Fitbit offering refunds with recall of Ionic smartwatches that can burn you
Roughly how many Ionic units Fitbit sold between U.S. and international markets.
Better late than never. Fitbit finally decided to voluntarily recall its Ionic smartwatch after receiving 118 reports of burn injuries, with several of them being pretty severe.
The wearables company is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the smartwatches following 174 reports of the battery overheating, which has caused burns in some cases.
Fitbit released the Ionic model back in 2017 in three different colorways alongside a special Adidas edition. The smartwatch was packed with features like built-in GPS, 24/7 heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and up to five-day battery life. The battery life was a pretty impressive spec back then, but it’s obviously less so now since it carries a footnote of this major recall.
According to the USCPSC, Fitbit sold around a million units of the Ionic in the U.S. and about 693,000 internationally. The company stopped producing the smartwatches back in 2020, before it was officially acquired by Google in January 2021.
Fitbit said in its recall notice that it found that the Ionic battery would overheat in “very limited instances” after conducting a “thorough investigation.” Even though the overheating reports represented less than a 0.01 percent chance of happening compared to the sales numbers, Fitbit said it’s doing the recall “out of an abundance of caution.”
Serious burns — According to the recall notice, Fitbit received at least 115 reports of the Ionic’s lithium-ion battery overheating in the U.S., along with 59 reports internationally. The overheating led to 78 reports of burn injuries in the U.S., with two of them resulting in third-degree burns and four in second-degree burns. The report added that there were 40 reports of burn injuries outside the U.S.
The recall affects every single colorway, including the blue/orange, charcoal/gray, blue-gray/silver-gray, and the Adidas-branded edition.
It’s not the company’s first recall rodeo, as Fitbit had to do the same for its Force model in 2014. The company received about 9,000 reports of allergic reactions to either the stainless steel casing, the strap materials or the adhesives used to make the smartwatch. In 250 of the cases, customers said they experienced blistering caused by the irritation.
Recall refunds — To make amends, Fitbit has to offer a full retail value refund to anybody with an Ionic smartwatch, even for the customers who don’t use them. You can get your $299 refund at Fitbit’s website, but some users are reporting on Twitter that they can’t enter the reference code to proceed with the refund.
On top of the refund, Fitbit is offering those who have been affected a 40 percent discount for certain Fitbit devices that can be redeemed within 90 days. The company has since expanded its lineup, which now includes the more recent Luxe and the Charge 5 smartwatches, which we haven’t found to be very impressive.