So Long, FitBit Force, and Thanks for All The Steps

Yesterday was something of a shocker in the fitness tracker world. FitBit announced a voluntary recall of the FitBit Force and the immediate halt of all sales of the device. Whoah.

FitBit’s CEO James Park cites the growing number of allergic reactions people are experiencing from the Force as the reason behind the recall, even though up until yesterday, FitBit was offering a full refund or exchange to any Force customer who was experiencing the skin issues.

I have been wearing my Force non-stop since it arrived in November 2013. I only take it off before I get in the shower. I clean it off with an alcohol swab about once a week. I have never had any sort of discomfort or reaction to it at all.

Goodbye, My Dear FitBit Force

All that being said, I am going to return my Force. Here are reasons why:

  • I’m an IT guy. I don’t like flying without support. The Force is now no longer supported. They stopped sales, they’ve recalled the product. If I keep it, I’m on my own. If something breaks or goes awry in the coming months or years, I get no help from FitBIt
  • If I do ever develop an allergy to it, I have no recourse. I can’t exchange it or return it. The recall won’t last forever.
  • I have a sinking feeling that there is some bigger issue lurking, and FitBit is using the already exposed allergy issue to flush the Force before it becomes more of a liability. I have no evidence of this, but hey, this is a blog and I can write about my hunches. šŸ™‚

So with a heavy heart, I filled out the form requesting my return kit. We’ll see where it goes from there.

What to do in the meantime? Great question. The FitBit blog post hints that there is something else in the works, but really nothing more than a hint. For quantified nerds like me, going without a tracker seems about as silly as brushing my teeth without toothpaste. Instead of waiting for a maybe from FitBit, I’m going to make a jump somewhere else. My current front-runner is the Basis watch. It is bigger than the Force, but it does a LOT more. I’m going to take my time and pick very carefully from the alternatives out there, but if I was going to buy a replacement today, it would be the Basis.

Do you have a FitBit Force? How do you feel about the recall? Will you participate? Will you wait for another FitBit device, or switch to a different brand?

14 thoughts on “So Long, FitBit Force, and Thanks for All The Steps

  1. Murphy & Stanley

    The Basis is a bit large for me. I also love my Force and have ordered the return kit. I will most likely just stare at it for awhile but ultimately will return it. I love my data so unless they announce some real information about the next device I will look for a replacement. I am surprised (or maybe not) at some of the reactions I am seeing to the recall.

    Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      I agree on the size thing. I want to go see one in person at a BestBuy. I’m worried that having something watch-sized on my wrist constantly will get on my nerves. I wasn’t thrilled with how the Force felt on there all the time, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I’m just so impressed with all of the extra things the Basis does, like pulse oxygen, heart rate, skin temperature, and perspiration metrics. I think I’m willing to give up the social part of FitBit to have those deeper metrics.

      Reply
  2. cat

    I have jumped on the next best thing wagon with Fitbit since the very beginning. Loved my Force. But alas, I too ordered my return kit. My hope is that I can soon use those dollars towards Fitbit’s NEXT, next big thing! Class act all the way with FB. Hate to look at another company but will check out the Basis referred to in your blog.

    Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      I completely agree, Cat. I’ve been really impressed with FitBit as a company over the years. The products are good, but having a great company backing it up really seals the deal. I’m just so totally at a loss with what to do in the meantime until the FitBit NEXT comes around. I had the older Ultra, and the smaller clip-on tracker is harder for me to keep tabs on. I really like the wrist band, but with the Flex missing the altimeter it is still not an attractive option to me. I like having the elevation stats in my metrics.

      Reply
  3. Theresa Varga Kavouras

    I was going to keep mine, but I didn’t realize that support and such was going to end. That may make me change my mind. I already have the One and I liked that except for at bedtime when you had to put it in the wrist band. I need to order another one for sure.

    Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      That’s one of those “read-between-the-lines” things. They’re not outright saying that they are ending support, but as an IT guy, I know what that equates to. If you have a problem and contact support, they’ll really only tell you that the product has been recalled and you should return it. I don’t know how long they will honor the full refund, but you can bet it won’t be indefinite. I don’t want to get left out in the cold. They’re offering the refund now, so I will reluctantly surrender my beloved Force. I’m really shocked at how attached I’ve gotten to it. I can’t imagine not having a tracking device.

      Reply
  4. mb cockerham

    Your points of lack of support are good — I was planning on holding onto my Force until this rumored new device is debuted, but your comments are giving me second thoughts. I’ve had the One (lost) and the Flex before my Force and I really prefer the Force data display over the Flex’s dots.

    I’m going to wait a few days and see if there are any further disclosures.

    Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      I think there is definitely some time here. It was just announced yesterday, and once you sign up for a return kit, I have to imagine that will take a while for them to get all of those distributed. Even once is arrives, I think we will have some time to hold on and see what happens next with the news before we put the Force in the box and send it back.

      Reply
  5. Anna

    I think they have to honor the warranty even if you don’t return it, if it were to break within one year of purchase. And I also think that, if you don’t return it now, but develop a reaction to in in 6 months, they would take it back. That is based on my experience with the company. I’m keeping mine, but I understand why people are returning them

    Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      I am hoping Anna. I just know that in my experience as an IT guy, as soon as something goes out of support, support is done. If you call them for something, they just tell you that product is out of support and you’ll have to upgrade to a supported version. I don’t know about the warranty, either. I think if they have issued a recall, they are able to wash their hands of the entire product with no recourse.

      Reply
    1. Greg Myers Post author

      I agree, Darcy. I love my Force and have grown very attached to it. I don’t want to hold on to it, though, then have something happen in a few months only to find that the refund period is over and I’m toast. For me, I feel it is better to cash out now while the offer stands.

      Reply
  6. Raskull

    I’ve been going back in forth between my Fitbit Force and my Jawbone UP24. I was already leaning toward the UP24 because I believe it counts calories better (on a given day, the Force would show +/- 10% steps yet still give me credit for 200-400 extra calories) and the IOS software is far superior, especially the social aspect. This announcement just gave me the final straw in my decision process. I’m filling out the form to return my Force today. I’ll still keep my eyes peeled for their next device though šŸ™‚

    Reply
  7. Anna Hill

    We returned my husband’s force because it was defective but were told that for mine support would continue to be in place for Force products and that the recall was open ended so when I do decide to return mine, I will still get the full refund.

    Reply

Leave a Reply