The Washington Post

Fitbit voluntarily recalls wristband after rash reports

Fitbit announced it is voluntarily pulling the Fitbit Force from shelves and recalling units after reports that the band reacted badly with some users’ skin.

Fitbit has stopped sales of its latest model, the Fitbit Force, and instituted a voluntary recall after reports that the health-tracking band was giving some users an allergic reaction.

Fitbit chief executive officer James Park said in a statement on the company’s official Web site that the company is making the decision to pull the product after independent test results confirmed that the wristbands caused “allergic contact dermatitis” in fewer than 2 percent of its customers. The dermatitis — an itchy, sometimes painful rash — is likely an allergic reaction to nickel in the device’s stainless steel, Park said. Other users may also be reacting to “materials used in the strap” or adhesives used in the product’s assembly.

Reports of rashes first surfaced last month, prompting the company to offer refunds and exchanges to users who were experiencing skin irritation.

After further analysis, however, the company has decided to take a bigger step.

“From the beginning, we have taken this matter very seriously,” Park wrote. The firm’s analysis, conducted by an independent lab, found no problems with the Force’s battery or electrical systems.

The company is offering a full refund of the Force to all customers. It has also set up a dedicated recall page and call center to deal with any complaints. Users must fill out a form for each Fitbit Force model they wish to return.

The Force came out late last year, and was a welcome addition to the Fitbit family because it included a watch feature — something that had not been present in other versions of the fitness tracker. Fitbit is one of many companies succeeding in the burgeoning market of wearable devices, along with Pebble, Samsung, Nike and others.

Park said that company will continue to work on next-generation version of Fitbit’s wristband, and that the company will “announce news about it soon.”

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Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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