updated 03:37 pm EST, Fri February 21, 2014
Company offering full retail refund for those requesting return
As part of a continuing effort to deal with a small percentage of customers developing rashes from the product, FitBit has pulled the Fitbit Force wristband from sale to try and remedy the issue. Earlier this week, Fitbit CEO James Park claimed in a blog post that 1.7 percent of Force customers have complained of skin irritation or any rashes. "Independent test results" haven't found any problems with the battery or electrical systems, with the analysis showing that the most likely problem being allergic contact dermatitis.
The condition is a localized rash or irritation of the skin caused by contact with a foreign substance. Only the superficial regions of the skin are affected in contact dermatitis. Inflammation of the affected tissue is present in the epidermis and the outer dermis.
Contact dermatitis results in large, burning, and itchy rashes, and these can take anywhere from several days to weeks to heal. The most likely offender in the product is the nickel mineral in the FitBit itself, or adhesive residue left over from the manufacturing process.
Fitbit is offering a full refund requiring return of the product, if customers request it. The company has set up a portal on its webpage, as well as a call center. Park noted in the post that the next-generation tracker is underway, and that the company will reveal information on it soon.