by Brent Dirks
February 21, 2014
Due to skin irritation suffered by some users, Fitbit announced today that it is conducting a voluntary recall and stopping sales of its popular Force fitness tracker. A number of users complained of contact dermatitis and worse around the location of the tracker’s battery and charging port. Previously, any consumer who contacted Fitbit could receive their money back or exchange the Force for another device from the company. Here’s a statement Fitbit provided to The Consumerist:
We wanted to provide an update on our investigation into reports we have received about Force users experiencing skin irritation. From the beginning, we’ve taken this matter very seriously. We hired independent labs and medical experts to conduct a thorough investigation, and have now learned enough to take further action. The materials used in Force are commonly found in many consumer products, and affected users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to these materials. While only a small percentage of Force users have reported any issue, we care about every one of our customers. We have stopped selling Force and are in the process of conducting a voluntary recall, out of an abundance of caution. We are also offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price. We want to thank each and every member of the Fitbit community for their continued loyalty and support. We are working on our next-generation tracker and will announce news about it soon.If you’re a Force owner and want to receive a refund for the device, you can visit this site. Fitbit will send out a kit with instructions on how to return the tracker. A reimbursement check for the full retail price will be sent out two to six weeks after receipt of the device. Fitbit offered no further information about its next-generation device. Arriving late last year, the Force was widely praised and a big seller during the holiday season. Its top feature was an OLED display that shows information like the time, steps taken, and calories burned. In our original review, Bryan M. Wolfe was very complimentary of the device saying the display was very clear and that the band was comfortable to wear. Back in January, the company announced that the Force’s Caller ID feature would be enabled with an app update sometime this month. But those plans look to be on hold.