Blue Hippo computers – The Truth
I listen to the radio in my car while traveling, and it seems like almost every commercial break contains a Blue Hippo computers commercial. I am sure you’ve heard them, Blue Hippo promises a desktop or laptop with no credit check and they even throw in a free digital camera and color printer. If you have bad credit this sounds like an awesome deal right? I decided to do a little research into this offer, after all if it sounds too good to be true it probably is right?
Blue Hippo computers – The Math
This is straight from the Blue Hippo site:
Unlike other financial companies, BlueHippo® doesn’t check your credit and measure you based on some score. Since we don’t check your credit, we do ask that you build a credit history with us by paying a $99.00 initial fee, followed by 52 weeks of consecutive layaway payments of $39.99. After 13 weeks we can then offer to finance the balance of your purchase price, order your computer, and have it shipped directly to your home via UPS or FedEx. It’s that simple!
After reading this, my first question was “So how much do you pay for the laptop?”. Based on the above, assuming you use their layaway program, you’ll pay $99 + (39.99 * 52 weeks) = $2178.48. I’ve read that the $39.99 is for the desktop and that the laptop is actually $49.99 for 52 weeks making the laptop $2599.48.
At the very top of the Blue Hippo website, they advertise brand new Dell computers and brag about the following specifications for their laptop:
- Intel Celeron Processor 440
- 1GB Memory
- 60GB Hard Drive
- 8x DVD-RW Combo drive
- 15.4 inch WXVGA LCD screen
A quick trip to Dell.com didn’t yield a computer with these specs, as a matter of fact, Dell’s lowest priced laptop with that size screen is $599.99. At that price you get a faster processor and double the hard drive space.
But you get a free digital camera and printer right? I was unable to find the specs on the “free” camera or printer, but I can’t image that would cost more than $200 – $300. Given that you could buy your own laptop, camera, and printer for a total of about $900.00, a total savings of $1700.00.
Note, none of this factors in the interest charged after 13 weeks if you decide to finance your purchase. My efforts to determine the interest rate used turned up nothing, but I can only imagine they are outrageous.
The free items are not delivered until after the computer is fully paid off. I also read the Blue Hippo sets up an auto draft to deduct the money directly from your checking account each month. They are easy to call to set-up the plan, but read horror story after horror story about their lack of customer service and difficulty to reach after setting up the initial deal.
Blue Hippo Reputation
A quick Google search on Blue Hippo will flood your screen with bad reports from consumer affairs, the better business bureau reports and unsatisfactory rating and numerous complaints. I read stories of customers not receiving their computers. Of those that did, I read that many never receive the “free” items offered.
Blue Hippo has had to defend itself against class action lawsuits from the FTC. The FTC has stated that there are more than “8,000 pages of consumer complaints related to blue hippo“.
A better option
Let’s be frank, Blue Hippo caters to people with bad credit and poor math skills. I have a better option, rather than spending all of this money only to get a cheap laptop and freebies that you’ll never receive, set-up and ING Direct Savings account and a monthly weekly automated savings deposit for the $49.99 Blue Hippo wants. Doing this, you would be able to purchase a much nicer laptop within 13 weeks (a little over 3 months), no hassle, no risk, no interest.
Blue Hippo is taking advantage of people and laughing all the way to the bank. I know the deal sounds great, the reality isn’t. Be smart, be patient and avoid Blue Hippo.