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Woman says she bought fake flea collars from popular website

A Westmoreland County woman just wanted to help her pets but ended up buying fake flea collars from a popular website.

"I'm an animal lover, obviously, and I don't want someone else's animal to get hurt. Like I told you, my mom used Seresto collars and didn't know one was fake, and she believes that's the reason it killed her dog within a year," Stephanie Dugger said.

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Dugger thought she was being proactive by buying flea and tick collars for her 10 cats. She thought she was getting a decent deal on Groupon and bought a pack of five for $160.

"I put them on my cats, noticed no change, nothing was working. Thought something was suspicious, so I went online and started looking up things," Dugger said.


That's when she stumbled upon online reviews for fake Seresto collars. Other pet owners couldn't tell the difference.

"The Bayer symbol there, it's supposed to be imprinted on the collar itself. And I took it off my cat and looked, and it's not there, so something's definitely wrong, and we immediately called the company," Dugger said.

Dugger said she read off the barcode on the back and the serial number on the collar to the customer service line at Bayer.

"She came back and said, 'I'm sorry to inform you these are all fake collars,'" Dugger said.

Channel 11 called several veterinarians in the area, and they said they're dealing with the repercussions from fake collars being sold as Seresto collars and have even been warned by distributors with the Bayer company to keep an eye out for them.

They said they've seen collars not working at all, collars not lasting as long as they should and some pets suffering chemical burns and hair loss.

Dugger said she bought them from a third party seller on the Groupon site.

Groupon sent Channel 11 the following statement:

This is the first we've heard about this issue. We've removed the item, and all other items listed by this third-party seller in our marketplace, until we have a chance to investigate further. Lilyinbox had six total orders of this item, and we've issued full refunds to customers.

We require all third-party sellers to attest that everything they sell through Groupon's advertising platform is legitimate, complies with relevant safety regulations and will take steps when necessary to remove listings, revoke selling privileges and even pursue legal action.