Google-owned Fitbit sued over refund rights

Fitbit is being sued by the ACCC over claims it misled Australians about their refund rights.

Fitbit is being sued by the ACCC over claims it misled Australians about their refund rights. Photo: Getty

Google-owned fitness tech firm Fitbit has been dragged to Federal Court over claims it misled Australians about their refund rights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Fitbit made false or misleading claims to at least 58 of its customers who were sold faulty wearable fitness trackers over the past two years.

Fitbit allegedly told consumers they wouldn’t be refunded unless their products were returned within 45 days, and that replacements would only be available where a warranty still applied.

But under Australian Consumer Law, retailers must provide a remedy for faulty goods (including repair, replacement or refund) without exception.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb noted it wasn’t the first time Fitbit had been in hot water with the consumer regulator, either.

The company signed an enforceable undertaking in 2018 after admitting it made potentially dodgy claims about its warranties.

“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,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement on Monday.

In one case identified by the ACCC, Fitbit provided a faulty device as a replacement for a faulty one purchased more than two years earlier.

The customer was then told they were not eligible to have this fitness tracker replaced, because the original device was outside its two-year warranty period.

In another case, a customer was told they didn’t qualify for a refund after Fitbit failed to provide an exact date to repair a faulty device they sold.

The customer was allegedly advised that for a refund to be issued the device must have been purchased within the past 45 days and directly from the Fitbit store.

“The Australian Consumer Law does not impose a 45-day refund period, nor do consumer rights in respect of faulty replacement goods depend on when the original product was purchased,” the ACCC said Monday.

The ACCC will ask a Federal Court judge to impose fines, issue an injunction and order Fitbit to start a consumer law compliance program.

A Fitbit spokesperson said the company would be “reviewing the ACCC’s allegations” and “does not have further comments to share at this time”.

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