Not even a week after Fitbit filed for a $100 million IPO was the company slapped with a lawsuit by a disgruntled customer for “willingly, falsely, and knowingly” misrepresenting “the character and quality” of its sleep tracking functionalities.
Fitbit’s activity trackers are designed to record metrics like steps taken, heart rate, and calories burned, and the Plaintiff of the lawsuit kindly agrees the company does these things well. However, Fitbit also promises its devices can monitor the amount a user sleeps, as well as the quality of his or her shut-eye. As it turns out, the devices do indeed record sleep metrics, they just may not be doing so accurately — and boy, oh boy, is James P. Brickman of Florida pissed.
For representation, the Plaintiff looked beyond the Sunshine State and hired lawyers in Ohio and San Francisco. The suit says Fitbit “has made specific advertisement claims that for an extra charge, the customer can purchase a device which also contains a ‘sleep-tracking’ function which will track ‘how long you sleep,’ ‘the number of times you woke up,’ and ‘the quality of your sleep.’’ It then continues, “In fact, the sleep-tracking function does not and cannot do these things. It does not perform as advertised. Consumers who purchase these products and pay the extra amount for this function do not receive the value of this function for which they paid.”
The “extra charge” the lawsuit references is somewhere around $30 and, according to a study from 2012, the overestimation of the sleep tracking function clocks in just over an hour per night. “These misrepresentations implicate serious public health concerns, as thinking you are sleeping up to 67 minutes more than you actually are can obviously cause health consequences, especially over the long term,” writes the claimant.
No word yet from Fitbit, where the champagne is still probably flowing from the conference rooms following last week’s announcement… We might chalk the motivation and timing of this lawsuit up to opportunism. (But hey Fitbit, fix that tracking problem anyways, would you?)