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Fitbit Investigates Report of Device Catching Fire

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USA TODAY

 

Fitbit says that it is safe to wear or buy its Flex 2 fitness tracker as it investigates claims of a Wisconsin woman who said the band exploded on her wrist last Tuesday, resulting in second-degree burns.

The woman, Dina Mitchell, told a TV station that she had been reading when "the bracelet melted and I got pieces of plastic burned into my arm. ... I'm going to have a scar from this probably. Can you imagine what it would do to a child?"

In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, Fitbit says it has spoken to Mitchell.

"We are extremely concerned about Ms. Mitchell's report regarding her Flex 2 and take it very seriously, as the health and safety of our customers is our top priority," the statement read. "Fitbit products are designed and produced in accordance with strict standards and undergo extensive internal and external testing to ensure the safety of our users."

Fitbit added, "We are not aware of any other complaints of this nature and see no reason for people to stop wearing their Flex 2."

Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin confirmed to USA TODAY that Mitchell was treated at one of its urgent care facilities.

The slim $99.95 Flex 2 swim-proof band came out in the fall. Inside is a lithium-polymer battery that's far smaller than the lithium-ion cell inside the Samsung's Galaxy Note 7's that caught fire. It's too soon to draw parallels with the Note, which for Samsung resulted in an embarrassing and costly recall.

Joseph Wittine, an analyst with Longbow Research, doesn't see this episode as Fitbit's "Samsung Note moment" and said he's viewing the report with "some element of skepticism."

"If anything, let's be patient with the process," says Ramon Llamas, IDC research manager for wearables. But Llamas adds that he's eager to see what Fitbit's investigation uncovers.

Fitbit cannot afford any bad news. The company is coming off a lousy holiday selling season, and it posted an adjusted fourth quarter loss of $144.2 million.

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April 26, 2017
 
 
 

 

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