There has been a mass recall on Fitbit’s newest model, Fitbit Force, because many owners of the health tracker have complained of skin irritations from that included mild to severe rashes, and in some cases, blisters. The Fitbit Force was designed to track the users daily exercise routine by monitoring stairs climbed, steps taken, miles travelled and calories burned. It also has a vibrating alarm that can be used as an alarm clock.
Unfortunately, reports began to surface last month of skin rashes and irritation caused by wearing the bands. There was even a forum dedicated to skin problems with wearing the device on Fitbit’s website. The company first issued refunds and exchanges but as more complaints were placed, Fitbit deemed a recall was more appropriate for the $129 health tracker. The company issued a statement along with an apology on their website that the Fitbit Force bands were being recalled due to correlations with allergic contact dermatitis. Less than 2 percent of Fitbit users experienced the symptoms but the company deemed it enough to issue the recall. It is speculated that the rashes are caused by nickel in the stainless steel on the actual device, or various metals used in the strap.
The Fitbit Force was released in October last year and initially held high sales along with strong reviews. It was the first of the Fitbit bands to include a watch feature, which many users found convenient. By late 2013, the complaints began of the rashes and skin irritation. One customer even documented his rash with graphic photos which was published on The Consumerist website. In the documented rash photos, the Fitbit consumer explains that he noticed a rash about a month after wearing the device. He then switched the device to his other wrist and the rash began on his other wrist as well. He also noted that the rash appeared to be forming underneath the batter charging port. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Fitbit had offered one Fitbit Force user a financial settlement.
Fitbit chief executive officer, James Park stated “from the beginning, we have taken this matter very seriously.” The company has offered full refunds to Fitbit Force owners. They have also set up a recall page on their website, as well as a complaint line for any customers that wish to express their concerns. In order for a customer to return a Fitbit band, they must fill out a form that the company assures will be taken care of promptly. Fitbit has also apparently hired an independent lab to research the causes of the skin rashes so that they may proceed with making a replacement band.
The newer Fitbit health tracker is presumed to be hypoallergenic and have all the same feature of the Fitbit Force. Fitbit is not the first company to issue a recall for its health trackers, Jawbone was forced to recall one of its health trackers in 2011. One of their first generation UP wristbands was recalled due to malfunctions causing the battery to become enable to recharge fully as well as the device being unable to sync with computers. They have since replaced it with another health tracker.
By Lian Morrison