A month ago, Fitbit recalled its Force fitness trackers due to complaints by consumers that the device was causing rashes. Now, Fitbit has been hit with a class action lawsuit as a result of how Fitbit handled the recall and notified consumers.
The suit was filed on Monday in the Superior Court of California in the County of San Diego, and the lead plaintiff is Jim Spivey, a 49-year-old aviation teacher. The suit asks for Fitbit to notify every person who has bought the Fitbit Force device in the state of California and to arrange to refund the $130 cost of the device, plus tax and any shipping fees.
The lawsuit also calls for Fitbit to provide a full disclosure of the cause of the wrist irritations, which the company has yet to do. When Fitbit initially recalled the Force trackers, Fitbit CEO James Park said the cause of the irritations was most likely an allergic reaction to nickel, a component of the Force which is also found in many everyday consumer products. Then, On February 14, Park released a statement that the rashes were likely caused by “allergic contact dermatitis,” halted sales of the product and issued a voluntary recall. Fitbit says that 9,900 consumers have reported rashes related to the Force, and The Consumer Product Safety Commission says there are one million units subject to the recall.
Fitbit’s Force debuted in October, but within just a few months, hundreds of consumers began reporting irritations on their wrists where the Force touched their skin. While the extent of the symptoms ranged from minor rashes to blisters, some consumers were forced to seek medical treatment and receive prescriptions to treat the rashes. Ironically, Spivey – the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit – didn’t experience any rash while wearing his own Force band.
While Fitbit has not responded to requests for comment to Wearable World, the company told TechCrunch, “based on our initial review of the lawsuit, the complaint asks for a recall of Force and a refund to consumers. Fitbit took initiative long before this complaint was filed, publicly offered refunds, and worked closely with the CPSC on its voluntary recall program. We strongly disagree with the statements about the product and the Company.”