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How's your F-ITCH-bit? Surge gizmo sparks rash of complaints, watchdog's attention

Just take the damned thing off then, makers advise

Fitbit Surge wearers are complaining about sore and scabby skin after strapping on the exercise-snooping wrist-gizmo. A US watchdog has told us it is probing the gripes.

The $250 Surge was launched at the start of the year and is Fitbit's smartest and most expensive wristband yet. As well as the usual health-monitoring functions, the gadget displays notifications and vibrates to get your attention about stuff, signals all sent over from your smartphone. It's supposed to have a seven-day battery life to encourage longer use.

But in the past few weeks, social networks have been alight with Surge users upset about rashes, blistering and other skin complaints on their wrists. A shared Google document on the issue has shown hundreds of complaints about the unintended side effect of the sensor band.

It isn't the first time this has happened, either. Twelve months ago Fitbit issued a voluntary recall and refund scheme for its Force wristband after similar problems were reported. The company blamed this on allergic contact dermatitis that was triggered by adhesives in the Force wristband, and said it had learned its lesson from the affair.

With regard to the latest outbreak, the company told the Bay Area's ABC7, here in California, that the skin issues are "likely from wearing the band too tight, or sweat, water or soap... under the device," and recommends taking the wristband off until the skin heals.

That's not going to fly with people who've splashed out a fair chunk of change for the Surge, and Fitbit might be forced to issue a recall again. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed to El Reg that it is investigating the issue with Fitbit and will publish its findings later in the year.

Fitbit did not return a request for comment. ®

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