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HP and Best Buy on Best, Worst Company Lists at the Same Time

| Monday March 29th, 2010 | 7 Comments

They were the worst of companies, they were the best of companies.

Hewlett Packard and Best Buy have managed to get themselves on at least two “top companies” lists at the same time. The problem is, the lists rate diametrically opposed qualities.

Both companies were “good” enough in 2009 to get on the Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list. And yet both were also “bad” enough to make it into the Consumerist’s 2010 Worst Company in America tournament.

HP was also number one on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s (CR) 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, an even more widely watched industry measure.

Cutting GHG emissions while ripping you off

The Ethisphere and CR use a number of sophisticated benchmarks, like greenhouse gas emissions reductions and fair global labor practices, to compile their lists of companies. As Triple Pundit reported last week, it is an open secret that companies tailor their ethical initiatives to the CR list to improve their ranking.

The Consumerist deals more with day-to-day behavior of companies in dealing with their customers. It cited HP for selling (along with Compaq) laptop batteries with a penchant for catching fire. Best Buy was nailed for its “optimization” service, which Consumerist called “a big stupid annoying waste of money.”

These two worlds — one, the realm of fair trade practices and complicated greenhouse gas accounting, the other that of basic customer service — can seem mutually exclusive. But they are actually closely tied to each other.

You again

The companies on these lists are almost all globally-recognized brand names. They spend billions of dollars each year to wiggle their way into our consciousness so that we’ll spend trillions on their products, and we do.

All of which means if your new computer catches fire and burns down your house, there’s a 1 in 3 chance it’s an HP model, all things being equal. This makes it easier to understand why the same company might want to preemptively burnish its image in other ways.

I do not mean to disparage the efforts made so far. The fact that these corporations are — at worst — merely gaming the requirements of these various ethics lists means they’re doing something, and something is better than nothing.

Put it this way: even if you knew the university you applied to got to the top of the US News & World Report’s list by playing to the rankings, you’d probably still go…right?

As for the “worst” rankings, who else are you going to buy your laptops from? Dell?


▼▼▼      7 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jen.boynton Jen Boynton

    Customers are a primary stakeholder for any company- and the fact that customer relations isn't included as a criteria in that Worlds Most Ethical list is just bizarre to me.

  • Rebecca

    I just bought a new energy star TV and a TV stand at Best Buy in Racine, WI. Best Buy put my purchases on a shuttle and shipped them to Illinois so that a company in Illinois could ship them back to me in Racine. I doubt anyone is coming to a Best Buy from the Chicago area so this wastes a lot of carbon to ship some product from a local store, to a non-local shipping company, to the local buyers. Best Buy has undertaken a lot of great green initiatives lately but they really messed up on this one.

    • nickaster

      That sounds pretty bizarre. Why did they do that?

      • Rebecca

        Apparently the Racine Best Buy has contracted a company in Illinois to do all deliveries. My best guess is that they contracted it out for financial reasons. Given the high unemployment in Racine, I find it hard to believe Best Buy can't set up shipping within Racine for a reasonable price.

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  • HP Are No Good

    HP is the worst company ever!!!
    I bought a HP laptop in December for my mother for Christmas and 2 days later it broke down.
    Under HP warranty, I called for repair but they had pretended to come and collect it from my home on several occassions. After making complaints to HP, they eventually bothered to turn up. Now it's almost May 2010 and I still have not seen the laptop. No customer service team but people greeting you good evening when its more like good morning!!
    Absolutely useless!! I have taken it to BBC Watchdog, Consumer Rights and looking into taking them to court. Thanks for nothing HP!! HP sucks!! AND the laptops are unreliable… check for yourselves on google there are millions more like me!!

  • HP Are No Good

    HP is the worst company ever!!!
    I bought a HP laptop in December for my mother for Christmas and 2 days later it broke down.
    Under HP warranty, I called for repair but they had pretended to come and collect it from my home on several occassions. After making complaints to HP, they eventually bothered to turn up. Now it's almost May 2010 and I still have not seen the laptop. No customer service team but people greeting you good evening when its more like good morning!!
    Absolutely useless!! I have taken it to BBC Watchdog, Consumer Rights and looking into taking them to court. Thanks for nothing HP!! HP sucks!! AND the laptops are unreliable… check for yourselves on google there are millions more like me!!

  • bj

    Hp has the worst sevice ever.I sufferred 2 of their laptops and 2 of their printers.Theirs customer care is the worst.Rude and unhelpful!

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