Blue Hippo is one of those “no credit check” computer-buying companies. The basic idea is that you start making payments to Blue Hippo in order to “establish your credit history,” then, after 9 weeks, they send you a computer. You continue to make payments on the computer for a year, after which it is yours.
Sounds shady to begin with, but it gets worse. Blue Hippo was sued by the Maryland Attorney General for “unfair and deceptive trade practices by selling computers, televisions, and other goods to consumers for two or more times their retail price, and then placing undisclosed conditions on delivery of the items that prevented many consumers from ever receiving their purchased items.”
Delightful! In a settlement with the Maryland Attorney General, Blue Hippo agreed to pay restitution to the customers they’d scammed, as well as change their practices and pay $300,000 to the state of Maryland. More lawsuits are pending in West Virginia and Illinois.
Here are some of Blue Hippo’s unfair business practices, according to the Maryland Attorney General:
- Promised customers that they would receive their computers “right away,” but didn’t send them within the specified time frame.
- 2/3 of Blue Hippo’s Maryland customers didn’t receive a computer at all.
- When customers complained about not receiving their computers, Blue Hippo refused to refund their payments.
- Blue Hippo illegally debited money from customer’s accounts, hid important contract terms, charged illegal late fees, misled customers about discounts and rebates, failed to disclose conditions related to gifts and promotional items; misrepresented the type of credit being offered to consumers; and failed to disclose important loan terms.
Blue Hippo denies wrongdoing.