Fitbit issues Recall of Fitbit Force
Leading fitness tracker maker Fitbit suffered a major setback Friday, when the company announced it had decided to recall its latest high-tech wristband — the Fitbit Force.
The Force was released last October to positive reviews and strong sales (with many vendors selling out of the device; to this day, you'll be hard-pressed to find a Best Buy that still has them in stock). But almost immediately, some users started complaining of a skin rash when wearing the wristband — something that had not been reported with its predecessor, the Fitbit Flex.
"While only 1.7% of Force users have reported any type of skin irritation, we care about every one of our customers," wrote Fitbit CEO James Park, announcing the voluntary recall. He said independent lab analysis confirmed that "some users may be reacting to the nickel present in the surgical-grade stainless steel used in the device."
The recall offers users a full refund if they sign up for one here — but the company also says its checks won't be delivered for two to six weeks
Park was unclear on whether the Force would be offered again, or replaced with an entirely new device. "To our Force community, rest assured we’re working on our next-generation tracker and will announce news about it soon," he wrote. We've reached out to Fitbit for clarification.
Nickel allergy is one of the most common forms of skin inflammation, and is usually set off by jewelry or zippers. However, a device that is intended to be worn 24 hours a day — sleep tracking included — is likely to give users a more serious reaction.
The most troubling thing about nickel allergy, according to the Mayo clinic, is this: once you develop it, you will always be sensitive to the metal.