Peloton Treadmill Lawsuit
On April 17, 2021, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report urgently warning consumers to stop using the Peloton Tread+. The CPSC released this warning after discovering the workout machine caused one death and dozens of injuries to children and a pet sucked underneath the Tread+ (formerly known as the Tread). The CPSC found this warning necessary, especially after less than a month ago the treadmill’s creator, Peloton, announced that a child died from injuries caused by the Peloton treadmill.
The CPSC continues to investigate any additional incidents of injury or death, but if you purchased a Peloton treadmill and no longer want it in your home, you may be entitled to a full refund for the machine’s purchase price. A recent consumer class action lawsuit filed by Cutter Law seeks compensation for consumers who purchased a Peloton Treadmill, specifically, a refund, given the extraordinary danger the machine poses to children and pets.
Additionally, if a Peloton treadmill injured you or your family member, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to a product liability attorney today to learn about your rights and determine whether you can receive a refund for your purchase or compensation for injuries caused by the Tread+.
Table of Contents
What is the Peloton Tread+?
The Peloton Tread+ is the most expensive piece of workout equipment that Peloton offers, priced at $4,295 or $111 per month for 39 months, not including the $39 per month membership fee. The equipment is still on sale currently on the Peloton website and boasts that it’s “Your hardest training session. Our softest road.” The equipment has a built-in shock-absorbing belt and 59 individual slats designed to support the runner operating the treadmill. Notably, it does not have adequate safety measures to prevent dangerous injuries to children and pets.
Though the company got its start well-known for its popular stationary bike, the Tread+ treadmill gained popularity recently, boasting its value to consumers for its at-home workouts and motivational instructors. The company has seen incredible success during the pandemic, with its valuation growing to more than $40 billion, but these recent incidents should cause potential and prior purchasers to pause and consider the safety risks associated with the Tread+.
What happened in March 2021?
Peloton has known about multiple incidents that caused injuries to children and an accident that left one child dead since at least March 2021. Though Peloton CEO and co-founder John Foley acknowledged the death in an open letter in March, the company did not release information about the details of the death, such as when or where it happened.
The March incident is not an anomaly. The company expressed its sadness over the death but failed to acknowledge that there may be an inherent danger or malfunction with the use of their product itself. Instead, a Peloton spokesperson simply stated that the product is designed and tested for use by only people weighing more than 105 pounds and at least 16 years old.
Before the March 2021 incident, the CPSC received a report in February 2021 that a three-year-old child suffered a “significant brain injury. He was found to have tread marks on his back matching the slats of the treadmill, neck injury, and petechiae on his face, presumably from occlusion of blood flow.” Peloton’s primary response to the report was that the child was “expected to fully recover.”
Peloton’s repeated pattern of ignoring the evidence that its treadmills are not only potentially dangerous but are causing severe injuries and death leads to a significant public safety concern for consumers.
What are the risks with the Tread+?
Regardless of the safety and design tests Peloton completed on the Tread+ before releasing the machinery to consumers, the company failed to recognize existing risks to its customers with small children at home. Additionally, the pandemic presented unique risks for injuries, with more adults working from home, children learning from home, and adults more heavily relying on at-home workouts. The device has no automatic shut-off or sensor to prevent these kinds of injuries—if a child’s head is stuck underneath the machine, and the rear of the machine is lifted off the ground and into the air, it will continue to run, grinding the child underneath it.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that most at-home treadmill injuries happened to children under 16. Knowing these statistics, Peloton could and should have analyzed the risk factors to young children and pets that would inevitably be near the Tread+ while adults (whom Peloton designed and tested their product for specifically) exercised.
Injuries that can result from treadmill accidents in general include:
- Hand damage
- Finger damage
- Friction burns
- Degloving (when the skin tissue detaches from the underlying muscle)
- Broken bones
- Brain injury
- Total body surface area burns
- Full-thickness burns
- Deep dermal burns
- Superficial partial-thickness burns
- Mixed depth burns
These injuries can lead to scarring, ongoing wound care, occupational therapy, and surgeries. Some injuries reported from general treadmill injuries require secondary surgeries.
The CPSC has issued warnings regarding exercise equipment for decades now. Several studies also recommend various design modifications and warnings treadmill companies can create for the public to reduce these preventable injuries to children, including:
- Placing childproof switches or lockout codes on the machines
- Creating warning labels on the machine
- Installing guards to shield the belt
- Having sensor-activated mechanisms to stop the belt upon soft tissue contact
- Issuing public warnings, such as:
- Locking the room the machine is in during use
- Positioning the treadmill to face an open door (Peloton’s own advertisement on its website shows the Tread+ positioned facing the wall)
- Using a back wall mirror
- Avoiding headsets when using the treadmill
- Avoiding using the treadmill when children are present
Foley reiterates Peloton’s warnings, specifically to “Keep children and pets away from Peloton exercise equipment at all times. Before you begin a workout, double-check to make sure that the space around your Peloton exercise equipment is clear;” but these warnings are not enough.
Is the Tread+ more dangerous than other treadmills?
Arguably, yes. The Tread+ is more dangerous than other treadmills based on its design. The machine’s design defects include:
- its lightweight
- its exposure on both the top and bottom of the machine
- its expansive clearance between the floor and exposed tread
- its lack of sensors to detect a child or pet that may become trapped and then dragged under the machine
- its failure to have an appropriate and effective shut-off mechanism
These defects show evident problems in the machine’s design.
How many accidents has the Peloton Tread+ caused?
Since 2018, incident reports link the Peloton Tread+ to at least 39 accidents, including dozens causing injuries to children.
What does the CPSC recommend moving forward?
The CPSC stated in its warning that consumers should stop using the Peloton Tread+ if and when there are small children or pets in the house. The CPSC stresses that injuries can occur when the adult uses the exercise equipment, not just when the child has access to the equipment unsupervised.
The CPSC also warns that if a consumer must use the machine, they should only use it in a locked room and keep all objects away from the treadmill. Lastly, the warning states that when you’re not using the machine, you should unplug it and store the safety key away from it and out of reach of children.
This expensive piece of exercise equipment is not worth potentially injuring yourself, your children, or your pets. Although Peloton voluntarily recalled their treadmills, you may be entitled to receive your full payment back if you don’t want to keep the Tread+ in your home as a possible risk.
How has Peloton reacted?
Peloton continues to argue for the safety of the Tread+ when used per the company’s warnings and associated safety measures. Peloton is fighting against the CPSC’s release, calling the agency’s notice “inaccurate and misleading.”
Peloton took specific issue with the CPSC’s release of a video showing a child incurring severe injuries resulting from the Tread+. The company defended itself by stating that if the consumer used the Tread+’s safety key properly, they could have avoided the incident depicted in the video.
You can view the video here.
Peloton has not agreed to any corrective actions, such as repairing or replacing the machine, nor does the company plan to stop selling the Tread+. Many consumer advocate groups are disturbed by Peloton’s response, emphasizing that Peloton is failing to put safety first.
The same day that the CPSC released its urgent warning to the public, Peloton stated in a news release that it would not provide further information on the details of the death at the family’s request “until compelled by subpoena to do so.” As mentioned, Cutter Law has filed a class-action lawsuit against Peloton demanding a refund related to deceptive advertising practices and the inherent defect of the machine’s design.
Can I file a lawsuit against Peloton?
Yes. If you own a Tread+ and no longer feel comfortable or safe using it, you may be able to claim a full refund, and Cutter Law would like to help you obtain that refund. Additionally, if the Tread+ caused you or a loved one injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
Cutter Law attorney John R. Parker, Jr. states: “We agree with the CPSC that the Peloton treadmill cannot be safely used in any home with children or pets. Accordingly, we believe that Peloton should provide a complete refund to anyone who purchased the device. Clearly, Peloton needs to revise its warnings and marketing of the device, and specifically warn consumers, consistent with the CPSC’s wanting, that these treadmills should not be used at all in homes with children or pets.”
Cutter Law represents Shannon Albright as an individual and all other Peloton treadmill owners in the lawsuit against Peloton. In the current lawsuit, Albright emphasizes how Peloton advertised this product as appropriate for family use, as demonstrated in Peloton’s own marketing photograph below:
The warnings Peloton issued only after the CPSC took action directly contradict Peloton’s own advertising to consumers.
The Complaint notes that the child seen in the above advertisement is the exact type of victim that Peloton’s machine can kill or severely injure. Purchasers and current owners of the Tread+ have experienced financial harm by Peloton and deserve to receive a refund for their total amounts paid for the product itself and ongoing subscriptions.
Cutter Law represents the plaintiff and proposed class in the current action pending against Peloton and plans to continue to file similar lawsuits, because the machine is defective and owners should be able to get full refunds.
As a purchaser of a Peloton treadmill, you trusted Peloton to sell you a safe product. Peloton had a duty to know or should have known its treadmills are highly defective. Regardless of their knowledge, Peloton continued to sell and market the Tread+, deeming it safe and appropriate for families to use in the home when the machine’s design makes it inherently and uniquely dangerous to children.
Should I contact an attorney?
If you purchased and currently own a Peloton treadmill, or the Peloton treadmill injured you, your child, or your pet, you should contact a lawyer to understand your rights. Peloton misled the public regarding the safety of its machine, and the overwhelming evidence shows the product’s included warnings were insufficient to protect consumers. Peloton’s actions, or inactions, and its misrepresentations and nondisclosures, entitle all Peloton treadmill purchasers and current owners to receive some type of remedy.
Peloton continues to put every small child and pet living in a home with a Peloton treadmill in danger. The manufacturer misled consumers into purchasing their product without knowing the full extent of its serious safety concerns.
Contact Cutter Law today to learn about your legal rights and whether you can receive a refund, replacement, or file a lawsuit for your injuries and other damages incurred due to Peloton’s actions.