Groupon Australia Sold Boxes Of Counterfeit Durex Condoms

Image courtesy of They stopped smiling when they learned about this recall. (Barbara Wells)

They stopped smiling when they learned about this recall. (Barbara Wells)

They stopped smiling when they learned about this recall. (Barbara Wells)

Overall, Groupon’s transition from a company that sells discount vouchers to a company that sells discount merchandise has gone pretty well. Yet some news from Australia caught our attention when we learned that Groupon in that country sold counterfeit condoms on their website. Now the Australian government is alerting consumers who purchased those condoms that they should probably not use them.

This may provide a lesson for retailers in the dangers of drop-shipping. Drop-shipping is when a company accepts orders from customers, then pays another company to fulfill those orders. It’s very easy to scale your business up quickly this way, but it has inherent dangers. When Groupon started selling physical items here in the United States, they started by drop-shipping, and eventually shifted to storing and shipping their own merchandise.

If you remember the Great Nexus 7 Fiasco of Christmas 2013, Groupon blamed that on the vendor that they used to drop-ship many of the tablets.

Yet while that was a holiday gift-giving disaster, not receiving an Android tablet generally will not lead to pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection. (We refuse to ponder what the exceptions to that statement might be.)

These condoms were advertised as products from Durex, and Groupon partnered with an outside company to drop-ship them. For any Australian readers, if you ordered condoms from Groupon between March 10 and April 12, you should have heard from them by now. “Signs that might indicate a potential counterfeit products include suspiciously low prices, poor quality of printing on the packaging and whether information on the foil packaging of individual condoms match that on the box,” Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (like the FDA) helpfully points out in its recall announcement.

A spokesperson for Groupon told Mashable Australia that they’re investigating how the site could have ended up selling counterfeit condoms, and said in a statement:

Customers are our utmost priority at Groupon and we take their health and safety very seriously. All customers who purchased the counterfeit products have been proactively contacted by Groupon notifying them of the recall and have been advised to discontinue use immediately, dispose or return the goods, and seek professional medical advice if they have concerns about their health. A full refund has been processed to all customers.

We’ve questioned Groupon’s product sourcing in the past, too: you might remember the Consumerist reader who purchased a television only to learn that Samsung wouldn’t provide him with technical support since the TV was allegedly manufactured for the Mexican market, and wasn’t supposed to be sold in this country.

Counterfeit Durex branded condoms purchased from Groupon website [Therapeutic Goods Administration]