Fitbit Faces Class-Action Lawsuit For Faulty Heart Rate Reading

Apparently every beat does not count

In the last five years, the new trend in fitness has been the iconic, wearable Fitbit. Since the company’s successful debut, it has experienced mixed success and quite a few lawsuits as well. Users claim that the heart rate monitor is faulty. Apparently, their slogan, “every beat counts” is not holding up.

The company is under fire, in its third lawsuit of the last three years. Already sued for causing rashes and failing to monitor sleep time accurately, Fitbit faces even more trouble. The lawsuit claims that the wearable heart rate monitors do not accurately measure heart rate. The two products that include this feature are the Charge HR ($130) and the Surge ($230).

The three plaintiffs of the suit are from California. One of them spoke to Today magazine, “I’m a mom. I like to work out. I like to be fit,” said Katie McLellan, “My Fitbit said that my [heart rate] was at 114, which is really, really low.”

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Suspecting that something was wrong with the product, McLellan tested its reading against a machine at the gym, realizing that it was dysfunctional. She called the company and was rudely treated and denied a refund by a customer service representative.

“She made it sound like it was my fault, like I was using it wrong or wearing it wrong. She said it’s not really meant to track your heart rate all of the time,” said McLellan.

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Fitbit released a statement saying that the lawsuit has no merit, and they will continue to defend their technology. In the spring of 2014, the company faced a suit for complaints about skin irritation caused by the Fitbit Force wristband. After numerous complaints, they recalled the product from the market and released a similar device: the Fitbit charge. The company claims that it had undergone substantial testing.

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Fitbit is defending themselves from the current suit by trying to cover their tracks, stating that the Fitbit products are not intended for medical or scientific purposes, but to provide helpful data for those who track their fitness.

Mclellan’s lawyers want a class-action lawsuit against Fitbit for the mistreatment of their customers. The lawyers criticized other facets of the product such as the requirement to log in on the website before the device can be used.

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“You can’t even use it as a watch to tell what time it is unless you register it on the website,” said Bob Klonoff, a lawyer behind the lawsuit, “And that’s when you have to agree to all of these terms.”

Apparently, the registration terms include an agreement that prevents the user from taking certain legal action against the company. Sneaky…

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Others are becoming disillusioned with the company’s products, especially early in January, when Fitbit announced its new product, the Blaze. The company’s stock plummeted 20% after releasing the product, leaving the public unimpressed.

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There was a case, however, that the Fitbit told a woman that she pregnant! A Reddit user named David wrote a post in a Fitbit forum about how his wife’s Fitbit had been giving an unusually high heart beat reading for a few days.

“My wife’s Fitbit is showing her heartbeat being consistently high over the last few days. Two days ago, a somewhat normal day, she logged 10 hours in the fat burning zone, which i would think to be impossible based on her activity level. Also, her calories burned do seem accurate. I would imagine if she was in the the fat burning zone she would burn a ton of calories, so its not lining up. I’m not sure if something is wrong with the sensor. is there a way to reset or recalibrate the device? Id like to try that before I contact customer service about a possible replacement.”

Another user responded, asking if his wife, Ivonne, might be pregnant. David was shocked, but he also thought that it was entirely possible, he and his wife were trying to get pregnant for the past few months. He responded, “Pregnancy is a strong possibility. I might be a dad. YIKES. Now I gotta watch my own heart rate.” His wife took a pregnancy test shortly after. Sure enough, it was positive. The NYC couple has been busily preparing for their new addition, arriving in October. “It’s definitely a great story to tell [the baby] one day,” David said.
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This case obviously worked out in Fitbit’s favor. Other things have influenced the accuracy of a Fitbit’s heart rate reading, such as firmware updates, according to Reddit users (via The Guardian).

We’ll see how long it takes for the current lawsuit to get to the heart of things…

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