Some Peloton customers say they have 'no intention' of returning recalled treadmills despite a child dying and several others being injured during use

Some Peloton customers say they have 'no intention' of returning recalled treadmills despite a child dying and several others being injured during use
Peloton
  • Some Peloton treadmill users say they have "no intention" of returning the machines despite potential danger.
  • Peloton recalled both its treadmills following pressure from US regulators after a child died during use.
  • These customers say it's the owner's responsibility to keep children and pets away from the machine.

News of Peloton recalling its high-tech treadmills sent shockwaves around the market Wednesday, wiping out $4 billion of its market cap, and leaving customers - who had invested in these pricey machines - wondering what to do next.

In a joint announcement with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Peloton advised its members to stop using these machines immediately and offered two solutions: either return it and apply for a refund or keep it and have it repaired or moved into a safer room away from children and pets.
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But some of its loyal customers say they plan to do nothing.
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"I am NOT returning it. I love it, and even with an eight-year-old daughter and a dog in my two-bedroom apartment, it's not going anywhere," Tread+ owner Peter Shankman wrote in an email to Insider, adding that he has a rigorous safety routine in place.

"I taught my daughter from the second I got it that she was never to go anywhere near it unless I was right there and gave her permission. Not even to stand on it," he said.

Whenever his $4,295 treadmill is not in use, Shankman removes the safety key (which prevents the machine from moving) and stores this in a place his daughter can't access.
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Read more: Peloton just recalled its treadmill, but customers reported injuries and safety concerns as early as January 2019

Shankman, along with some other Peloton members - who have shared their thoughts in Peloton Facebook members groups and in emails to Insider over the past 24-hours - say that Peloton is not to blame for the injuries or the death of a child that occurred while using its Tread+ machine. "The instructions couldn't have been clearer to me when I bought the unit. Basic common sense: It's a treadmill. It's designed to move my 220-pound ass," Shankman told Insider.
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He continued: "Who in their right mind would possibly think that a machine like that is OK to leave on with kids or pets around?"

Thousands of accidents involving treadmills occur every year in the US. In 2019, there were 22,500 emergency-room visits related to treadmills, according to CPSC data reported by the Wall Street Journal.

But experts say that the unique design features of Peloton's Tread+ make it "particularly dangerous" to use. Specifically, the height of the machine's base off the ground and well as the design of the running belt.
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William Wallace, safety policy manager for Consumer Reports, said that the recall is "the right move for consumers."

"We're very glad to see Peloton come to its senses, apologize for its mistakes, and offer a full refund," he wrote in an email to Insider on Wednesday.

Insider's Bethany Biron spoke with five Peloton users this week who reported issues with the Tread+ dating back as far as January 2019. These customers said that they experienced injuries and malfunctions while using the machine and that Peloton was slow to respond to their complaints. Despite this, some of these users said they would continue to the machine.
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Rachel Cone, another avid Tread+ user who bought the machine in February 2020, echoed Peter Shankman's thoughts. "Honestly, it's terrible that a tragedy occurred but parents need to be held accountable for supervising their children," she wrote in an email to Insider. "If a small child burned themselves on the stove would a consumer sue the company? I think not."

John Mills, who has owned a Tread+ since 2018 and uses it three to four times a week along with his wife and 31-year-old daughter, said that the safety issues flagged by US regulators are concerning him and he's "eagerly awaiting" hardware and software fixes. Still, he has no intention of returning the treadmill in the meantime, he said.

Read more: Experts say Peloton will emerge from the treadmill recall with its bottom line intact - even as its delay in issuing a recall exposes larger safety issues
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For some Peloton users, the decision to return one of these machines is not about safety but about whether the content and classes will be impacted because of these recalls. In an email to Insider on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Peloton confirmed that it will continue to make new content for the treadmill.

Stephanie Andreozzi, who received her Peloton treadmill in March, said she while feels comfortable with the current safety features on the Tread+ and doesn't have children or pets in her house, she's still undecided as to whether to return the machine. "I'm hearing mixed information on how much new content will be available from the peloton. If Peloton isn't going to continue new classes, we would return," she said.
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