The developer of a fitness bracelet is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit over allegations the company misled customers about skin irritations caused by the product.
The Wall Street Journal reports the lead plaintiff is Jim Spivey, a 49-year-old aviation teacher concerned the Fitbit company hasn’t adequately informed customers about the supposed dangers of the Fitbit Force fitness-tracking bracelet since issuing a voluntary recall last month.
The digital bracelet, which tracks activity and sleep patterns, was released by Fitbit in October. Consumers soon complained of skin irritations in the areas where the wristband touched, ranging from redness to festering blisters, which in some cases reportedly required medical attention.
Around the time of the recall, Fitbit Chief Executive James Park said the company’s investigation into the matter indicated “allergic contact dermatitis” was likely causing reported irritation among 1.7% of customers, or 9,900 people.
Although Spivey has not yet suffered from skin irritation since he purchased his Fitbit Force in January, he is concerned that he and others are still at risk and believes Fitbit has not adequately alerted customers of the dangers. He claimed he didn’t know of the risks until he searched the wristband’s features on the company’s website.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recall affected about 1 million bracelets in the U.S. and Canada.
Attorney John Fiske of the Gomez Firm filed the suit March 17 in the Superior Court of California in the County of San Diego. Fitbit has already offered to refund customers’ money, but the lawsuit wants to force the company to provide answers about what caused the rashes. “We are asking for full disclosure of the dangerous aspects of the product and a full disclosure of why it’s causing these injuries,” Fiske told WSJ.
Fitbit issued this statement to the WSJ:
Based on our initial review of the lawsuit, the complaint asks for a recall of Force and a refund to consumers. Fitbit took initiative long before this complaint was filed, publicly offered refunds, and worked closely with the CPSC on its voluntary recall program. We strongly disagree with the statements about the product and the company.