

  67. mavrc says:


    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.

  68. Ninjanice says:

    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!)!

  69. Lambasted says:

    HP makes exceptional printers. 9 years and still going strong on my laser printer. I wouldn’t buy any other brand. No way could I vote for them.

  70. cerbie says:

    HP is turning around after Firorina. Give ’em a chance.