Buyer Beware

It's estimated that a company called Blue Hippo has sold computers to nearly 100,000 people in the southeast region. That same company was also called the "stupid investment of the week" by CBS Marketwatch.

When you see the Blue Hippo on your TV screen, Panama City attorney Wes Pittman says buyers should beware.

Wes says, "Blue Hippo calls itself a specialty company, but what it really does is sell computers."

Pittman is representing three of Blue Hippo's customers in a class action lawsuit against the Maryland based company and its CEO, Joe Rensin.

The suit alleges that Blue Hippo targets consumers age 25 to 40 and low income and minority consumers with bad credit or none at all. They use illegal sales tactics which violates a Florida law that prohibits deceptive business practices.

A Blue Hippo commercial states: "I don't know why anyone wouldn't take advantage of this. It's a great offer."

These adds are frequently run on late night cable TV, radio, and BET, a network aimed at African-Americans.

"They advertise to them in such a way to make them believe that they are going to increase their credit."

But Pittman says the exact opposite happens.

"Blue Hippo calls them, they asked them if the have an open bank account and if they don't the conversation's over. Blue Hippo then gets their permission to debit the account for $99 then 35 bucks a week or bi-weekly. What they don't tell them is how many payments they are going to make or how much the computer will cost."

"In some cases, people paid $2,200 for a computer that would normally go for $500.

"Then when the computer comes, it may not be the same thing that they'd been promised over the telephone."

The class action suit was filed Thursday in Wakulla County. Pittman says his clients just want their money back. Blue Hippo is currently under investigation by the Florida attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission.


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