Fitbit stops sales and recalls Force amid rash of skin irritation complaints

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.

Press release:

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

Source: FitBit

 
There are 38 comments

jamie says:

I love your use of rash in the title!

Posted via Nexus 5

NoNexus says:

+1

DoubleA319 says:

+2

Posted from my LG G2 via Android Central App

vividrich says:

So bad lol

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

contact dermatitis is no joke. why yes this is another area I know about. Wanna see a picture?

jerrod6 says:

yes

NoNexus says:

really? It is ugly

mtaylor924 says:

Will they continue to fully support the device for unaffected users who choose not to return it?

StormFreak says:

This is my question as well. I have no problems with my Force, but if they are going to release a new tracker at the same price point, and discontinue support for the Force, then I will return it.

netstars22 says:

Likewise. I use my Force regularly and I don't have a backup device, so I'm unsure if I want to return it.

Posted via Android Central App

oldschoolsig says:

They are coming out with a new tracker.... But timing is unknown

Posted via Android Central App

patruns says:

Still unclear and has been asked several times in the Forums with conflicting responses from Fitbit. I would note they have also removed all of the Force accessories such as replacement charging cables and band clasps which is a bad omen. I don't have a rash, but I may have no alternative but to send it back if this is the case. Their handling of the whole issue to date has been one giant cluster#*&^k.

dmedesha says:

My Fitbit is making me sweaty and smelly because I'm walking up 21 flights of stairs everyday when I used to use the elevators. Darn Fitbit!

Recall fitness!

Ry says:

So.. still waiting for the Notifications update.

NoNexus says:

I know it is so irritating.

planoman says:

I do not own this product, but it appears they are taking care of the customer here. Nice to see.

ki11ak3nn says:

I just ordered a Flex for $30 at work. I hope that doesn't have any problems.

Posted via Android Central App

My wife for the past few weeks has been breaking out from the fit bit flex pink version. That color was released shortly before the force.

Posted via Android Central App

effinay says:

I've had a black Flex for about 2 weeks and haven't noticed any irritation. I do make a point of drying it off completely after taking a shower. I could see how that might be an issue with irritation otherwise.

S-Doo-1965 says:

The Force isn't water resistant. No showering or swimming with it on. The Flex is.

Eion says:

They are both water resistant.

LTrane says:

The Flex is water resistant. The Force is listed as "splash" and "sweat resistance" only

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I have the black one as well and have no irritation my wife has a special cancer one that was released right before the horse was announced I don't know if the same material was used.

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pstellato73 says:

I have the flex and wear it all day and night and I have had no skin issues at all since I bought it.

Posted via Android Central App

gyroslice says:

I love my fitbit force so much that if it were causing a rash I'd tape my wrist and wear it over the tape. No way I'm sending mine back. Gaining steps is like collecting coins in Mario. It appeals to my inner gamer. Kudos to fitbit for admitting the problem and working on a solution.

Posted via Android Central App

kryvak says:

I love that people who have these are called Force users.

Posted via Android Central App

Eion says:

Glad to see the company is taking care of those who have issues! My girlfriend and I have had them on since buying them for each other at christmas without issue.

pilotnh says:

This makes me concerned about the future of the Force tracker and the Fitbit company itself. While a big company like Apple can absorb a large scale recall, I'm not sure how Fitbit will come out of this. I'm also concerned about their future support for Force (ie. where's the notifications).

scotth23 says:

I wonder how many they've sold. I've rarely seen it in stores. The one time I did, I bought one and love it. I remain rashless so that helps.

rudyy50 says:

Steve Jobs would say y'all are wearing them wrong.

Posted with my HTC One GPe via Android Central App

Muzta says:

Is they're anything like my industry, it means they ran this material without properly perging out machine after a flame retardant grade plastic.

Posted via Android Central App

Glad I bought the fitbit one!

Posted via Android Central App

RC46 says:

'll be keeping mine also. Had it since launch day and its the best fitness tracker I've owned. (And I have tried them all.) The thing that makes fitbit so good is the software. The Nike+ unit is nice but the software sucks. Jawbone software is even worse.

I think fitbit is actually making a mistake recalling this product. The amount of user effected is very low and the damage to their reputation will be very high. There are also lots of people that get rashes from watches. I can't remember any watches being recalled?

vader4633 says:

The wife and I have had them since Christmas with no problems. But returning both and seeing what they bring out next.

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gamefreak715 says:

Customer service: "Have you tried it on the other wrist?"

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GothBoyUK says:

I've never heard of surgical grade steel containing nickel before. I have a nickel allergy and never had a reaction to surgical steel. I can only assume that their 'surgical grade' isn't.

Posted via Android Central App

Girard Gibbs says:

Hi,
My law firm recently filed a class action lawsuit against Fitbit on behalf of individuals who purchased a Fitbit Force™ Wristband. Our lawsuit alleges that many Force users have reported skin rashes and blisters after using the device, and that Fitbit violated consumer protection laws by continuing to market and sell the product even after receiving complaints about the rashes.

If you wore the Force Wristband and experienced a rash, blisters or burns, please give us a call at (866) 981-4800 or email emo@girardgibbs.com. You can also visit our website: http://www.girardgibbs.com/fitbit-force-wristband-tracker-rash-class-act...

Thanks,
Ellen