Fitbit faces class-action suit over skin irritation issue with Force fitness tracker

Fitbit appears to be rather up against it at the moment. Earlier this year, the gadget maker had to apologize when some users of its Force fitness tracker started complaining of skin irritation caused by the gadget.

Last month it issued a voluntary recall of the device, offering affected users a full refund in return, while just a week ago another recall was issued by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which also placed stricter rules on sales of the Force. 

And now the San Francisco-based startup is facing its first lawsuit in relation to the issue.

Filed earlier this week in the Superior Court of California in the County of San Diego, the suit, which is seeking class-action status, alleges “the company misled consumers in promoting and advertising the Fitbit Force device,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.

Filed by San Diego-based Gomez Law attorney John Fiske on behalf of aviation teacher Jim Spivey, the suit calls for Fitbit to contact all California-based purchasers of the Force and offer a full refund that should also include tax and shipping costs.

“We are asking for full disclosure of the dangerous aspects of the product and a full disclosure of why it’s causing these injuries,” Fiske said.

According to the Journal, Spivey bought his Force device in January and discovered there was a potential issue with the device shortly after when he visited Fitbit’s website regarding a separate matter.

Although he hasn’t yet developed any rash, he believes the onus is on Fitbit to alert consumers directly about the recall. “I have a concern that there is still a risk of developing an injury for me and others,” Spivey said.

Fitbit said recently that 1.7 percent of Force users had reported a skin-related problem possibly caused by the gadget, with 9,900 citing of skin irritation and 250 citing blistering.

The precise cause of the issue still isn’t known, with Fitbit recently ruling out any connection with the device’s electrical systems or battery. It’s been suggested it could be an allergic reaction caused by the nickel/stainless steel element of the Force’s interior.

For more information on the issue, check out this letter from Fitbit boss James Park.

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