Thanks for highlighting the issue in the Community, we’ve received a few reports of the band issue with the Fitbit Charge and I’ll be sure to pass on your comments too. Generally speaking, we attempt to perform our own stress or reliability testing where possible, but it can be a tricky aspect to cover from a scientifically sound perspective over longer periods (although we still complete reliability testing and surveys).
Unfortunately, despite all this, some issues do not become apparent until later down the track. If we feel there is problem occurring either with a company overall or a specific device we have updated our recommendations or results in the past and we may do so again.
The second componant here is the ‘reasonable use’ factor that is both important to us and also affects the ability to make a claim under the consumer law. What’s reasonable in the case of the $250 fitness tracking device? Personally, I’d expect it to last two years while being used in vigorous excercise, but that’s just me. At an individual level, people need to follow up the complaint with a fair trading or consumer affairs body as part of the process to getting a resolution.
Recently, we heard about a case where a consumer received a positive outcome after damaging their Apple watch in the pool. It was determined that it was not explained to the consumer at the point of sale that “if the watch is damaged by hard impact during physical activity, it is not capable of repair and must be replaced”. It was ruled that this was in “contravention of the consumer guarantee as to fitness for purpose of goods (s 55 of the ACL NSW)".
While this doesn’t offer any guarantee on the outcome of an individual Fitbit band case, it shows it’s at least worth challenging these matters despite any warranty details or rhetoric from the company. By the way, please feel free to put your friend in touch if they’d like any assistance, I’d be happy to refer them to our CHOICE Help service.
I had a Charge and this happened to mine. I was outside the warranty period but still within the 2 year statutory period for Australia. I emailed fitbit with photographs of the damage, and they sent me a new Alto (which I havent ever used, having switched to Apple Watch in the interim). I’m surprised that fitbit is not being more accommodating, they were excellent in my case.
Fitbit are notorious for this sort of thing. Their Fitbit One clip fails with a little piece falling off leaving two metal prongs sticking out that not only cause injury but also put holes in clothing. The Fitbit community pages are full of complaints about this obvious design flaw and their failure to replace the clip FOC. They charge $20! Another thing to watch out for is that the warranty in Australia is half that elsewhere. Another Australia ‘tax’.
Personally I love the Fitbit One (now discontinued) because it is small, unobtrusive and attaches to clothing. It is basic but that’s all I need. I can get new clips from the internet for just a couple of dollars including postage. However, I will never buy Fitbit brand again because they are proving unreliable and do not have much of a customer service focus as you have found.
It is likely they respond to individual cases in an attempt to contain their costs, rather than admit fault and have to replace all of them. An unsatisfied customer who walks away costs them nothing out of pocket, excepting good will and a possible future sale or few reflecting the ‘dollar in my pocket today is better than two dollars next week’ mentality.
I wonder how that simple fact would go in expediting a claim under the ACL, not counting the anecdotal evidence of product design problems.
I have a Charge 2 and the band broke after the 12 month warranty. I sent them an online message, followed up with a photo of the broken band and proof of purchase. They posted a new band as a “one off”. I hope this one doesn’t break because I do like the tracker.
In the interim there is an after market solution for the original Charge. The common issue with the band is the synthetic rubberised straps readily loose the bond to the rigid plastic case of the device. Clearly an engineering issue that any first year materials science student could warn of.
The following YouTube can explain. A couple of dollars local supplier for a foreign made one piece band (overnight) and a few more for a China sourced and importred sleeve (one week plus with free shipping). Not that pretty but effective. Why bother with Fitbit? It should have been a recall and never left to individuals to chase Fitbit one on one!
p.s. my friend is retired and does no more than walk the dogs each day for exercise.
I bought a Fitbit Alta HR in late Jun 2017. By the time the first year was up, the band had broken twice & been replaced both times with new fitbits (by the retailer). The salesperson (at the retailer) who replaced it didn’t seem at all surprised it had broken in such a short time.
Prior to buying the Fitbit Alta HR I had a Fitbit Charge HR - the band broke off after the warranty period, so I didn’t replace it for a while. I had tried to contact Fitbit about it but they didn’t bother responding.
Once my current Fitbit breaks & isn’t replaced, I doubt I’ll bother replacing it.
Update on the band I received in May last year. It’s just broken again! I’m planning to buy one of the cheap alternatives for $15 and see if that lasts longer than 6 months. I’ll also email Fitbit again.
I wonder if the bands on the Charge 3 are any different?
We noticed there is a Charge 3 Special Edition, more expensive. The only difference appears to be the type of band supplied.
My original Seiko Divers Watch came with a rubberised band. It lasted about 3-4yrs. I wore it all the time. Super expensive band to to replace with a genuine. The after market copies lasted barely two years. I gave up after the forth rubberised band failed and went to an all metal fixed link design.
The Seiko is much heavier than a Fitbit. Fit for purpose with a lighter device and newer materials you could expect it’s band should last much longer than the old Seiko bands at 3-4yrs?
Update on my Fitbit Charge 2 replacement band. It started coming apart after 6 months and finally broke this week. So the cheap replacement is no better nor worse than the Fitbit brand. I’ve just ordered a leather band so hoping I get a lot longer than 6 months!
For those who may not know; Fitbit is now being sold to Google! If all goes well, the process which has already started will be completed early next year. You may want to rethink any personal health information you have given to Fitbit because that will in all liklihood be sold to Google too!