Can You Trust Your Fitbit?
A class action lawsuit against Fitbit seems to have gained momentum after the release of a new study, which claims that the company’s popular heart rate trackers are “highly inaccurate.” According to a CNBC report, researchers at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona tested the heart rates of 43 healthy adults with Fitbit’s PurePulse heart rate monitors using the company’s Surge watches and Charge HR bands on each wrist.
The subjects were them hooked up to a BioHarness device, which produced an electrocardiogram to record the heart’s rhythm against the data being produced by the Fitbit devices. Tests showed that the devices miscalculated heart rates by up to 20 beats per minute on average. The study was commissioned by a law firm behind the class action lawsuit. Fitbit called. Fitbit has called the study biased and baseless and that it lacks credibility because it was commissioned by plaintiffs’ lawyers who are suing Fitbit.
Why Inaccuracies are Dangerous
But, here’s the thing. A separate study by Ball State University and journalists released in February also showed that the Fitbit Charge HR made a heart rate error of 14 percent. And health professionals say this can be dangerous or even life-threatening for consumers, especially for those at high risk for heart disease. It could lead to individuals elevating their heart rates to such an unsafe level where a massive heart attack is entirely possible, doctors say.
While this class action lawsuit against Fitbit is clearly in the limelight, experts have questioned the accuracy of wrist-worn devices for years. In 2014, CNET tested five similar fitness trackers manufactured by other companies and found that they were inaccurate when measuring heart rates.
Filing a Class Action Lawsuit
Class action lawsuits are a recourse afforded to consumers by the civil justice system. These types of lawsuits are often filed by ordinary people against large corporations and mostly involve dangerous or defective products. Even though class action lawsuits are heavily criticized by tort reform advocates, we believe they have a part to play in society.
They serve as a way for the common man to stand up and question large corporations. In this particular case, we can expect more information to unravel about how accurate these Fitbit devices are. Can we trust them and are we safe when we make that decision to count on these devices. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough.