Fitbit fined $11 mn after misleading consumers about its devices

The Federal Court in Australia on Tuesday ordered Google-owned wearable brand Fitbit to pay $11 million after the company admitted making false, misleading, or deceptive representations to 58 consumers about their consumer guarantee rights to a refund or a replacement after they claimed their device was faulty.

Fitbit admitted that its customer service staff told 40 consumers (between about November 2020 and February 2022) they did not have a right to a replacement product because Fitbit’s two-year “warranty period” had expired.

Of those 40 consumers, 39 had contacted Fitbit about a problem with a replacement product, and Fitbit represented that the warranty period was that of the original device, which had expired, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“In this case, consumers may have incurred additional expense and inconvenience paying for repairs or replacement products because they were told false and misleading information about their consumer guarantee rights,” Acting ACCC Chair Catriona Lowe said.

Fitbit also admitted that its staff told 18 other consumers (between about May 2020 and February 2022) they did not have a right to a refund unless they returned the faulty product “within 45 days of purchase”.

“All products sold to consumers 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, depending on the circumstances,” Lowe added.

Fitbit apologised for its conduct and the Federal Court recognised that the compliance measures implemented under a 2018 court-enforceable undertaking by Fitbit (Australia) Pty Ltd did not prevent the contraventions.

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