Blue Hippo computers – The Truth

By glblguy

hippo

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.


17 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Blue Hippo computers – The Truth”

  1. Frugal Dad Says:

    Yet another example of us falling victim to a “monthly payment” mentality. If we can afford the payments, we assume we can afford the item. In fact, as your research points out, the total cost of items is much, much higher than paying full price for a comparable item up front.

  2. The Debt Helper Says:

    It is companies like these that are directly responsible for many of the current financial difficulties that the global economy now finds itself in. Whilst individuals have to take personal responsibility for their actions, it is also irresponsible to lend to people without knowing anything of their credit history. Personally i would avoid them like the plague but clearly there will be some people are are so desperate for credit they will give it a try

  3. Pete Says:

    I just heard one of these commericials in the car today. We were commenting on what a horrible deal it was!

  4. SirDarquan Says:

    It’s funny you talk about this company today. While carpooling to work, my co-worker and I heard that same commercial and started discussing how ridiculous paying $39.99 a week for a year sounded. I’ve been hearing these comercials for years and often pondered how they’re making money if they’re giving the computers described in the comercials. I was never planning to purchase anything fromo them, but at least now I know how their scam works. Great Work!

  5. Momma @ 3princessesmomma.com Says:

    This is the same type of deal as Aaron’s or Rent To Own stores all over the country. You spend 4X the amount for a washer or a sofa or a television set with a weekly payment than if you’d simply saved the money for a few months. These companies are making a killing, most often on the people who can afford it least.

  6. Nicki Says:

    Yeah, if you’re that desperate for a computer then go use the ones at your local library until you save up to buy one outright (which will be a lot quicker than a year at $39.99 a week!).

  7. Broke MBA Says:

    I had never sat down to run the actual numbers. I had just assumed it was a bad deal. This infuriates me. I had no idea how much of a rip-off this was. What a scam! If your business model operates on taking advantage of people not smart enough to know better, or just down on their luck, then you deserve to be shut down.

  8. FFB Says:

    I’ve heard the commercials but figured it was too good to be true. Guess it is. What I like is by the time you pay off the computer and receive it it will already be yesterday’s news technology-wise if it isn’t already right now. There is no free lunch!

  9. e file Says:

    Yeah, if you’re that desperate for a computer then go use the ones at your local library until you save up to buy one outright (which will be a lot quicker than a year at $39.99 a week!).

  10. CJ Says:

    I was one of the dumb ones that fell for the sca. I had absolutely no credit and really wanted to try to build it up. I have made many purchases from Aarons and Rent-A-Center. The difference is you get the things you pay for it is really helpful for people like me without a lot of means to get the things you need. Some people live so far in the country you cant just run to the library to use a computer. I thought I could finish my college degree online with this great deal. I was very wrong and it put me in an even worse situation. Hopefully the Maryland BBB will be able to help me!

  11. P.Babb Says:

    I have never recived my computer from blue hippo after they have
    got the $99.00 every month for 6 months do not want computer want money back. they were a bad company ripping people off.

  12. ladynyc Says:

    How do you get the money back? Im in Georgia

  13. ladynyc Says:

    Do anyone ever get there money back?

  14. dooped one Says:

    They must have been doing this for a long time. I got fooled by them years ago thinking this company was on the up and up. I’m glad I’m not the only one but I am equally upset that others got dooped by them too. They have been doing this for about 15 years. I went to the BBB but nothing came about it, I retained a lawyer and he said you have no case. So I dropped it altogether. I hope someone shuts them down for good. Where is the business integrity here?

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