TORONTO – Wearable fitness tracker maker Fitbit has issued a voluntary recall on its Fitbit Force wristbands after reports began surfacing in January that the device was causing a painful skin irritation for some users.
“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,” read a statement issued to Global News on Friday.
“We are also offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price.”
Complaints of users experiencing painful burn-like rashes from the device surfaced in early January.
Many users said they developed a rash after wearing the fitness tracker for a prolonged period of time.
Woodstock, Ont., Fitbit user Sandra Shank told Global News in January she had developed a long-lasting rash on the skin that was touching the wristband’s metal area, which houses the battery, charging port, sensors and display unit.
“I didn’t develop [an irritation] right away – I would guess it was about a month into wearing it that I started feeling pain. It started itchy and then it just started to feel like it was getting hotter,” Shank described the irritation, adding that it became red and bumpy.
According to Fitbit’s statement, users were likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the nickel found in the metal part of the device.
Fitbit CEO James Park took to the company’s website to publicly apologize to users affected by the 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,” said Park.
The company has stopped selling the Fitbit Force bracelets, but noted that it is working on a new fitness tracker model.
Fitbit users with questions are asked to contact the company at 888-656-6381, or visit the website.
Read Fitbit’s full statement on the recall:
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.
For additional information, please contact our support line at: 888-656-6381, or visit http://www.fitbit.com/forcesupport.
© Shaw Media, 2014