Groupon caught selling fake goods, BBC probe reveals

Discount deal website Groupon has been found to be selling fake products online, a BBC Watchdog investigation has revealed.

The programme, which aired on 16 November on BBC One, followed a number of complaints from consumers who had bought dodgy products or misleading experiences from the discount marketplace. There were even cases where consumers had made purchases from companies that were later found to not exist.

One man the programme spoke to was Carl Churchman who had bought an industrial size box of Ariel laundry powder from Groupon. It was advertised as having a 50 per cent discount with a price of just £22.

"The first suspicion I had was there was no suds within the drum," Churchman said. "Secondly, there was no smell or aroma to the washing, which I thought was a bit strange. And thirdly, I did get itchiness and a small rash on my legs from my bedding."

Churchman sent a sample of the washing powder to manufacturer Procter and Gamble, which confirmed the product was fake.

BBC Watchdog also had a pair of earrings tested, which had been advertised on Groupon as being white gold and sapphire for £15, down from a normal retail price of £350. The tests found the earrings contained no gold content at all and the sapphires were fake.

Meanwhile, the programme said a Trading Standards investigation of Ralph Lauren shirts, which had been sold on Groupon with a 53 per cent discount, also revealed them to be fakes.

According to BBC Watchdog, Groupon's checks and scrutiny of businesses wanting to sell on the discount marketplace were inadequate. The programme showed the ease of listing a fake business on the website where the only information required in order to sell goods and services was a website, an address and a Facebook page.

In a statement to BBC Watchdog in response to the counterfeit claims, Groupon said: "As with any major online retailer, we take counterfeiting seriously and work hard to make sure that no-one ends up being disappointed with their purchase. We work closely with suppliers to perform checks to ensure counterfeit items do not enter the supply chain."

"On the extremely rare occasion where we are made aware that a product we've sold may be counterfeit, we immediately conduct an investigation and if necessary, recall the product and provide a full refund."

Groupon said it was also investigating other claims of counterfeits. "Any customer who is concerned about a deal they have bought should contact us so we can resolve their query."

This is not the first time that Groupon has been met with allegations of selling fakes. Last month, tech giant Apple filed a lawsuit against the US distributor Mobile Star for allegedly selling fake Apple-branded iPhone chargers and accessories through e-commerce platform Amazon. Apple also alleges Mobile Star is selling these counterfeit products through Groupon.

Meanwhile, last year, Groupon Australia was found to have sold counterfeit condoms under the brand name Durex, where the condoms had to be recalled amid fears the latex could be defective and contain holes, which may not have prevented pregnancy or protected against sexually transmitted infections.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top