Recalled Promotional Fitness Trackers Might Have Come Through Alibaba
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Provata Health Inc., a subsidiary of the StayWell Company, is recalling a promotional fitness tracker it distributed from August 2017 to July 2018. The firm received 13 reports of the tracker overheating during use and while charging, posing a fire/burn hazard. Three of the reports included burns to the user's wrist.
#Recall: @ProvataHealth activity trackers; wristbands can overheat, burn hazard, get free replacement - CONTACT: https://t.co/KDrRiPheYI or 888-343-9820. Full recall notice: https://t.co/BFYGZAld4N pic.twitter.com/c7Xx5YPQD1
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) September 25, 2018
There are a interesting points in this report. The manufacturer, Million Concept Electronic Co., based in Shenzhen, China, is selling the fitness trackers (or at least very similar trackers) on the Chinese online platform Alibaba, which has built a reputation for selling counterfeit goods.
For what it's worth, Alibaba has Million Concept Electronic listed as a "Gold Plus supplier." Here's how Alibaba describes that status:
A premium membership for those higher-level suppliers on Alibaba.com. These suppliers will be provided factory assessed video, panoramic picture, factory inspection report, verified production lines and more.
The company had its factory inspected by SGS, a Geneva, Switzerland-based inspection and verification company that partners with the brands such as Coca-Cola, Walmart, Canon, Best Buy and more.
According to Million Concept Electronics' own description, the company supplies its products, which are mostly fitness trackers, to other recognizable brands, like Weight Watchers and Brookstone. It's far from being some back-alley supplier that's cutting every imaginable corner. And it's true that faulty electronics and other products can slip through the cracks even when sourced responsibly through trusted channels. Hirsch Gift Inc., for example, recalled wireless charging pads in July, while BDA recalled promotional menorahs in March.
Still, the recall circumstances and the possible Alibaba connection underline the importance of ethical sourcing for electronic items, especially when they're wearables. The promotional products industry as a whole is taking sourcing and compliance more seriously than ever before, and is increasingly using metrics like UL certification as guidelines.
For this recall, however, the CPSC is urging consumers to immediately stop wearing or charging the wristbands, and contact Provata Health for instructions on receiving a free replacement item.