Some Fitbit Force wearers are taking off their fitness bands after experiencing a nasty irritation.
The company which created fitness-tracking bracelets released a statement today acknowledging the issue and offering a few reasons as to why the bands sent some customers to the doctor:
We are aware that some of our customers have reported a skin irritation from wearing their Force device. We conduct testing in order to satisfy a variety of internationally accepted standards relating to the safety of the materials in our devices. Fitbit wristbands are made of an elastomer material similar to many sports watches and do not contain latex. The Fitbit Force clasps and casing are made with a surgical-grade stainless steel, which is commonly used in watches, jewelry and other products in contact with the skin.
As with any jewelry or watch, numerous factors could cause a skin irritation, such as nickel sensitivity (surgical stainless steel is an alloy containing traces of nickel), reactions to bacteria that can accumulate in wristbands, or a sensitivity to the material of the band elastomer.
However, our customers are our top priority, so we already have been taking steps to make this right with any customers who feel that they have an allergy related to their Fitbit device including offering a refund or a choice of a replacement tracker. Fitbit will handle all shipping costs and will provide a refund in any difference in price.
Customers first started complaining about the issues over the holiday season on a dedicated forum, as was first reported by the Consumerist.
The Fitbit Force is an amped-up version of its Flex fitness band. It offers all the same features as the Flex including sleep tracking, a pedometer, a GPS system that monitors how far you’ve gone, and a calorie tracker. The Force takes it a step further and and can track how many stairs you’ve climbed, wake you from sleep with a silent alarm, tell time, and will soon support call notifications.
It’s a smartwatch that spends a lot of time at the gym.
The band costs $130 — a point of contention no doubt for those experiencing the irritation. The Consumerist suggests that some customers have resorted to covering the backside of the Force with electrical tape to mitigate the rash.
This has likely affected a very small percentage of Fitbit’s customers. We have reached out to Fitbit to find out how many peopl have encountered this issue.