Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy | How to Block Spam Calls | Snapchat Symbol Meaning

We may earn commissions when you buy from links on our site. Why you can trust us.

author photo

Fitbit Sued Over Heartbeat Tracking Inaccuracies

by Elmer Montejo on January 07, 2016

Fitbit Charge HRWearable fitness tracking monitor maker Fitbit is in hot water as users complain that two of its tracker bands, the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, do not measure heart rates precisely as advertised. Disgruntled Fitbit customers from Wisconsin, California and Colorado filed a class action suit against the company in a California federal court this week, hot on the heels of Fitbit’s launch of its newest fitness tracker, the Fitbit Blaze.

Plaintiffs allege that the Charge HR and Surge, which were released in 2015, track heart rates inaccurately by a “significant margin,” especially during intense physical activities. The suit asks for actual and punitive damages.

After discovering that her Charge HR did not work as promised, one plaintiff said she complained to Fitbit and sought a refund but received nothing. Another plaintiff compared her heart rate counts from both the Fitbit Charge HR and manual counting by a workout trainer. The Fitbit tracker reported only 82 beats per minute, while manual counting showed 160 bpm.

The suit also mentions a cardiologist who compared results between Fitbit’s heart monitor and an electrocardiogram machine. Fitbit’s gadget was said to consistently report the heart rate inaccurately. Further, when the heart rate went beyond 110 bpm, the Fitbit tracker allegedly did not report any heart rate; when it did, the result was about 24.34 bpm (on average) away from the reliable count.

In a statement, Fitbit said that the case had no merit and that the company strongly disagreed with the allegations and would vigorously fight the lawsuit. The statement noted that although the Fitbit monitors are “designed to provide meaningful data to [users] to help them reach their health and fitness goals,” the products are not meant to be treated as medical or scientific devices.

Advertisements about the Fitbit trackers often include lines such as “every beat counts” and “know your heart.”

Fitbit’s PurePulse technology, which is the central feature on the Charge HR, Surge and the newly unveiled Blaze, does all the legwork in heartbeat counting. The technology involves using LEDs to track blood flow in the wrist. The device then uses algorithms to compute the user’s heart rate. Other makers of wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch, use a similar technology.

If you’re looking for other fitness tracker options, see our list of five fitness monitors that cost $50 or less.

[Image credit: Fitbit Store]


Fitbit, News, Health and Home, Health & Fitness, Exercise Monitors, Blog

Discussion loading


From Fritz Bernazzi on April 17, 2016 :: 10:38 pm

This was the reason i stopped using my fitbit. i switched to a REM-Fit band and its fantastic. when your looking for a monitor that is accurate its important to be picky. great article


Home | About | Meet the Team | Contact Us
Media Kit | Newsletter Sponsorships | Licensing & Permissions
Accessibility Statement
Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookie Policy

Techlicious participates in affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provide a small commission from some, but not all, of the "click-thru to buy" links contained in our articles. These click-thru links are determined after the article has been written, based on price and product availability — the commissions do not impact our choice of recommended product, nor the price you pay. When you use these links, you help support our ongoing editorial mission to provide you with the best product recommendations.

© Techlicious LLC.