Fitbit hit with lawsuit over rash-inducing wristband

Last month Fitbit issued a voluntary recall of its Force activity tracking band, and now the company is facing its first lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal(s NWS) reports that a lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed on Monday in the Superior court of California in San Diego.

Fitbit (see disclosure) recalled the device because of a rash that affected some users. The company claims that only 1.7 percent of users have experienced this issue, and has been offering refunds to affected users since this news first appeared.

The suit alleges that Fitbit deceived consumers in advertising and promoting the Fitbit Force. It is led by Jim Spivey, a 49-year-old aviation teacher. Spivey purchased the Force in January and hasn’t experienced any skin irritation, but didn’t learn of the recall until looking for more information about the activity tracker on Fitbit’s website.

“I have a concern that there is still a risk of developing an injury for me and others,” Spivey said.

“We are asking for full disclosure of the dangerous aspects of the product and a full disclosure of why it’s causing these injuries,” added John Fiske, the class action’s lead attorney.

Fitbit Force

The plaintiffs want Fitbit to notify everyone who purchased the Force in the state of California about the recall, and to arrange refunds for the cost of the device along with tax and shipping fees. The suit also calls for Fitbit to provide a full disclosure of the cause of the allergic reactions. So far the company has really only said, “The materials used in Force are commonly found in many consumer products, and affected users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to these materials.”

Fitbit believes it has already addressed the issues put forth in the suit. A Fitbit spokesperson provided the following statement to Gigaom:

“Based on our initial review of the lawsuit, the complaint asks for a recall of Force and a refund to consumers. Fitbit took initiative long before this complaint was filed, publicly offered refunds, and worked closely with the CPSC on its voluntary recall program. We strongly disagree with the statements about the product and the Company.”

According to the Journal, other law firms are also planning legal action related to the Force.

Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom.