Responding to complaints of skin irritation from Fitbit Force users, Fitbit has stopped sales of the fitness band and is conducting a recall of the product. They're offing a refund direct to consumers for the full retail price of the Force ($130) and have set up a dedicated webpage and call center to handle the recall.
Fitbit CEO James Park said that "only 1.7% of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation," that test results have shown "are likely experiencing allergic contact dermatitis." The growing chorus of reports about skin irritation was likely a factor in pushing the company towards the recall.
I co-founded Fitbit in 2007 to help people lead healthier, more active lives. We have been thrilled by your response to our products, and are committed to customer satisfaction. Late last year, we began selling Fitbit Force, our most advanced activity tracker. Recently, some Force users have reported skin irritation. While only 1.7% of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation, we care about every one of our customers. On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected.
From the beginning, we have taken this matter very seriously. We hired independent labs and medical experts to conduct a thorough investigation. Here's what we know:
- Independent test results have not found any issues with the battery or electrical systems.
- Test results show that users are likely experiencing allergic contact dermatitis.
- All Force materials are commonly used in consumer products. However, some users may be reacting to the nickel present in the surgical grade stainless steel used in the device. Other users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the materials used in the strap or the adhesives used to assemble the product.
We have now learned enough to take further action. We have stopped selling Force and have decided to conduct a voluntary recall. We are offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price. For additional information related to the recall, we have set up a dedicated page on our website and a call center at 888-656-6381.
To our Force community, rest assured we're working on our next-generation tracker and will announce news about it soon.
Thank you for your continued loyalty and support.
Sincerely, James Park CEO & Co-Founder
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.