Peloton is recalling approximately 125,000 of its treadmills less than a month after denying they were dangerous and stating that they would remain on the market despite being linked to the death of a child and the injuries of 29 others.
The company announced on Wednesday that it will now offer full refunds for the $4,200 Peloton Tread+ treadmills. It will also no longer sell them.
The recall comes after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission warned on April 17 that people with children and pets should stop using the Tread+ treadmill immediately after a child was pulled under one and died.
Peloton fought back against the safety commission at the time, claiming that the warning was “inaccurate and misleading” and that there was no reason to stop using the machines. CEO John Foley also stated that the treadmills would not be recalled.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Foley apologized and admitted that the company “made a mistake” in its initial response to the safety commission.
Peloton Interactive Inc. shares fell 14.6 percent to close at $82.62 on Wednesday, the stock’s second-largest one-day percentage drop since it began trading in 2019.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut who chairs the consumer safety committee, said in a statement that the recall had been dangerously delayed.
“Peloton put consumers at risk in an unacceptable way,” Blumenthal said, adding that he would work to strengthen the safety commission so that “companies like Peloton no longer get to call the shots on consumer safety.”
Under current laws, the Consumer Product Safety Commission must negotiate with companies before issuing product-hazard warnings.
Peloton is best known for its stationary bikes, but treadmills were introduced about three years ago. During the pandemic, sales of its equipment skyrocketed as virus-averse people avoided gyms and worked out at home. The company made $1 billion in revenue in the last three months of 2020, more than doubling its revenue from the previous year.
Peloton reported 72 reports of adults, children, pets, or other items, such as exercise balls, being pulled under the back of the treadmill. 29 of the reports concerned children who had suffered injuries such as broken bones and cuts. One child, a six-year-old boy, died.
According to Joseph Martyak, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency is still testing the treadmills, but it appears that the design of the Peloton Tread+, including its belt and height off the floor, may make it more likely than other brands of treadmills to pull people, pets, and items under the machine.
Owners of the Tread+ treadmill have until November 6, 2022, to request a full refund from Peloton. The safety commission still advises people to stop using the treadmill, but for those who insist on keeping it, Peloton said it will move it free of charge to a room where children or pets cannot access it and update the software so that a passcode is required to unlock it.