On Wednesday—after initially refusing to recall its treadmills after a six-year-old child died after being pulled under the treadmill and dozens of people reported that they, their children, or their pets had been injured—Peloton announced that it was issuing a recall of the company’s very pricey Tread+ treadmills due to “risk of injury.”
“Risk of injury” is putting it mildly. Via CNBC, emphasis my own:
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had previously warned about Peloton’s Tread+ product last month, after one child died in an incident involving the machine and there were dozens of other reported injuries.
The CPSC had said that Peloton’s treadmills are designed differently than those of its peers, with “an unusual belt design that uses individual rigid rubberized slats or treads that are interlocked and ride on a rail.” That’s instead of a thinner, continuous belt. There is also a large gap between the floor and the belt of the Tread+, leaving room for things to wiggle their way under.
The commission simultaneously in April released a graphic video, captured by a home security camera, of a young boy being pulled under one of the Tread+ machines and struggling to free himself.
The Tread+, which has been pulled off the market, had a price tag of $4,300, along with a $39 per month “all-access membership” fee. According to a release from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been “29 reports of injuries to children such as second- and third-degree abrasions, broken bones, and lacerations.”
Despite the severity of the design problem, Peloton initially declined to recall its dangerous treadmills, which were purportedly designed to, as CNBC put it, “make running easier on the knees and legs,” except I guess when your knees and legs are pulled under the treadmill. Via an earlier CNBC article, which reported on the death of the six-year-old child:
For now, the company is declining to take the product off the market or to make design changes. Peloton said it was “shocked and devastated” to learn about the fatality last month. However, it also issued a statement this past weekend that called the CPSC’s press release “inaccurate and misleading.”
Peloton CEO and Co-founder John Foley wrote in a separate letter to treadmill owners that the company is working on a new software-enabled backup code “that will provide an additional layer of protection against unwanted use of the Tread+.”
“The Tread+ is safe when our warnings and safety instructions are followed,” Foley said in the letter.
Peloton’s CEO is now striking a very, very different note, one that is much too late. “I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+. We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize,” he wrote in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s announcement of a recall. He added, “We have a desire and a responsibility to be an industry leader in product safety.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, people who have bought either the Tread+ or Tread, a slightly less expensive model which Peloton sold for a limited amount of time and also was forced to recall on Wednesday for a separate safety safety issue, “should immediately stop using it” and contact Peloton for a full refund.