Nike Settles Lawsuit Alleging That It Knowingly Sold Inaccurate Fitness Trackers


Nike has settled a class-action lawsuit that alleges Nike sold its now-disbanded FuelBand activity trackers for years despite accuracy issues with its method for calculating steps, caloric burn, and its NikeFuel overall activity metric. The suit was initially filed in 2013 and claims that Nike knew about the defects but continued to make deceptive claims in marketing materials to sell the devices.  As an official reseller of the FuelBand product line, Apple was also listed as a co-defendant in the suit.

The complaint focuses on Nike advertising materials that claims that FuelBand “measures each step taken and calorie burned” throughout the day. Activity trackers are often cited for being somewhat inaccurate, and countless studies published over the years have substantiated that the devices are no match for proper medical devices when it comes to measuring caloric burn or activity levels. Still, the devices are consumer electronics products, not medical devices, and for fitness enthusiasts interested in trending overall performance metrics, capturing every step or calorie has never been a necessity. The complaint reads “In truth, the Nike+ FuelBand cannot and does not track each calorie burned, or each step taken, nor does it accurately measure activity for conversion into NikeFuel, and users experience wildly inaccurate step, calorie burn, and NikeFuel readings when using the FuelBand.” Lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the case argue that Nike knowingly committed fraud when it claimed that FuelBand would track “each step taken and calorie burned.”

Nike shut down its FuelBand business unit in April 2014, choosing to focus on its Nike+ digital fitness ecosystem instead. Now,  rather than defend the reputation of a product line that it has since shut down, Nike has settled the lawsuit and will put the issues behind it. The final settlement absolves Apple of any financial responsibility in the case, and requires that Nike pay $2.4 million consumer who purchased a FuelBand fitness tracker between 2012 and 2015. In 2013, Fuelband held a respectable ten percent market share in the $330 million fitness tracker market, meaning that the company was likely grossing north of $30 million each year in FuelBand sales during this time period, so a $2.4 million settlement still makes sound business sense.

Consumers who purchased a FuelBand between 2012 and 2015 need to file a claim on the lawsuit’s website, and are entitled to either a $15 reimbursement or a $25 Nike gift card.

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