After taking the Australian arm of Fitbit to court four years ago, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has now pounced on Fitbit’s US parent arm, claiming the wearable devices company mislead Australian consumers.
“Fitbit has again come to the ACCC’s attention for allegedly misleading consumers about their consumer guarantee rights,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
“We are taking this case against Fitbit because we consider the alleged conduct is serious and that manufacturers should have processes in place that ensure compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.”
Now owned by Google, Fitbit made false or misleading representations to consumers over returns between around May 2020 and February 2022, the ACCC alleges.
Owners of faulty Fitbit devices were told they could only return faulty items within 45 days of purchase, in contravention of Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC further alleges that where consumers where supplied with a faulty device to replace an original faulty device, consumers were told they were “not entitled to a second replacement device if Fitbit’s two-year ‘limited warranty period’ for the original device had expired”.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, products must be of acceptable quality, and retailers must provide a remedy for faulty goods which include a repair, replacement or refund, depending on the circumstances,” Cass-Gottlieb said.
“All consumers have these automatic consumer guarantee rights that cannot be excluded, restricted or modified. The consumer guarantee rights exist in addition to any warranties offered by manufacturers,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
The ACCC said it had received 58 complaints about Fitbit’s dubious returns policy.
In one case, a Fitbit customer representative allegedly told a customer there were two requirements to be eligible for a refund: that it had to be within 45 days the item’s shipment, and that the item had to be purchased directly from the Fitbit online store.
Fitbit in the US will be served papers by the ACCC, which is seeking “penalties, injunctions, a compliance program, and other orders”.
Further complaints about Fitbit's returns policy can be made here.