~ Computer financing company under investigation for alleged deceptive
TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a consumer advisory cautioning Floridians about a financial services company that offers computers, electronics and other merchandise via a layaway and financing plan aimed at low-income consumers and those with poor credit ratings. The Attorney General’s Office is investigating BlueHippo Funding, LLC, for potentially deceptive advertising related to the sale of computers, examining allegations that the company fails to disclose the true cost of computers, often fails to send computers to its customers, and substantially overcharges for its computers.
BlueHippo is a Maryland-based company that advertises nationally through television, direct mail and the internet. The company frequently promises consumers free televisions, printers or other home computer and electronics merchandise in addition to what seem to be affordable financing offers for well-known brand name computers and other electronic equipment.
The computers are generally low-end models and many consumers allege that due to BlueHippo’s financing payment schedule, they generally pay up to four times more than the computer would actually cost had they bought it in-store.
The company advises consumers that they may cancel their contract at any time within the initial nine-week deposit payment period. However, company policy does not allow for refunds and instead gives customers “credit” to purchase products available on the company’s website. The Attorney General’s Office has received more than 50 complaints from Floridians about their experiences with the company. One Gainesville man contacted the Attorney General’s Citizen Services Division after paying several hundred dollars for a home computer system and never receiving his merchandise. He also related that several calls to the company’s customer service center were fruitless.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus released a similar consumer warning earlier this summer stating that the Better Business System has logged more than 1,400 complaints from all 50 states against BlueHippo in the past three years. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also reports that it has accumulated 8,000 pages of consumer complaints about BlueHippo. The company has conducted business with more than 3,500 Florida consumers since the year 2003.
Consumers who believe they may have been victimized by potentially deceptive or unfair practices by the company should contact the Attorney General’s Office. Complaints can be filed by calling 1-866-966-7226 or by visiting the Attorney General’s website at http://www.myfloridalegal.com.