The world’s most popular fitness activity tracker, Fitbit is under scrutiny after users filed a class-action lawsuit. In the lawsuit, the users claim the Fitbit device doesn’t accurately display the heart rate, which could be dangerous to their health. The lawsuit names the Charge and Surge as the models that are displaying inaccurate fitness activity data.
Fox News reported on Thursday the Fitbit users claim the device missed heartbeats and displayed dangerously low heart rates. The lawsuit alleged the Surge and Charge were falsely advertised and the plaintiffs want Fitbit to be held accountable for the faulty activity tracker. The Fitbit models under fire retail for $150-$250, and were advertised as a device capable of continuous and accurate heart rate monitoring. Fitbit claimed the heart rate monitor made their device superior to their competitor devices on the market.
— CBS News Sci Tech (@CBSSciTech) January 7, 2016
One user stated in the court documents their Fitbit Charge gave a reading of 82 BPM when a separate heart rate monitor watch registered the heart rate at 160 BPM. The plaintiff, Teresa Black, initially was confused by the low rate on the Fitbit display, as she felt exerted. Teresa stated if she would have tried harder to get her heart rate in ‘fat burning zone’ while exercising, raising her heart rate to over 135 BPM on the Fitbit device, it would have had a dangerous effect on her health.
Plaintiff David Urban claims that his Fitbit Surge constantly under-reported his heart rate during high-intensity workouts. Despite his effort and hard exercise, Urban never saw a reading over 125 BPM. David explained that with his heart rate monitor watch, he would frequently see heart rates over 170 BPM; so, when his Fitbit showed a lower rate, he was confused. David Urban has a family history of heart disease and his doctors recommended his heart rate to stay around the maximum of 160 BPM. In fact, David told Ars Technica, the selling point on the Fitbit device was the continual heart rate monitoring.
— Pocketnow (@Pocketnow) January 7, 2016
According to the Fitbit lawsuit, a certified cardiologist compared the device’s register heart rate BPM to an electrocardiogram (ECG), and found the Fitbit was underestimating the heart rate by an average of 25 BPM; however, at times, was as high as 75 BPM difference. The cardiologist’s research found that when the user’s heart rate increases to over 110 BPM, the Fitbit does not accurately measure the data.
Fitbit issued a statement to the press about the lawsuit.
“Fitbit stands behind our heart rate technology and strongly disagrees with statements made in the complaint and will fiercely defend the lawsuit. Fitbit has made a name for themselves as the makers of the world’s most popular wrist activity trackers on the market. The devices are meant to assist the users in reaching their health and fitness goals and were not intended to be a scientific or medical device.”
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 7, 2016
The plaintiffs argue that the Fitbit does not work in the way that it was initially advertised, and the company is guilty of false advertising. Fitbit claims they will defend the honor of their company (and device) and the gadget was never intended to be used as a medical device. Fitbit noted in the statement to the press the heart rate monitoring device was created to be a helpful tool to help their health-conscientious customers reach their health and fitness goals.
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