BlueHippo Funding LLC Informative - Avoid This Scam! - Consumer Electronics Financing
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- Just goes to show what you can learn with 5 minutes of research.
BlueHippo Funding, LLC has been on a light TV media blitz to sell Gateway computers lately, mostly over cable channels or on late night broadcast TV. The deal seems simple enough. Just call the "800" number, and regardless of credit you are approved for a "new" PC delivered direct to your home. Call within 10 minutes of the advertisement airing, and you can also get a free web camera. A quick trip to their web site shows a similar offer for a Gateway laptop. All that is needed to qualify is a checking account and home telephone number, as well as to make your first payment (TV version), and a down payment of between $99 and $149 (web version). The weekly payments are small enough to attract attention, #35.99 for the PC, and $49.99 for the laptop. The gloss over the true cost by quickly bypassing the fact you will be making payments for 12 months, which means 52 weeks.
I have a head for numbers, and have more than the typical end user knowledge regarding computers. The math indicates the final cost of ownership for the PC is about $2,000. The laptop will run you about $800 more. I decided further checking on just how these very expensive computers are equipped was needed, the stench of a scam burning my nose. I expected to see fully equipped systems, with every option available, extended warrantees, and lots of add-ons. What I found were stripped down outdated computers and laptops that don't even offer the basics expected by computer buyers today. They are Gateway computers, but have been stripped of the usual equipment and software offered by Gateway.
You can get a much better computer for about 80% less directly from Gateway. A far better equipped laptop can be had for 75% less. And, you get all the "freebies" BlueHippo claims they include. Right off the bat, the "deal" offered by BlueHippo is anything but a deal. Unfortunately for consumers, this is the least of their problems.
If you miss a payment (by not having sufficient funds in your checking account), you will incur bank fees, and likely a rejected item fee from BlueHippo. More than a couple of these, and kiss goodbye your right to a any bank account for several years. If you get buyers remorse and wish to get out of the deal, forget it. The very fact BlueHippo has your checking account information gives them authorization to get the money by any means from that account. If you close your checking account, you open yourself up to collections activity, including but not limited to reports to the various credit data agencies, a lawsuit and judgment, and garnishment of your wages and attachment of any assets you own.
Claims of immediate delivery are also false, both in the TV version and the web version of the offers. You must make payments for several weeks, which by coincidence equal the retail direct price offered by Gateway for their more modern versions of the equipment (including "freebies"). The specific time frame is not offered by BlueHippo until they get your checking information. Needless to say, I was unwilling to provide this information in order to obtain the information I sought. I found the information of the "several payments" being made requirement before shipping on their web site under their FAQ page.
The information I've presented here was obtained after just 5 minutes of research. I watched the TV ad, checked their web site, called BlueHippo, and checked some of the other consumer report boards. The only thing BlueHippo seems to be truthful about is the hyper-inflated cost of ownership of your purchase.
If you need a computer badly enough to seriously consider this deal, then you can afford a layaway plan at your local retailer. You will have a far lower cost of ownership, get the equipment quicker, get a more up-to-date model with far more "freebies," and your payments end once you receive the item in hand. You will also be able to take advantage of any rebate offers, discounts, etc. offered by the manufacturer and retailer. There are also many legitimate companies out there willing to take the risk on good people who have credit issues who will finance your computer purchase over a few months to a year or two at reasonable rates. Even Rant-A-Center offers better deals than BlueHippo, and you get the computer right away, can trade up any time, etc.
The better the deal seems, the more you need to check it out first.