Popular exercise equipment company recalls two treadmill models.
Peloton, the popular exercise equipment enterprise, is facing a high-profile safety recall for its Tread+ treadmills, which have been tied to dozens of serious accidents from use. It announced in May that it would be voluntarily recalling the Tread+ after “one child died and other children and adults were injured after being sucked under the treadmill’s rotating surface,” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The issues began in March of this year after a 6-year-old boy was fatally injured. He was pulled under a Tread+ at home, and Peloton reported the incident to the CPSC. Chief Executive Jeff Foley published a warning letter asking families to keep children and pets away from the machines.
However, Peloton at first refused to cooperate with an official recall. For a month, it declined to give the CPSC the name of the child killed in the treadmill accident. CPSC officials said, “Peloton’s refusal delayed its own safety investigation.” Peloton responded that was “only trying to protect the privacy of its customers.”
The Peloton problems have drawn the attention of a group U.S. lawmakers, and a new bill, the Sunshine in Product Safety Act, introduced to Congress would alter an existing policy within the Consumer Product Safety Act that, if passed, would prevent interference from regulators and allow manufacturers to restrict information shared to the public in the case of a product defect.
Then, the company began to face backlash from customers and stockholders, watching its stock price take a tumble. And Foley eventually apologized for the company’s initial reaction.
“CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death. In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately,” the CPSC said on its website.
Customers were offered a full refund for the machines and Peloton agreed to stop selling them. Anyone who wished to continue using the equipment could do so with a software change locking the treadmills with a passcode. Implementing these changes, however, has proven to be easier said than done.
The new software requires Tread+ users to pay $39 a month online membership, a service previously deemed optional. “Feels like deceptive and unfair business practices,” tweeted one user and a CPSC spokesperson said the agency is investigating.
Peloton said in a statement that “current technical limitations mean a membership is needed for the passcode to work.” However, the company said it was “waiving the membership fee for Tread+ owners for at least three months, so customers would not lose money while Peloton worked to address the software bugs…Peloton has no intention of making any owner of our products pay extra for safety.”
The same day that the Tread+ was recalled, Peloton also announced a safety recall involving the Tread. (a smaller model) due to a defect in which touch-screen monitors could detach and fall. And the CPSC learned there were dozens more accidents involving both.
“The agency had never seen a pattern of injuries like this with other treadmills,” the CPSC stated.