The recall of up to 135,000 treadmills will cost Peloton about $165 million and unknown harm to its chic reputation.
A software update will add some safety features to the voluntarily recalled Peloton treadmills for the customers who decide to keep them despite the costly and reputation-defacing voluntary recall of the products.
The Tread and Tread+ now have a “Tread Lock” feature that requires a four-digit code to start the recalled Peloton treadmills and also locks the machines after 45 seconds of inactivity outside of a class. After downloading the latest software update, the “Tread Lock” will be added to the treadmills.
The code is a safeguard to stop the machine when an adult is not using it. It is one way address to the issue that caused the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a scorching advisory in mid-April, encouraging parents and even pet owners to cease using the Tread+ and eventually lead to the recall. The agency said small children could be pulled underneath the recalled Peloton treadmill and pinned down. The CPSC has said it investigated 70 incidents, including one that resulted in one child’s death.
Peloton is still moving forward with the recall. Owners can receive refunds for their $4,295 Tread+ machines and $2,495 Treads. They can also get a hardware fix to prevent the screen falling off the Treads and even enlist the company’s help moving the machines to another room of their homes.
At the time of the Peloton treadmill recall, there were about 1,000 Tread machines in use in the U.S. and 125,000 models of the Tread+. The Treads were a minor product introduced three years ago. The Tread+, unveiled six months ago, represented Peloton’s attempt to transpose the experience of their wildly popular connected stationary bicycles to a treadmill.
In costs related to the recalled Peloton treadmills, it is expected the company will lose $165 million. The scandal also caused a beating of the company’s stock prices, which fell to half of the peak they reached after the COVID-19 pandemic helped popularize high-end home workout products.
But consumers don’t have to return the products and some are not.
“I don’t have kids, and I’ve taken steps to ensure my dog stays away from the Tread+” wrote one user within the sizable Reddit community dedicated to Peloton. “Overall, I’m no longer concerned about harming others with my Tread. As long as the Tread isn’t going to harm me, I feel comfortable keeping it.”
Some were openly scheming about keeping their treadmills until the end of the refund window, November 6, 2022.
“So basically I can use mine for another 18 months and then get a refund if something better is released?” wrote one. “Not a bad deal.”
Others were stunned that the company did not install a seemingly obvious safety feature when it designed the much-awaited Tread+.
“My cheapass vacuum has that auto-stop feature if the spinner brush gets jammed,” one commenter chimed in. “You’re telling me this treadmill that costs thousands doesn’t?!?!”
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.