Just days after its shares dropped a whopping 18%, Fitbit just took another big hit. The wearables company has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit alleging that its heart rate monitoring technology is inaccurate, and that the company is knowingly misleading users.
A trio of users launched the lawsuit and claim that Fitbit's PurePulse heart rate monitoring technology is inaccurate by a "significant margin," particularly during periods of intense exercise. (The feature is available Fitbit's Charge HR
PurePulse, which will be included in the recently announced Blaze
The plaintiffs say they purchased the devices off the company's advertised promise that the trackers accurately track heart rates. One person in the lawsuit claims that her Charge HR recorded a heart rate of 82 beats per minute, but when her trainer recorded her heartbeat with a different device, it registered at the much higher rate of 160 bpm. The other plaintiffs make similar claims.
Here's what Fitbit told Fortune Magazine when asked to comment:
We do not believe this case has merit. Fitbit stands behind our heart rate technology and strongly disagrees with the statements made in the complaint and plans to vigorously defend the lawsuit. Fitbit is committed to making the best clip and wrist-based activity trackers on the market. Our team has performed and continues to perform internal studies to validate our products' performance.
PurePulse provides better overall heart rate tracking than cardio machines at the gym, as it tracks your heart rate continuously - even while you're not at the gym or working out. But it's also important to note that Fitbit trackers are designed to provide meaningful data to our users to help them reach their health and fitness goals, and are not intended to be scientific or medical devices.
No doubt, and it bears repeating: Users need to be aware that consumer fitness trackers are not scientific or medical devices
Fitbit has faced legal troubles before. Back in 2014, a number of users suffered skin rashes after using Fitbit Force, sparking a lawsuit. The company eventually removed the device
Photos by Michael Hession