Advertising on Fitbit’s website showed a photograph of the product under the headline Fitbit Charge 3 Advanced Health and Fitness. Under the price and colour options were four choices to see more information: Features; Gallery; Sizing; Specs. Under Specs the following information was included
Sensors & Components
optical heart rate monitor
relative SpO2 (1) sensor
NFC (in special edition only)”
(1) https://www.sunrom.com/p/spo2-sensor-probe-for-pulse-oximetry: This sensor is useful in making Pulse oximetry, which is a test that measures what proportion of the oxygen-carrying molecules in the blood (called hemoglobin) are actually carrying oxygen.
The complainant said that while the Fitbit Charge 3 had been advertised as having an SpO2 sensor, it was not enabled on the device. He said there was no way of viewing the information gathered by the sensor in the device itself or on any of its associated apps.
The advertisers said that Fitbit was dedicated to health and fitness and aimed to build products that helped to transform people’s lives. They endeavoured to ensure that clear comprehensive information was provided in their marketing communications.
The advertisers said that the sensor referenced by the complainant had been built into the Charge 3 device and had for limited periods been enabled to collect data as part of a Fitbit Labs beta project. Their engineers and teams were currently evaluating both the data from the beta test and the best format in which to present it to their users. It was intended that the feature would allow users to view this data via the Fitbit app and that all users would receive a software update to access the relevant data once it was available.
The advertisers said that given that the data collected by the Relative spO2 sensor was not currently available to users, they had been very careful not to promote or advertise the Charge 3 in a way that implied it had the feature to track blood oxygen levels. They said they had also included the fact in their press releases that this was a forward feature and had referred to it as having potential ability to track the relevant information.
They said they had never stated on their website or in any marketing material that the information obtained by the Relative spO2 Sensor could be tracked nor had they drawn reference to tracking blood oxygen levels in the list of features. What they had done was refer to the Relative spO2 sensor as being contained within the Charge 3 as to do otherwise would have been misleading.
The advertisers said that they considered it to be commonplace in the technology industry for hardware to be included in products despite the complementary software not being fully operational or subject to updates as technology developed and evolved.
In conclusion the advertisers said that while they did not consider they had breached the requirements of the Code, and without prejudice as they were committed to enhancing their users’ experience on their website they would amend their specification page.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted the intention to remove reference to the feature.
The Committee considered that the Specs page was part of the advertising for the product. They noted that the Relative SpO2 sensor had been referenced for accuracy but considered that the advertising should have indicated that it was not at that point in time enabled. In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertisement had breached Sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the Code.
As the advertisers had agreed to amend their advertising no further action was required in the matter.