January 15, 2014 10:45 am

Fitbit offers apology, refund to users experiencing skin irritation from Fitbit Force

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TORONTO – Wearable technology company Fitbit is apologizing to customers after some users took to the web to complain about painful skin irritations they allegedly developed after wearing the Fitbit Force.

“We are looking into reports from a very limited number of Fitbit Force users who have been experiencing skin irritation, possibly as a result of an allergy to nickel, an element of surgical-grade stainless steel used in the device,” a company spokesperson from Fitbit told Global News.

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“We are sorry that even a few consumers have experienced these problems and assure you that we are looking at ways to modify the product so that anyone can wear the Fitbit Force comfortably. We will continue to update our customers with the latest information.”

The bracelet-style fitness tracker – which retails for $130 – allows users to keep track of how many steps they’ve taken, distance traveled, and calories burned throughout the day.

Reports of the skin reactions surfaced earlier this week after users took to Twitter and the Fitbit user forum to document the rash or skin irritation – some including photos that show the affected areas.

READ MORE: Fitbit Force users claim the device causes painful skin irritations

Woodstock, Ont. Fitbit user Sandra Shank told Global News Tuesday that she is still recovering from a reaction to the device even after a week of not wearing it.

“I didn’t develop [an irritation] right away – I would guess it was about a month into wearing it that I started feeling pain,” Shank said during a phone interview.

Shank’s description of the irritation appears to match what most users have been complaining about online.

Most allege that the rash starts on the skin that is touching the device’s metal area, which houses the battery, charging port, sensors and display unit.

“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.

Fitbit said in its statement that it recommends any user who is experiencing an irritation from their device to discontinue use and contact the company via email at force@fitbit.com if they have additional questions.

The company is also offering affected customers an immediate refund, or replacement for a different Fitbit product.

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