Is Fitbit trying to force new sales claiming it’s just a malfunctioning device?

For those who are not familiar with the company Fitbit, they were once the kings in wearable fitness trackers. Their wearable devices come in a variety of styles and prices. The company went public in June of 2015 and after hitting its highest point in August of 2015, things quickly began to go downhill. After a lot of ups and downs, Fitbit’s stock has seen a significant downfall since 2017 and continues to disappoint shareholders. The company went from $51 per share to falling just below $5 per share in February 2018, to today trading at just under $5.50 per share.

Fitbit has struggled a lot throughout the last 2 years, from failing to raise stock value to failing to sell large enough quantities of their new fitness trackers, especially with competitors such as Apple and Samsung that came in and stole the majority of the niche market with their own wearable devices.

It is obvious that fitbit is losing customers and losing profits, while constantly searching for solutions to meet shareholders expectations. Fitbit relies heavily on sales of their wearable fitness trackers to stay afloat, but how do they plan on selling more fitness trackers if less and less people are buying them?

With profits not meeting expectations, it is possible that Fitbit could be cutting corners on the quality of their products. They have admitted that they have cut prices on some of their fitness trackers in order to make sales, but usually when companies are cutting prices, they are also cutting costs which could also mean cutting corners on quality and functionality. However, with so many technology advancements throughout the years where it is no longer necessary to physically go to a store in order to have a tech gadget fixed or restored, could it also be possible for companies to cause software glitches to their devices.

From personal experience, I own a Fitbit Charge 2 and had a fishy experience with my device. After seeing that I had a low battery on my device, I plugged it into the charging port, like I usually do. This time however, the battery would not hold a charge. I followed all the troubleshoot options with zero results. I reached out to customer support where they were no help since my fitness tracker was no longer covered under warranty, 4 months over the allowed time period to be exact. Customer support did however offer me a 25% discount off of a new device from the Fitbit store. I always take good care of all my electronic devices, so I was definitely shocked when this had happened out of the blue. Due to my curious nature I decided to do some research and investigate if there were any other reports of similar issues with the fitness trackers.

Filtering through the community Fitbit forum, there were a lot of reports of sudden unexpected issues with Fitbit devices, that strangely were all reported within the last few weeks. Digging further through the history, there were many reports last year as well, but oddly the complaints only correlate within the first few months of the year. The reports all claimed sudden unexpected battery issues or display issues. There was also a forum where a hefty number of users had begun reporting battery issues with their device as of March 31st 2019. Consumer reports say that Fitbit customer support would not offer any assistance to fixing current devices, but only offer a 25% discount off of a purchase of a new device, and the coupon being valid only X number of days. One customer wrote that they were having software issues with their new Fitbit Charge 3 a few months after purchase, when this person reached out to customer support, they were apparently no help and responded saying that it was a known issue and they are working on a solution, but there was no ETA available. After being aware of a hardware issue with the new Fitbit Charge 3, it took Fitbit weeks before acknowledging that there was faulty equipment with the devices still under warranty, and only replaced a selected number of consumer devices. There seems to be a trend happening with Fitbit and their devices. It could be that cost cutting is causing product quality to suffer, and as a result customers are suffering as well, or it could be that Fitbit is purposely causing glitches to their devices. Regardless of what is causing these fitness trackers to malfunction, Fitbits customer service is definitely set up to try and force new sales to users. Compared to their competitors such as Apple and Samsung where customer service is top priority, Fitbit needs to step their game up before they lose all their customers. Seeing the current trend that is happening with the company and consumer reports, I would not recommend purchasing a Fitbit fitness tracker as the cost vs. benefit does not measure up to competitor fitness trackers. There are many cheaper options on the market that provide the same features as fitbit devices for the same or similar product lifespan. If someone is willing to spend more for a device with better quality and a longer product lifespan, then Apple and Samsung have a variety of options that could be right for you.

Article By: Joanna Kimborowicz

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