Due to safety concerns after the death of a child, and numerous reports of injuries, Peloton is informing consumers who bought their treadmills to cease using the products immediately. Customers should contact Peloton for a full refund. John Foley, the CEO of Peloton, apologized for waiting to comply with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (US CPSC).
The announcement, according to CNBC, is a complete change from Peloton’s initial reluctance to cooperate with the US CPSC. The company admitted it should have responded faster to “resolve the issue after reports of one death and dozens of injuries.” CEO Foley stated, “We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize.”
After the announcement, the shares of Peloton dropped almost 15%, a low for the company last seen in September 2020. The drop in share value erased nearly $4.1 billion from Peloton’s market share.
In addition to the cessation and refund notices, Peloton said it is trying to find a way to repair the treadmills. They hope the repair option can be offered in the next few weeks.
About 125,000 people purchased the Tread+ treadmill and a little more than 1,000 bought the Tread treadmill.
Why are Peloton Tread+ treadmills dangerous?
The CPSC had warned that the Tread+ treadmill was dangerous after receiving a report that a child died using the treadmill, as well as numerous injury reports from other owners. The CPSC stated that there 18 reports about the touchscreen becoming loose and 6 reports that the touchscreen detached and fell from the treadmill.
According to the CPSC, the treadmills made by Peloton differed from other treadmills due to “an unusual belt design that uses individual rigid rubberized slats or treads that are interlocked and ride on a rail.” Other treadmills use a thinner, continuous belt. Also, “there is also a large gap between the floor and the belt of the Tread+, leaving room for things to wiggle their way under.”
In April, the CPSC also released a video which disturbingly showed, through a home security camera, a young child “being pulled under one of the Tread+ machines and struggling to free himself.”
Peloton’s initial response
Pelton initially stated that consumers could continue to use the treadmill provided children and pets stayed away. Peloton also recommended that the treadmills be locked with a key after each workout. The company now agrees that it will work with the federal consumer agency to create new treadmill industry safety standards.
The reactions to Peloton’s new announcement
Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security welcomed Peloton’s announcement even though it was delayed. Blumenthal said, “Peloton unacceptably put consumers at risk, obstructed the CPSC’s investigation and its consumer warnings.”
In addition to its treadmills, Peloton is well-known for its at-home cycling classes, which were extremely popular during the Covid crisis. Peloton didn’t begin selling treadmills until 2018. Initially, Peloton called its treadmill – Tread – but then changed then name to Tread +. The cost of the original model was $4,300. Peloton planned to sell a cheaper version in the US later in 2021. That version is already available in the United Kingdom, but it doesn’t have “the same rigid slats as the Tread+.” The status of the launch of the less expensive version in the US is unclear.
It’s estimated that sales of the Tread+ treadmill account for about 2.2% of unit sales “out of about 1.63 million stationary bikes and treadmills combined” in 2021. It is expected that the recall announcement will cause the company a significant financial setback along with likely damage to Peloton’s reputation.
What are product liability lawsuits?
Anyone who is injured on a product such as a treadmill has the right to file a product liability claim if they are injured while using the product. It is generally not required that the user be the buyer of the product.
- A parent can file a product liability claim on behalf of a child who is injured.
- The parents or family of anyone who is killed such as the child who died using the treadmill can file a wrongful death claim – which is based on an underlying product liability claim.
- Anyone who is injured using the defective treadmill can file their own personal injury claim.
In defective product suits, like the ones involving defective Peloton treadmills, claims can be filed against the manufacturers, the distributors, and the sellers of the products. There is no need to prove fault in a product liability claim. The victim has the right to hold the makers and others in the supply chain liable if:
- The product was defective when it was used
- The defect caused an accident
- The accident caused injuries or death
Damages in product liability claims include:
- The physical pain and emotional suffering of the person who is injured;
- The medical bills of the accident victim including surgeries, doctor visits, therapy, medical devices, and medications for the person who is hurt;
- Any income loss due to the accident including compensation for a permanent disability;
- Compensation for any scarring or disfigurement;
- Punitive damages in cases where the conduct of the manufacturer or others in the supply chain was wanton or negligent; and/or
- Other damages permitted by law, such as loss of consortium.
The Peloton case is a good example of punitive damages. Peloton should have stopped production and issued a recall once it learned of the death of one child and injuries to others. The company could have been held accountable for punitive damages if it continued to make the treadmills – despite the CPSC safety concerns – and someone was injured while using the Tread or Tread+ treadmill.
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington product liability lawyers understand recalls. We work with product safety experts and engineers who work to show that a product is defective due to poor design, shoddy workmanship, or poor instructions. We demand compensation for all your injuries. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed due to a product defect, call our offices at 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form to discuss your case.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.