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FitBit Arbitration Clause Questioned in Lawsuit

Monday, May, 16, 2016

Consumers suing Fitbit are claiming the fitness bands do not accurately monitor heart rate and they believe their claim should be heard in court, as opposed to settled through arbitration, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney. The case would also provide an opportunity for the US Supreme Court to clarify whether or not mandatory arbitration clauses should be avoided in the future. According to attorneys, the Supreme Court would have the chance to develop its views on arbitration clauses and how enforceable they should be under state law.


Some consumers feel they were tricked into purchasing Fitbit products without realizing they would later have to arbitrate to make the products work. The case is currently in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.


The suit claims Fitbits do not provide consistent heart rate readings, especially when worn during times of strenuous exercise. Consumers also believe Fitbit committed fraud by waiving their class action and trial rights in not disclosing the existence of arbitration clauses when purchases were made from third-party retailers. Fitbit’s website does require consumers agree to be bound by an arbitration clause, but third-party websites and stores do not require an agreement before purchase.


Consumers also claim that in order to enable the tracking function Fitbit offers, and to access their data, they must register their devices online. It wasn’t until buyers using third-party retailers attempted to register their device that they realized their devices weren’t fully functional unless they agreed to waive their class action rights.