HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced an approximately $1.8 million settlement with the Maryland-based BlueHippo Funding to resolve allegations that the company preyed on Pennsylvania consumers with poor credit.
The consent petition reached with Joseph K. Rensin, the owner, CEO and chairman of BlueHippo, requires Rensin to pay $200,000 in restitution and permanently prohibits Rensin from collecting approximately $1.6 million in debts owed to the defendants. BlueHippo and its subsidiaries, BlueHippo Capital LLC of Las Vegas and BlueHippo Capital of Vienna, Va., previously filed for bankruptcy in Delaware Bankruptcy Court.
"BlueHippo allegedly used a national campaign of television and radio ads, telemarketing calls and Internet websites to lure consumers into purchasing computers, flat screen TVs and other electronic equipment," Kelly said. "In reality, the complaints we received indicated BlueHippo was little more than a sham enterprise that delivered few, if any, products to consumers."
BlueHippo allegedly failed to pay refunds when promised, failed to inform consumers about delays in shipping their purchases, misrepresented or failed to disclose major terms of their contracts, made unauthorized withdrawals from the bank accounts of consumers, failed to deliver rebates or other items when promised and failed to deliver products.
BlueHippo also allegedly conducted telemarketing without registering properly in Pennsylvania, operated as a loan broker without registering with the state's Department of Banking, violated the Installment Sales Act, and failed to register fictitious business names and corporations with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State's office.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rensin is permanently prohibited from collecting any accounts receivable from consumers in Pennsylvania that are derived from debts owed to the defendants and/or entities connected with the defendants. Rensin is also barred from reporting the debts, worth approximately $1.6 million, to credit reporting agencies, banned from conducting business in the state that involves the sale or financing of electronics or computers to consumers, and permanently prohibited from violating consumer protection law and other laws in Pennsylvania.
"While our Bureau of Consumer Protection has already received complaints from more than 300 consumers regarding BlueHippo, we believe that there are other potential victims who have not yet come forward," Kelly said. "Pennsylvania residents with problems or complaints involving BlueHippo should call our toll-free consumer protection hotline, at 1-800-441-2555, or submit an online consumer complaint."