Fitbit Flex

Here’s a little wake-up call for companies jumping on the wearable devices bandwagon like there’s no tomorrow. You don’t get to ever think about skin irritation in regard to computers, digital cameras, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. But fitness trackers and health bands are quite a different story: this kind of technology gets worn on one’s person and is in direct contact with skin more or less 24/7.

Case in point: accessory maker Fitbit on Friday announced a voluntary recall of its Force fitness tracker due to complaints of skin irritation. The company has stopped sales of the rash-inducing wristband and will be offering refunds, according to Consumerist

Consumerist broke the story last month that Fitbit customers were complaining of contact dermatitis caused by the Force movement trackers. Disgruntled users who succumbed to rashes took to Fitbit’s forums, demanding the company recall the trackers.

The recall wasn’t prompted by the FTC, the publication claims.

Fitbit claims only a small percentage of Force users complained about the issue.

A letter to customers by Fitbit CEO James Park mentions about 1.7 percent of the Force owners having reported “any” skin irritation stemming from wearing the device on their person.

fitbit_rash

Here’s a statement Fitbit issued earlier today:

We wanted to provide an update on our investigation into reports we have received about Force users experiencing skin irritation.

From the beginning, we’ve taken this matter very seriously. We hired independent labs and medical experts to conduct a thorough investigation, and have now learned enough to take further action. The materials used in Force are commonly found in many consumer products, and affected users are likely experiencing an allergic reaction to these materials.

While only a small percentage of Force users have reported any issue, we care about every one of our customers. We have stopped selling Force and are in the process of conducting a voluntary recall, out of an abundance of caution. We are also offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price. We want to thank each and every member of the Fitbit community for their continued loyalty and support.

Only the Fitbit Force is affected by this issue.

Fitbit also mentions it’s hard at work developing a next-generation tracker, but stopped short of specifying when it might arrive.

To receive a refund for your Force, fill out a form here.