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Apple, Nike settle US lawsuit over FuelBand inaccuracies

Apple, Nike settle US lawsuit over FuelBand inaccuracies

Nike will pay out up to US$2.4 million to customers

Apple and Nike have settled a class-action lawsuit alleging the FuelBand fitness tracker inaccurately tracked workout data like calories burned and steps taken.

Nike will pay out up to US$2.4 million to people who purchased its FuelBand wearable between Jan. 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015. Eligible customers must file a claim by Jan. 4, 2016 and can receive either a $15 check or a $25 Nike gift card, according to a settlement details posted online.

Apple won't have to make any payments; it sold the FuelBand in its retail stores, but stopped carrying the device prior to the launch of the Apple Watch in April.

According to the 2013 lawsuit, Nike and Apple violated consumer protection laws by making false claims about the FuelBand's ability to track workout data.

"In truth, the Nike Plus FuelBand cannot and does not track each calorie burned, and users experience wildly inaccurate calorie burn readings when using the FuelBand," said the complaint.

Plaintiffs also alleged Apple and Nike failed to fully honor the wearable's warranty.

Nike and Apple deny these claims, but agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense, distraction and inconvenience of litigation, according to court documents.

The accuracy of the sensors used by wearable devices has been questioned, especially by the medical community. Doctors would like the sensors to be tested and the results validated before data collected by consumer-grade wearables is used to make medical decisions.

Last year Nike said it would focus on software development rather than hardware. The FuelBand is no longer available on Nike's website, but a Nike fitness tracking app for the iPhone can be downloaded from the Apple store.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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