Google Fitbit devices burned users’ wrists, lawsuit claims

  • Recent Fitbit recall bypassed multiple devices prone to overheating, plaintiffs allege
  • Customers say they’ve been blocked from refunding devices that have been discarded or upgraded

(Reuters) – Google Fitbit has been hit by a class action lawsuit that claims its smartwatches are prone to overheating and burning out their users, including many devices that weren’t part of a recent product recall.

A lawsuit filed Friday in California federal court says overheating is a problem in several Fitbit devices, including the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Sense, Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Blaze. The two women who filed the lawsuit seek to represent a national class of consumers who have purchased devices rendered inoperable by the alleged defect.

“Reasonable consumers, like plaintiffs, buy the products to burn calories – not their skin,” according to the suit.

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Fitbit recalled more than one million of its ionic smartwatches in March, following reports that overheating batteries had caused burns. Fitbit said at the time that incidents of overheating were “very rare” and only occurred in the Fitbit Ionic, which was discontinued in 2020.

Google, which bought Fitbit in 2021 for $2.1 billion, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Users have struggled to get refunds or replacements from Fitbit, especially for devices that were discarded or upgraded before the recall, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit referenced posts by Fitbit users on social media and in customer support forums, where many people posted photos of burnt wrists.

Some of the online posts said that Fitbit’s customer service staff refused to acknowledge any issues with the devices, instead implying that the users were being dishonest or that the images showed a “hygiene issue” or “skin allergies” instead. only burns.

The lawsuit says the Fitbit flaw creates a risk even for those who have never purchased a smartwatch, as they could overheat and cause fires in places like airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration has banned passengers from bringing Fitbit Ionic smartwatches on planes, and other Fitbit devices pose a similar risk to flight safety, according to the lawsuit.

This is the case of Houtchens v. Google LLC, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 22-cv-02638.

For applicants: Christopher Aumais of Good Gustafson Aumais

Read more:

Fitbit recalls over 1 million Ionic smartwatches due to burn risk

Google strikes deal with Fitbit as US and Australia investigations continue

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