Global tech

Fitbit hit with $11 million fine over misleading users about their guarantee rights

- December 13, 2023 2 MIN READ
fitness tracker
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It’s the second time a Fitbit Group company has fallen foul of the consumer watchdog when it comes to consumer guarantees

In 2018, Fitbit (Australia) gave the ACCC a court-enforceable undertaking after a similar incident involving warranties for faulty products, but the ACCC says the latest incident is not in breach of that undertaking.

Fitbit, now owned by Google, sells its wearable fitness products via its website and retailers.

In the latest breach, Fitbit customer service staff told 40 customers between late 2020 and early 2022, they did not have a right to a replacement product because the two-year ‘warranty period’ had expired. But those cases it involved a faulty device provided as a replacement for the original faulty device.

The Fitbit customer service representative agreed the new device was defective but informed the customer that they were not eligible for a replacement, saying “Your device does not meet the requirements for a replacement…. based… on the original purchase date.”

The company admitted that was in breach of Australian Consumer Law, as well as accepting it was wrong when it told 18 others they did not have a right to a refund unless they returned the faulty product ‘within 45 days of purchase’.The ACCC began legal action in October last year against Fitbit LLC for alleged false and misleading representation to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights.

Fitbit admitted that its representations were false or misleading and apologised for its conduct.

ACCC acting chair Catriona Lowe said Australian Consumer Law says that all products come with a guarantee that goods are of acceptable quality, and retailers must provide a remedy for faulty goods if this guarantee has not been met, which includes repair, replacement or refund.

“We took this action as a reminder to Fitbit, and other businesses, that they must honour their customer’s consumer guarantee rights without restrictions and not mislead consumers about these rights,” Ms Lowe said.

“We are pleased Fitbit admitted its misconduct, especially since this is the second time we have had to respond to a company in the Fitbit group with concerns about representations involving consumer guarantee rights.”