On March 2, 2022, Fitbit issued a recall on one of its popular smartwatch models due to injuries that many customers experienced.
Which Fitbit watches were affected?
Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch has been recalled because a problem with the watch’s lithium ion battery can cause overheating and burn injuries. Around one million of these watches were sold in the U.S. between September 2017 and December 2021, though Fitbit stopped making the watch in 2020. Nearly 700,000 more Ionic smartwatches were sold internationally.
If you’re unsure which Fitbit model you have, the product’s model number is FB503. The four color options included in the recall are:
- Slate blue/burnt orange
- Charcoal/smoke gray
- Blue gray/silver gray
- Ink blue & ice gray/silver gray (Adidas edition)
None of Fitbit’s other devices have experienced this problem, so the recall only affects the specific model.
What went wrong with the Ionic smartwatch?
Fitbit received reports of 78 burn injuries in the U.S., which include four second-degree burns and two third-degree burns. A total of 115 watch users reported overheating. Internationally, there were 59 reports of overheating and 40 reports of burn injuries. While most of the burns reported were mild, third-degree burns are serious injuries that destroy multiple levels of skin and can damage the tissues underneath like muscles and tendons. They can require complex medical treatment and leave permanent scars.
How was the problem identified?
Fitbit conducted its own investigation based on customer complaints. The investigation found that there was a small but present risk of injury due to the watch batteries overheating. The company then decided to work with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a voluntary recall.
What recourse is available?
Fitbit is offering a $299 refund and a 40% discount on some of its other products for customers with Ionic smartwatches. The company no longer makes or sells the Ionic smartwatch, so replacements will not be available. Anyone with an Ionic smartwatch is encouraged to return it, even if they have not experienced overheating.
Of course, if you’ve suffered a serious burn, a simple refund doesn’t feel like a satisfying resolution. Burns can be frightening, painful and expensive to treat. You may be considering filing a lawsuit to demand compensation for your pain and medical expenses. To see if you qualify to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to work with an attorney with extensive experience in class action lawsuits and consumer protection cases. Contact the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. to discuss your case today.
Has this happened before?
While this specific problem is new, consumers can look at similar product recalls to get an idea of what might be possible. There have been isolated reports of Fitbits catching fire or causing burns, but company investigations have never found that these were caused by the devices malfunctioning. There have been problems with lithium ion batteries in the past, most notably with Samsung smartphones. In 2016, certain Samsung smartphone models were recalled because their lithium ion batteries overheated and caused fires. Two customers who suffered second and third-degree burns from their phones sued Samsung for medical expenses as well as lost wages and pain and suffering.
Fitbit recalled its Force fitness tracker in 2014, and there were several resulting lawsuits. The Force recall was issued because the bands were causing skin rashes and irritation. One Philadelphia woman suffered from a painful rash that required multiple doctors’ visits to treat successfully. She was concerned about long-term scarring and dissatisfied with the company’s response. She sued for emotional distress and medical expenses. A California man who was not injured filed a class-action lawsuit against Fitbit because he believed the company did not take strong enough action to warn customers about the danger.
To see if you qualify to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to work with an attorney with extensive experience in class action lawsuits and personal injury cases. Contact the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. to discuss your case today.
Can I sue if I have an Ionic smartwatch?
An experienced attorney will consider the specific details of your injury, as well as any additional information that comes out about the problems with the Ionic smartwatch, to determine which approach to take.
What should I do if I was injured by the Ionic smartwatch?
If you’ve been injured by your Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, you may be able to sue for damages. Make sure to seek medical care for your injuries, and keep records of what treatment you need and how much it costs. To see if you qualify to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to work with an attorney with extensive experience in class action lawsuits and personal injury cases. Contact the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. to discuss your case today.