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At Least 74 Consumers Registered Complaints Against BlueHippo
MADISON - The Department of Justice has filed a civil action in Dane County Circuit Court against BlueHippo Funding, LLC, BlueHippo Capital, LLC and Joseph Rensin, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today. The complaint alleges that these companies have committed violations of Wisconsin's consumer protection law, specifically violations relating to deceptive advertising and consumer credit. The complaint further alleges that certain aspects of the defendants' contracts violate the Wisconsin Consumer Act.
As alleged in the complaint, the companies advertise low cost computers and electronic merchandise on television and on the internet. The advertisements are designed to target low-income individuals with poor credit histories. The complaint further alleges that the company deceived consumers into believing that they were purchasing computers on a credit plan that would result in a lower price than other comparable merchandise. Consumers were also falsely led to believe that they would receive free merchandise. The complaint also alleges that the computers BlueHippo sold were priced significantly higher than the same or similar computers in mainstream retail outlets, contrary to the defendants' representations.
According to the complaint, 74 Wisconsin consumers registered complaints with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) or the Better Business Bureau. Of those 74 complaints, at least 52 consumers never received the items they purchased or the free merchandise promised, though the defendants deducted payments automatically from the consumers' accounts.
The case was investigated and referred to the Department of Justice by the DATCP and the Department of Financial Institutions.
BlueHippo has been sued in at least two other states, Illinois and West Virginia. The complaint asks the court to award forfeitures and penalties, restitution to consumers, and further asks the court to enjoin future unlawful behavior.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Lara A. Sutherlin and Cynthia R. Hirsch.