Nike and its co-defendant Apple are finally settling a FuelBand related two-year old class action lawsuit. While the two companies agreed to a $2.4m settlement over false FuelBand advertisement claims, Apple is not paying out a single penny.
The legal notice states that customers who purchased Nike+ FuelBands between January 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015 are eligible for a payment from Nike. Depending on the number of werable bands purchased, users can make claims for either a Fifteen Dollar cash payment or a Twenty-Five Dollar gift card redeemable at Nike owned stores in the U.S. or Puerto Rico, and online at Nike.com. The $25 gift cards are transferrable and do not expire. This is valid till January 4, 2016 and there is a claim form to be filled and submitted by the customers.
The lawsuit filed in 2013 claimed that the FuelBand advertisements featured some ‘false and/or misleading statements’. The class representative leader of the plaintiffs- Carolyn Levis had claimed that the FuelBand is unable to live up to its ads related to the ability to accurately track steps, calories and overall activity represented by conceptual NikeFuel readings along with a breach of warranty. It was claimed that even though the two companies were aware of the deficiencies of the wearable band, they continued to sell the device thus responsible for misleading the public. They publicized it through television, stores and online.
The court order states that users can even object to the Settlement if they find the settlement amount too small. The objection deadline is October 5, 2015 and customers can follow instructions for the same mentioned in the notice. Apart from this, they can also exclude themselves from the settlement entirely following directives mentioned in the legal notice. There is a fairness hearing which is scheduled for November 4, 2015 to discuss settlement terms, attorneys’ fees and expenses alongside an award for the class representative.
Although Apple had stopped selling the FuelBands, it was reported last year that Nike too will cut off its sales completely to focus on the software business for its other devices. Apple had stopped selling other fitness trackers along with the wearable band at its retail and online stores in March. Now, it has no responsibility or liability over the settlement amount in terms of cash or gift cards even though it was involved in the lawsuit.
Nike is said to pay the entire amount to the settlement administrator along with the attorney’s fees. This did not seem to be a fair deal as Apple was quite involved in the band’s promotions with CEO Tim Cook’s early adoption of the FuelBand and its publicity prior to Apple Watch.