Step On, Step Off, Thinking, Err

I was fortunate enough to have one of your GPS watches gifted to me. It was quite a fabulous thing, to be honest. In some ways, opportunities missed – but generally rock solid – and worked as advertised. However – here comes the tale of woe involving one of their Fitbit Aria scales. Which was basically stuck with a blank non-responsive screen, then on either new batteries, or removal of batteries, STEP ON, so I did, STEP OFF, so I did, THINKING, and then ERR. It had ceased to become a set of bathroom scales and was now an object that needed periodic cleaning, and an optional extra to stub the occasional poorly placed toe against.

I cannot quite put my finger on what has annoyed me so much through the whole process – but in an attempt to move on, I am going to try an map out the timeline, and structure my thoughts here before attempting to open the beast, and see if I can resolve the matter myself with some application-of-clue.

The device is just under two years old. If I weighed myself once a week then that would be about 150 odd uses… and possibly cheaper to use a high street “speak my weight” machine on that basis.

As a result “Fitbit – we are not friends anymore.”

Before approaching support I thought I would work through some options on my own:

– Batteries out, look for reset, none – so decide to leave batteries out for a prolonged period in an attempt to zero any configuration;

– Change of battery chemistry – possibly rechargeables were no longer acceptable (usually having a slightly lower nominal voltage);

– Trying different options when presented with new batteries options;

– Reconfiguration from the phone of the device.

All to no avail – so I thought I would Google around to see if anyone else had the same issue. Oh dear, and oh yes. There are a lot. These can be found both within the Fitbit community pages and outside. Most of which involving dead units.

So I thought I would contact support – who were pretty good to be fair – asked the right questions – didn’t treat me like an idiot, and confirmed my suspicion that this first dry run is a load test to calibrate it – adding weight, removing it again, and once it is off again setting where the zero point is. This makes sense.

The error you’ve described may be caused by your scale attempting to calibrate after being moved. For instance, if your Aria is picked up and moved between measurements, or stored sideways against a wall when not in use, the scale will calibrate the next time it is used for weighing. While it is not calibrated, it may show the ERR message.

Having confirmed that the steps above had been completed, I went on to jump through a different flavour of the same to appease the gods as per their request.

Confirmation that after a repeat, we were back to no output.

It was reassuring they could see that I had been using it to make measurements from their end also – and from that when it was last working. However – after checking the serial number and purchase date – it was apparent it was out of warranty:

Thank you very much for getting back to us and for the prompt response.

The pictures attached to your responses are appreciated.
The information provided is really appreciated. We also appreciate all your efforts in troubleshooting this issue with us. However, upon checking our system we noticed that your Fitbit Aria is currently out of our 2-Year limited warranty period, which we could confirm with the information you have provided. For more information about our warranty policy, please visit www.fitbit.com/returns.
Please note that currently we do not have a repair center and our retailers aren’t certified to repair any Fitbit product, which is why we do not produce replacement parts.
Please let us know if you have any other question. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.

 

I think you would agree that without actually saying as much – it was dead. Useless. Landfill. You will need to buy another one if you want it to work.

I do like a good thorough reply. I do. Especially when things are explained, and there are words, from humans, that mean something.

Sometimes, however,  things feel like someone has reached into a bag marked “sucks to be you” and pulled out a selection of paragraphs until it all looked about right and then sent the email:

 

At Fitbit we are committed to creating great experiences that inspire and empower people to live healthier, more active lives. Since we have launched the Fitbit Aria we have made sure that they go through rigorous quality testing before it goes out to the market and once out, we can ensure that many scales are working properly since then, just in case we offer a one year limited warranty and lifetime free support.

Our team ensures that our Fitbit scales go through rigorous testing to ensure that they meet the high-quality standards expected, nevertheless, we always make sure they are informed about all occurrences and discrepancies, so that we can keep improving our products and services.

We strive for excellent customer service and in the past often replaced trackers and scales that were not covered under warranty. Though customer satisfaction remains our number one goal, the demands of running a global business require that we now enforce our warranty consistently. This is why we are not able to provide a replacement.

We totally respect your opinion and we appreciate your relationship with Fitbit.

 

So here we are.

One dead set of scales, and an end to the relationship with Fitbit. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

With a bit of luck, I will find some time to autopsy the inanimate carcas.

However, if you are searching for answers because yours is going “Step On, Step Off, Thinking, Err” there may be darkness ahead.

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