Google’s Fitbit Ionic Recall Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Lawsuit Says

In March, Google announced it was voluntarily recalling 1.7 million Fitbit Ionic smartwatches following reports of 78 burns. Now, a recently filed lawsuit says the recall didn’t go far enough, claiming the same defect affects all of Google’s Fitbit devices.

According to court documents, all Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers share the same flaw – a tendency to overheat, thereby causing burns or creating fire hazards. The lawsuit also accuses Fitbit of trying to deflect blame onto “consumer hygiene” when incidents are reported, and the recall fails to adequately compensate Ionic owners.

“Reasonable consumers,” the complaint reads, “purchase the products to burn calories – not their skin – and to safely pursue a healthy lifestyle using a smartwatch.” The lawsuit seeks class action status.

The two plaintiffs in the case had both purchased devices from the Versa range – a Versa Lite and a Versa 2 – and not the Ionic. Additionally, the complaint shows burn photos of users who had other devices, including the Sense, Versa 3, Blaze, Inspire, and Inspire 2. It also includes several Fitbit owner accounts ghosted by customer support from the company.

The Ionic was Fitbit’s first smartwatch in 2017.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic/The Verge

The crux of the lawsuit is an allegation that while Fitbit recalled the Ionic, it didn’t for its other devices, even though they can burn users as well. Therefore, customers may not be aware that they pose a potential fire hazard. Specifically, the case fuels fears that customers could wear a smartwatch on a flight, not knowing the battery may be faulty. He also notes that while Fitbit has offered full refunds to Ionic owners, the company is dragging its feet when it comes to issuing those refunds.

I cannot say that I am terribly surprised to see these allegations. While I’ve never encountered the problem when reviewing Fitbit’s devices, I’ve seen several complaints pop up on Reddit and other social media platforms over the years, where various Fitbit products have reportedly been reported. burned or irritated users’ skin. Although anecdotal, many of these accounts also mentioned that Fitbit was taking months to issue refunds or even respond.

The court documents also include several screenshots of replies to the @FitbitSupport Twitter where customers were frustrated with theong waiting and not responding to customer service while trying to get refunds for the recently recalled Ionic. We also independently heard from a tipster that the ion recall process was slow.

Fitbit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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