Web Exclusive

Suit Claims Fitbit Heart Monitors Faulty

Angry consumers this month are taking Fitbit to task, claiming in a nationwide class-action lawsuit that the company’s Charge HR and Surge heart-rate monitors do not work as advertised. In a separate class-action lawsuit, an investor in California accuses the wearable-technology firm of “fraud on the market” and U.S. securities law violations.

The first suit contends that Fitbit’s heart-rate monitors consistently mis-record heart rates by a significant margin, particularly during intense exercise. Plaintiff Kate McLellan says she bought a Fitbit Charge HR because she wanted to track her heart rate consistently and accurately while working out “to help me exercise safely and meet my fitness goals.” She adds: “Fitbit’s ads made it clear that that is precisely what the heart-rate monitors do. But in my experience, they do not, and when I complained to Fitbit, they refused to refund my money.”

Robert Klonoff, one of the lawyers representing McClellan and other plaintiffs, says that consumers who trusted Fitbit’s claims were put at a safety risk. The lawsuit seeks restitution and punitive damages for members of the class action, and asks for injunctive relief to compel Fitbit to stop selling and advertising its heart-rate monitors.

A Fitbit spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that the case has no merit. She adds that the company stands behind its heart-rate monitoring technology and intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

The second lawsuit seeks compensation for anyone who purchased Fitbit shares during the company’s IPO last summer up until when the news about the allegedly inaccurate heart monitor broke earlier this month, pointing to dropping stock prices to show the impact of that news. Fitbit believes this lawsuit is meritless as well, according to reports.