Australia’s competition regulator launched legal action against Alphabet-owned Fitbit for alleged false or misleading representations about consumer guarantee rights on faulty devices.

In a statement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claimed that between May 2020 and February 2022, Fitbit told consumers they would not be entitled to a refund unless they returned a faulty product to the company within 45 days of purchase or shipment.

It further stated Fitbit said customers who had been supplied with a faulty device as a replacement for an original faulty device meant they were not entitled to a second replacement if its two-year limited warranty period had expired.

The ACCC explained both these terms were not in accordance with Australian consumer law and the company should have processes in place to ensure compliance.

No modifications to law
ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said Australian law meant all “products must be of acceptable quality, and retailers must provide a remedy for faulty goods which include a repair, replacement and refund, depending on the circumstances”.

She added all consumers have these automatic guaranteed rights “that cannot be excluded, restricted or modified”, and were offered in addition to any warranties offered by manufacturers.

The ACCC is seeking penalties, injunctions, a compliance programme and other orders for Fitbit.

Its case currently includes 58 examples of consumers allegedly misled by Fitbit when they complained about faulty devices.