Better Business Bureau | Greater MD alerts consumers of a pending settlement of up to five million dollars between Blue Hippo and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Blue Hippo offers financial payment plans to customers with below average credit scores who purchase personal computers from the company. Complaints made by consumers to BBB | Greater MD include, but are not limited to, such concerns as delivery issues, refund and exchange issues, and contract issues. Details of the company’s unsatisfactory BBB report are publicly available at www.bbb.org.
According to the FTC, consumers entitled to money from the settlement must have entered into a contract with Blue Hippo before March 2006. The distribution of settlement funds will be made to those consumers who made payments to Blue Hippo, but did not receive any products whatsoever, refunds or other restitutions from the company. Blue Hippo is providing the FTC with a complete list of those consumers who qualify for settlement funds. The FTC will contact consumers directly.
The charges against Blue Hippo by the FTC include allegedly violating regulations such as the Truth and Lending Act (TILA) and the FTC Act by not clearly stating details of their refund policy. As customers would later learn, the policy provides no opportunity for a refund. With the settlement, Blue Hippo will be required to provide written disclosures of their refund policies to future customers.
Even despite past government actions, Blue Hippo has continued to attract consumers. Within the last 36 months, BBB | Greater MD processed 1,871 complaints and 20, 379 inquiries related to the company. Blue Hippo also topped the list of 25 companies with the highest number of complaints filed with BBB | Greater MD in 2007.
“I believe Better Business Bureau spear-headed (Blue Hippo) to hurry up and get my products to me,” says Joan Murphy, a consumer who signed into contract with Blue Hippo in 2005. After filing her complaint with BBB | Greater MD, Joan says she received her television “in no time.”
Angie Barnett, president & CEO, BBB | Greater MD, reminds consumers to do their homework, check www.bbb.org for objective information about customer experience, and shop around for the best possible deal when considering a large purchase. “Always be aware of your legal rights when it comes to refunds and warranties and make sure to get everything in writing before signing into a contract.” If a company offers store credit in the event you return your purchase, make sure you know the extent of their inventory. “That way, you can be more confident you will be able to find a product you like,” says Barnett.