Fitbit picked the wrong time to embroil itself in a major customer service problem. The activity-tracking wearables space is hotter than ever, and now Fitbit has been hit by a class-action lawsuit that claims the company deceived consumers in the advertising of the Fitbit Force wristband.
The Force was recalled by Fitbit three weeks ago after the company determined about 1.7 percent of users were suffering contact dermatitis from wearing the band. Fitbit has stopped selling the Force, and is issuing refunds for customers who wish to return their bands.
The class-action suit has been filed by the San Diego-based Gomez Firm on behalf of plaintiff James Spivey, who’s told the press, “I have a concern that there is still a risk of developing an injury for me and others.” The lawsuit calls for Fitbit to directly notify every California customer of the recall effort, and to handle all taxes and shipping fees associated with the original US$130 purchase. Spivey hasn’t contracted a skin rash from the band, but believes it’s incumbent on Fitbit to be proactive about alerting customers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
On its website, the Gomez Firm shares some harsh language about the Fitbit Force: “The Fitbit Force is a dangerous, defective product causing skin burns, blisters, open wounds, skin cracking, peeling, and tissue and nerve damage, among other injuries. The Fitbit Force has already injured thousands of customers who trusted Fitbit to make a health and wellness product that was safe and effective.”
In a 20 February blog post, Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park explained possible causes for customers’ skin rash problems, noting people might be suffering allergic reactions to nickel or adhesives used in the band’s manufacturing. His blog post doesn’t go into any detail about the medical issues themselves, save to describe them as “skin irritation” and “allergic contact dermatitis”.
Customers interested in joining the class-action suit will find a link here.
by Jon Phillips, TechHive