The makers of a fitness app have agreed to return thousands of dollars they wrongly took from users, in what strikes me as a very strange turn of events.
The app, Pact, was launched in 2012 and allows people to create diet and exercise targets – with the software automatically taking between $5-$50 in fines from your account if you’re unsuccessful in hitting your targets.
That’s odd, right? Anyway, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided to have a closer look and found that Pact was hitting people with penalties even when they’d met their targets.
The original idea seems to have been to hit failures with fines, and then give the money to those who were successful with their gym trips as a reward. This is proved by using location data to demonstrate you’ve been to the gym and photos to show you that you’re all sweaty. Goodness knows how it works with the diet side of things; photo of a slice of lettuce? You could just throw it in the bin afterwards.
According to the FTC’s Tom Pahl ‘consumers who used this app expected the defendants to pay them rewards when they achieved their health-related goals, and to charge them only when they did not. Unfortunately, even when consumers held up their end of the deal, Pact failed to make on its promises’.
The firm has reached a settlement and will now return $940,000 to users who were wrongly charged.
As if starting a new fitness regime wasn’t stressful enough already.