FreeStyle Libre Not Working?

I’m appealing to the search engines with the title of my post today, because this is what I was hoping to find when I turned to Google for help with my FreeStyle Libre a few weeks back.


I was about halfway into a sensor that I had purchased, when suddenly my reader stopped working. The screen wouldn’t start up when I hit the home button. There had been a few instances in the days leading up to this where my screen had blacked out for five or ten minutes at a time, but it always came back to life. I might also mention that this culminated on a Saturday morning, and I soon learned that I wouldn’t have access to customer service until 8am on the Monday.

When my reader still wasn’t responding well after an hour, I was frustrated. I reached out to @FreeStyleDiabet on Twitter with no reply (I’m not too sure where in the world this account is based).

I tried charging the battery with no success. I got an idea from the instruction manual that the device might be temperature sensitive, and kept it in my pocket while I was sleeping one night with no luck either.

I had no idea where I would stand in getting replacements for my reader and the $95 sensor I couldn’t make use of. Abbott were a little coy at the blogger event in Sydney regarding faulty sensors, and we were told that it would depend on individual circumstances.

When I got in touch with Customer Service on the Monday, they shipped me a new reader and replacement sensor on the condition that I send the faulty one back via supplied packaging. The replacements arrived via express delivery two days later, and I started the sensor up once again.

The replacement sensor, however, was wildly out of range. Most of the time, the readings on the Libre were far higher than what I actually was. I was constantly seeing numbers in the mid to high teens (and even 20s) after meals, and this really took a bit of a mental toll on me. I was pricking my fingers almost as much as I would without it, because I couldn’t trust the numbers. I was driving myself crazy, thinking about the prior two sensors I had used and whether the readings were this far out (and it didn’t only happen when glucose was high!)

I gave customer service a call once again, explaining my problem. I was reminded to factor in the 5-10 minute lag time, which I was confident I had. I was then asked to provide three Libre readings and their respective finger stick readings, and I was put on hold to do a control test. The customer service rep then came back and told me that he would send me a replacement sensor free of charge because I was reporting readings higher than the acceptable difference of 1-2mmol.

I was really impressed at how quickly I was issued with a replacement sensor over the phone. I had meter reports prepared prior to calling, almost expecting that I would have to send through evidence of inaccurate readings. Both times, my replacement products were shipped by overnight express to my doorstep instead of the usual 6-9 day delivery window.

However, I would have expected customer service available to me on weekends, even if just for a couple of hours. I also think that Abbott need to be more realistic about their products developing faults. The returns policy, which you can read here, is rather brief and doesn’t give the customer a feeling of confidence or support when the tech fails.

That being said, I am super grateful that Abbott resolved both of my problems with very minimal hassles.

3 thoughts on “FreeStyle Libre Not Working?

  1. Medtronic have a 24 hour , 7 days per week, customer service, full express replacement within 24hours, no questions asked and the cgm has good bgl reliability and is cheaper then the Free Style Libra.

    I guess my only disappointment with this whole Freestyle Libra was the build up to an “affordable” way to monitor via scanning. I have never used it so i cannot comment on it’s reliability rate but you can asked the company for the data they must hold on it’s reliability rating and who did the research.

    I had some concerns and Medtronic immediately took affirmative action and have found them to be highly professional.

    Good to get some feedback on the Freestyle Libra. Thanks Frank

  2. I agree Frank. I try to only do business with companies with a 24 / 7 customer support service.

    I referred your blog to the blog page for the week of August 1, 2016.

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