Australia’s competition regulator sues Fitbit over guarantee rights
Fitbit has been sued in Australia by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The allegation is the wearables manufacturer has misled consumers about their guarantee rights on faulty products.
According to a media release, the ACCC states that certain aspects of Fitbit’s guarantee are not in accordance with Australian Consumer Law. More specifically, between May 2020 and February 2022, the San Francisco wearables manufacturer did not offer a refund on faulty products beyond an initial 45 day purchase or shipping window.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, products must be of acceptable quality, and retailers must provide a remedy for faulty goods which include a repair, replacement or refund, depending on the circumstances.”, reads the statement.
While it may be allowed in other countries, a refund period of only 45 days is not allowed in Australia. The Australian Consumer Law provides automatic rights that cannot be excluded from a warranty.
To make matters worse, consumers were told by Fitbit that if they replaced a device for an original faulty product, they would not be entitled to a second replacement if Fitbit’s warranty for the original device had expired. That warranty lasts two years.
If you go to the Fitbit’s return and warranty policy page, there is no longer a mention of the 45 day money back guarantee. At least, we couldn’t spot one. The text simply reads “If your device is found to be defective within the warranty period, it may be eligible for replacement.”
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The ACCC has cited 58 examples of consumers in Australia being misled by Fitbit when they complained about a faulty product. The regulator is now in court seeking to impose penalties, injunctions and a compliance program.
Fitbit has been in court before
Fitbit is no stranger to court proceedings. In fact, few wearable manufacturers are. It comes with the territory.
The company has been sued recently for claims their devices have caused burns on the skin of users. Consumers purchase Fitbits to burn calories – not their skin – said the lawsuit. Fitbit has also been in court in the past over claims of inaccurate heart rate tracking.
As far as the Australian watchdog, they had a prior involvement in 2018. This was again to do with Fitbit misleading customers about faulty products. Between November 2016 to March 2017, Fitbit had one a year year warranty against faulty products in Australia. Which was not in accordance with the country’s regulations. As a response, Fitbit cooperated with the ACCC and doubled its express manufacturer’s warranty to two years.
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