Fitbit Force skin irritation affects nearly 10,000 users, new recall notice issued

FitBit Force Both

Following reports of nearly 10,000 incidents of skin irritation caused by the Fitbit Force fitness tracker, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Wednesday issued a recall of the device.

The move comes a couple of months after the issue first arose, with a small percentage of users complaining of rashes or blistering on the wrist beneath the Force. At the time the company offered refunds to affected users.

However, with complaints continuing, last month Fitbit put out a voluntary recall of the Force, at the same time suspending sales of the wrist-based tracker. Wednesday’s recall imposes stricter rules on sales, with the CPSC stating that until further notice “it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell” the Force.

In the CPSC’s recall notice, Fitbit states it’s received around 9,900 reports of skin irritation linked to its wireless activity tracking wristband, and a further 250 reports citing blistering.

The exact cause of the problem is still not 100 percent clear, with the company last month ruling out any possible connection with the device’s electrical systems or battery. The likelihood is it’s an allergic reaction caused by the nickel/stainless steel element of the wristband’s interior. A reaction to the additives used in the construction of the device has also been suggested as a possible cause.

While the issue won’t ruin the San Francisco-based company, it’ll be keen to establish the precise cause and modify the device as soon as possible so it can get it back on the market.

The recall reportedly involves around a million units in the US and 28,000 in Canada, and affects Forces with model numbers FB402BK, FB402BKS, FB402SL and FB402SLS, the CPSC said, adding that “consumers should contact Fitibit for a full refund.”

Messages on Fitbit’s Facebook and Twitter accounts posted Wednesday pointed affected Force owners to www.fitbit.com/forcesupport for information on how to return the device.

The Force, which launched in October last year, has been selling at a large number of stores, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, Apple and Target, and also online at Amazon.com and Fitbit.com.

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