Following a warning last week by federal officials about problems with Peloton Tread+ treadmills, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturer, alleging it misled consumers about the safety of the exercise machine, which has been linked to serious injuries and deaths among young children and pets who became trapped under the rear roller.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on April 20, plaintiff Shannon Albright presents claims for breach of warranty, violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, violation of the state’s business and professional code, and unlawful business acts against Peloton Interactive, Inc.
The Peloton Tread+ lawsuit seeks class action status for owners of the treadmills, who paid thousands of dollars for the machines, as well as large subscription fees.
The case was filed only three days after the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to the public to stop using the Peloton Tread+, indicating that at least 39 reports have been received involving children and small pets getting pulled under the machines and injured. At least one child death has been blamed on the treadmill’s design.
The CPSC warning includes a video of a young boy who is playing with a ball that was sucked under the rear roller of the Tread+ treadmill, which is several inches above the ground and exposed. As the child attempts to pull the ball from under the moving treadmill, his arms become pinned under the device, just before it drags him under.
Albright’s lawsuit accuses Peloton of intentionally misleading consumers through advertisements, false statements and misrepresentations to believe the devices were safe for those with families. The complaint indicates consumers paid a premium, $4,295 plus monthly subscription fees, under the false belief the machines would be safe to bring into their homes, and should be compensated for the financial harm they suffered.
“Because at least one incident happened when a parent was using the Tread+, the CPSC has also observed that the threat the machine presents to children cannot be mitigated by simply locking the device when it is not in use,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff and class members should be provided with either a refund or replacement with a device that is not nearly as dangerous to children and pets.”
The complaint indicates the case should go through California federal court and fall under that state’s laws because every Peloton treadmill is shipped into the United States from Taiwan into California before being distributed nationwide.
The CPSC has urged Peloton to issue a recall for the devices, but so far the manufacturer has refused, and even claims the CPSC warning was misleading to the public.
In a statement to Peloton customers, CEO John Foley struck a defiant stance against the CPSC safety warning and calls for a recall.
“I want to assure you that we have no intention of doing so,” Foley said. “The Tread+ is safe when our warnings and safety instructions are followed, and we know that, every day, thousands of Members enjoy working out safely on their Tread+.”
Peloton maintains the devices are equipped with safety instructions which warn consumers of allowing children under the age of 16 near the Tread+ treadmill and states the devices are equipped with a safety key that must be inserted before the belt will rotate. However, the CPSC states these features provide inadequate protection for children while an adult is using the product or if an adult were to lose their balance and fall.
If consumers must use the Tread+ treadmills, the agency is recommending they be locked in a room not accessible to children or pets, and to keep all exercise equipment away from the treadmill. All incidents involving the Peloton treadmills should be reported to the CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov or through the CPSC Hotline at 800-638-2772.