Blue Hippo Funding, the company that marketed overpriced computers to people with poor credit, may be gone but it's not forgotten.
In Pennsylvania, Attorney General Linda Kelly has secured a nearly $1.8 million settlement in her consumer protection lawsuit against the founder and owner of the Maryland-based company. The suit accused BlueHippo of preying on Pennsylvania consumers with poor credit.
Blue Hippo filed for bankruptcy in November 2009 and shortly thereafter began proceedings to dissolve the firm. It was sued by several states and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after consumers complained they made a number of payments but never received their merchandise.
"Blue Hippo allegedly used a national campaign of television and radio ads, telemarketing calls and Internet websites to lure consumers into purchasing computers, flat screen TVs and other electronic equipment," Kelly said. "In reality, the complaints we received indicated BlueHippo was little more than a sham enterprise that delivered few, if any, products to consumers."
Pennsylvania consumers who encountered problems with BlueHippo, but have not yet filed formal complaints, are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Kelly said that under the terms of the settlement, the company's owner will pay restitution in the amount of $200,000, which will be used to compensate.
Blue Hippo sold computers and big screen TVs on a layaway plan. Consumers, most of whom had little or no credit, were required to make to make weekly payments for several months before their received their merchandise. Generally, computers that might sell for $500 in a retail store would be listed at more than $2,000. Often, consumers would never receive what they paid for.
"While our Bureau of Consumer Protection has already received complaints from more than 300 consumers regarding BlueHippo, we believe that there are other potential victims who have not yet come forward," Kelly said.
Pennsylvania residents with problems or complaints involving BlueHippo should call the Attorney General's toll-free consumer protection hotline, at 1-800-441-2555.