Over the course of the past year, Peloton became the fad name in fitness, just like Bowflex in the 1990s. First known for its stationary bike, it honed in on the home gym market with large attached screens and a subscriber service to interactive fitness courses.
But its treadmills have become a stumbling block. In 2020, consumers began sharing accounts and videos of Peloton’s Tread and Tread+ treadmills pulling in toys, pets, children, and even adults. The underside of their powerful moving belt is unshielded, resulting in the risk of injuries to anything that presses against it. One alarming video shows a toddler being pulled under the treadmill face-first, while the machine does not stop at the obstruction (this toddler was not injured, only scared).
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 70 injuries and one child’s death tied to Peloton’s machines have been reported. The agency issued an official warning about their dangers in April. At the time, Peloton refuted the warning, claiming it was misleading because the company warns against the risk.
But only two weeks later, on Wednesday, May 5, Peloton CEO John Foley admitted that the CPSC was right. The decision was made to recall all Tread and Tread+ treadmills in the United States and abroad, over 125,000 machines. The decision is certainly a costly one – the Tread retails for $2,495, and the Tread+ at $4,295.
Foley says that Peloton will proceed to work with the CSPC to “set new industry safety standards for treadmills” in the future. He adds that Peloton has “a desire and a responsibility to be an industry leader in product safety.”
But the delay in making the responsible decision has cost Peloton. Last Thursday after the warning and before the recall, their stock dropped 12% to a seven-month low. Whether or not they get back consumer trust and goodwill remains to be seen.
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