Stop using Peloton for weight loss: Are these machines death traps?
Looks like it’s the end of the line for Peloton treadmills – at least for the time being. The company has initiated a massive recall of both of its treadmill models and paused sales indefinitely. The move is a response to numerous reports of injuries from customers and, more significantly, a child’s death in relation to Peloton equipment. If you’ve been using Peloton for weight loss, you qualify for a full refund on your treadmill.
The recall announcement comes a month after the child’s death was announced – a lack of urgency that might hurt the popular fitness company long-term. Even if they successfully fixed all the technical problems, would you still use Peloton for weight loss endeavors, knowing how little they seemed to care about it all at first?
Easy comes, easy goes
Like many other fitness companies, Peloton benefitted from the COVID-19 quarantines during 2020. Unable to go to the gym anymore, many Americans turned to exercising at home, buying workout equipment and signing up for virtual workout tutorials. Using Peloton for weight loss combined both needs, as the company offers online workout classes in addition to its stationary bikes & treadmills.
However, what COVID gaveth, COVID taketh away. While the pandemic boosted Peloton’s sales by keeping Americans at home, it also made it harder for the company to provide proper customer support. Business Insider reported numerous complaints of nightmarish wait times for customer service, and months-long waits on equipment repairs.
Finally, last October, Peloton issued its first equipment recall. The company voluntarily recalled pedals for 27,000 bikes in response to constant reports from customers about the pedals breaking off mid-ride. But even though people using Peloton for weight loss had been injured, nothing catastrophic had happened so far. That would change in a few months.
Delaying the inevitable
News of a child being fatally injured by a Peloton treadmill broke in March, amidst numerous reports of adults, children, and pets having Peloton-related accidents. The company had been receiving these complaints as far back as 2019, but the death of a six-year-old kid finally forced them to confront the design issues in their equipment. Their first move wasn’t a recall though.
Following the news of the child’s death, Peloton CEO John Foley released a statement about the Peloton Tread+ (the machine that caused the tragedy). Foley expressed his condolences and reminded Tread+ users of all the precautions they needed to take to avoid anyone being injured: keep children & pets away from your workout area, double check no one is around you when working out, and so on.
Foley’s statement didn’t cut it. Soon, Peloton found itself facing two class-action lawsuits alleging the company violated consumer-protection laws. The first suit, filed on April 20th, claimed the company knowingly “sold and marketed the device as safe and appropriate for use by families in the home, even though its design makes it inherently and uniquely dangerous to children.”
The second suit, filed on April 29th, accused Peloton of making claims regarding the Tread+ that were “materially false and/or misleading” and failing to disclose “adverse facts pertaining to the company’s business . . . which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them.”
Inherently and uniquely dangerous
Peloton offers two types of treadmills and they’re both being recalled – although each has its own set of problems. The Peloton Tread, the smaller treadmill, was judged by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as being hazardous due to an issue with its touchscreen. The 23.8-inch screen can potentially become detached and fall, as has been reported in at least eighteen occasions.
The problem with the bigger model, the Peloton Tread+, is much more serious – and it caused the child’s tragic death. Due to its design, the Tread+ features a large opening underneath the treadmill with no guard in the rear. This makes it easy for children, pets, and sometimes even adults, to be accidentally pulled under the machine. The CPSC reported that, to date, there have been seventy-two reports of such incidents.
With pressure from the CPSC to take action – and the additional burden of the two class-action lawsuits – Peloton finally recalled its treadmills. The company is instructing customers to stop using the equipment immediately and contact support for a full refund or “other qualified remedy”. John Foley has gone as far as publicly acknowledging his initial reluctance to recall the treadmills was a mistake.
Did you ever use Peloton for weight loss? Let us know in the comments!