DLA Piper helps ACCC triumph against Fitbit LLC

Fitbit was slapped with a pecuniary penalty of US$11m for contravening Australian Consumer Law

DLA Piper helps ACCC triumph against Fitbit LLC
John Fogarty

DLA Piper has helped the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) to triumph in a enforcement proceeding against Fitbit LLC.

The ACCC had alleged that Fitbit made “false, misleading, or deceptive representations about consumer guarantee rights” under Australian Consumer Law, as per a 2022 ACCC media release. With Fitbit’s admission that it had contravened Australian Consumer Law, the Federal Court slapped Fitbit with a pecuniary penalty of US$11m.

“This case is an important reminder that all products sold to consumers in Australia come with a guarantee that they are of acceptable quality and a remedy is available if this guarantee is not met. Retailers must take care that they provide their customers with accurate information about their rights under the consumer guarantee regime,” said John Fogarty, partner at DLA Piper.

The ACCC presented 58 instances wherein Fitbit LLC provided misleading statements to Australian consumers regarding warranty periods and representations of faulty Fitbit devices. The statements, which were allegedly made in the period of around May 2020 to February 2022, included the following:

  • that consumers would not be entitled to a refund for a defective product unless it had been returned within 45 days of purchase or shipment
  • that consumers who had a defective product replaced with another defective product were not entitled to another replacement if the two-year “limited warranty period” for the original device had lapsed

The ACCC pointed out in its media release that Australian Consumer Law “does not impose a 45-day refund period, nor do consumer rights in respect of faulty replacement goods depend on when the original product was purchased.” The commission sought penalties, injunctions, and a compliance program, among other outcomes.

Fogarty led the DLA Piper litigation and regulatory team that assisted the ACCC from the investigation phase through to judgment. The team included solicitor Ashvin Sandra Segaran as well as graduates Brigette Ciampoli and Kristen Politis.

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