Fitbit has received a number of complaints over dangerous side effects. They came from users who claim they suffered electric shocks while wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker. The San Francisco company insists this must be due to a build-up of static energy in the user.
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There is a reason Fitbit activity devices sell so well. They are simple to use, they work well and they have a great app to go along with the hardware. Its no wonder the company is a leader in wearables sales.
But a number of users in America say that instead of promoting good health, the device on their wrist is causing them pain. Some have posted their complaints on the company’s community forums. Do a search and you’ll find a number of threads flagging up the issue.
“Has anyone experienced electric shock from the Fitbit Flex?” one user wrote. “My poor husband received a shock last night in bed while I wore my new Flex wristband. Any suggestions about how to prevent this?”
“I too am getting shocks from my Fitbit Charge. After I take it off i get still get shocks for up to an hour later, no matter what I touch.”
“I have had this exact same problem with the Fitbit Alta HR several times. I’m not comfortable with wearing it. ”
“This happens to me. It is not the vibrations for any reminders or notifications it actually stings. Like a zap.”
“I was wearing my brand new Fitbit HR Charge on Monday night and while walking to a dinner table at a restaurant, my Fitbit shocked my left arm twice. It was the first time that I wore it. I wasn’t touching any metal.” another one wrote.
More worryingly one person said “My Fitbit Charge HR shocked me this morning! And because I have a pacemaker I took it right off!! I really loved that thing but I’m scared to use it!”
Some on the community forums have tried to offer an explanation.
“Are you sure it was a shock and not just the wristband pulling out an arm hair? Mine’s done that when I moved.” one asks.
“I bet you put it into sleep mode while rubbing his back. It vibrates when it goes into sleep mode – perhaps he felt that and thought it was a shock?”
Scientists are pretty stumped by the scenario. Meanwhile, Fitbit says the effect is most likely due to a build-up of static electricity on the person or another person they came in contact with. The build up of electrons can be caused by something rubbing against another object. This can easily happen by sliding your feet across a rug or when sliding over the cars seat while exiting the car.
The company has provided us with the following statement.
“The health and safety of Fitbit customers is our top priority and we take all reports of potential issues seriously. We are confident in the safety of our products, which are designed to prevent electrical contact with the user, and we have strict quality control and design requirements to ensure product integrity.
In the very limited instances where people reported what they thought was a shock sensation, we conducted thorough investigations. In all cases, the devices and batteries have been found to be fully intact and functional, with no signs of overheating, voltage irregularities or malfunction of any kind. This report does not reflect the experience of the tens of millions of users around the world who enjoy Fitbit products every day.”
It pretty clear the instances of this happening are very rare and its questionable whether the cause is the Fitbit. Nevertheless, the company has offered replacements and refunds to a number of customers who flagged up the issue. If you’ve ever suffered a shock from your Fitbit, the best thing to do is contact support.
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