The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it has started court proceedings against Google-owned Fitbit for allegedly making false or misleading claims to consumers about their guarantee rights on faulty devices.
Australia’s competition regulator revealed that between May 2020 and February 2022, Fitbit claimed consumers will not be entitled to a refund unless they returned a faulty product within 45 days of purchase or shipment, which is in not in accordance with Australian Consumer Law.
“All consumers have… automatic consumer guarantee rights that cannot be excluded, restricted or modified. The consumer guarantee rights exist in addition to any warranties offered by manufacturers,” said ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb.
The regulator said 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.
Fitbit told consumers that once they received a replacement device for an originally faulty product, they were not entitled to a second replacement if Fitbit’s two-year limited warranty period for the original device had expired.
The ACCC, which is seeking penalties and injunctions, said their case includes 58 examples of consumers who were allegedly misled by Fitbit when they complained about faulty devices.
In one case, a consumer complained to Fitbit about a faulty device which was a replacement for another device he had bought more than two years earlier. Fitbit agreed the replacement device was defective but allegedly informed the consumer he was not eligible for a further replacement because the ‘two-year warranty period’ of the original device had expired.
In another case, a consumer experiencing technical issues with his Fitbit device requested a refund after being told that there was no exact date when the issues could be fixed. The consumer was advised he did not qualify for a refund.