Fitbit apologizes for reported skin rashes, offers refund

Fitbit is issuing an apology to customers who may have experienced skin irritation from its activity-tracking device. The Fitbit Force is a pedometer, sleep tracker and watch that retails for about $130.

The Consumerist reported the initial complaints of skin irritation on Monday, citing help forums on Fitbit’s website. Several users said the rash appeared where a metal portion of the device touches the skin.

In a statement given to CBS News Tuesday evening, Fitbit said that the reported skin irritation could be a result of an allergy to nickel.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), contact dermatitis is most often caused by an allergic reaction to nickel. The common metal can be found in everyday items like earrings, magnets and smartphones.

Fitbit is offering a refund for users who are experiencing skin irritation caused by the device. Here is the company's full statement:

"We are looking into reports from a very limited number of Fitbit Force users who have been experiencing skin irritation, possibly as a result of an allergy to nickel, an element of surgical-grade stainless steel used in the device.

We suggest that consumers experiencing any irritation discontinue using the product and contact Fitbit at force@fitbit.com if they have additional questions. Customers may also contact Fitbit for an immediate refund or replacement with a different Fitbit product.

We are sorry that even a few consumers have experienced these problems and assure you that we are looking at ways to modify the product so that anyone can wear the Fitbit Force comfortably. We will continue to update our customers with the latest information."

The NIH says mild cases of allergic contact dermatitis can take days or weeks to disappear, but if itchiness or pain persists consult a dermatologist.  

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