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Jawbone's Up Health Tracker Suffers Serious Hardware Issues

With numerous reports of hardware failure, Jawbone offers a refund on its tracking device. You're eligible even if your Up still works.

We were looking forward to getting our hands on Jawbone's health tracking Up wristband since the company announced it back in July. But now, the new product--released at the start of November--faces serious questions about its reliability. Users report serious syncing and charging issues and even wristbands that fail completely after just a few days.

[Read: Jawbone Wristband, App Track Your Total Health]

Complaints about problems with the hardware have existed since it launched and, as a result, the product has suffered in user reviews. For instance, the Up currently has a dismal two-star rating on Amazon. Jawbone has quietly replaced the wristbands for users who have experienced trouble with their Up, but that move hasn't quelled the uproar.

Now the company has gone a step further, explaining the origins of the Up's hardware issues and offering a return policy that may be unprecedented. In an announcement on its website, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman said that Jawbone had tracked problems with the Up to two malfunctioning capacitors in the band's electrical system. These problems can make it impossible for the Up to hold a charge.

[Read: Computers That You Can Wear]

Rahman said that the company will no longer ship any additional Up units until the hardware issues have been resolved. The company also offered to give any Up user a full refund without even requiring a return of the hardware. That's right, even if your Up hasn't malfunctioned, Jawbone will give you a full refund and you still get to keep the product.

Still, these generous return and refund policies will only help Jawbone save face for so long. A lot depends on how quickly the company is able to permanently resolve these issues. If the hardware problems continue much longer, Jawbone's first foray outside of the audio world might also be its last.

Got a problem with your gear similar to the Jawbone' UP's battery failure and erratic behavior? If you've tried going through customer service, but can't get anyone to hear you out, enlist PC World's OnYourSide columnist to work as your intermediary. Email us.

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