The objective of this study is to investigate the seismic performance of reinforced concrete columns constructed with low quality of concrete and insufficient transverse reinforcement before and after retrofitting. Totally twenty nearly full size specimens with rectangular cross-section were tested under constant axial load and reversed cyclic lateral loads. Both longitudinal and transverse reinforcements were plain bars. Ten of the specimens had insufficient lap splice length of longitudinal reinforcement between stories as well. Both pre-damaged and undamaged columns with these deficiencies were retrofitted with FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) composite jackets or prefabricated HPFRCC (high performance fiber reinforced cementitious composite) panels. The test results showed that all reference specimens, which were not retrofitted, failed with a premature loss of performance either due to buckling of longitudinal reinforcement or loss of bond, while retrofitted ones exhibited a significantly superior performance, particularly in terms of ductility. It should be noted that the enhancement in performance was less remarkable for the specimens with inadequate lap splice lengths. An analytical work is also presented for prediction of the behavior of the specimens both for continuous and lap spliced longitudinal reinforcement cases.