Yesterday, Peloton announced voluntary recalls of its Tread+ and Tread treadmill machines due to safety concerns. The company is now advising customers who have the products to immediately stop using them and contact Peloton for a full refund. Roughly 125,000 treadmills are included in the recall. 

According to the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), there has been one child death and 70 other injuries tied to the treadmills. But our data shows that customer dissatisfaction had been mounting well before the news broke.

Over the past year, Peloton’s product review count has increased by 150%, while the cumulative average rating has been tumbling since August.

The average rating for Tread products is falling below Bike ratings, as well. Tread’s average cumulative rating dropped from a high of 4.8 in 2019 to 4.4 at the time of writing. Ratings for the Bike have remained around an average of 4.7. Peloton’s Bikes count almost 30 times as many ratings as the company’s Treads, with 12,569 and 448 cumulative ratings, respectively.

More than 60 people have rated Peloton’s Tread between 1 and 3 out of 5 stars over the last year. Even as far back as 2019, Tread reviews warned about “horrible quality” and “product failures.” One buyer, in a comment titled “DO NOT BUY,” wrote that her Tread+ arrived completely broken after the company rescheduled her delivery four times. She has yet to receive a refund. 

Poor customer support, delivery delays, and broken parts are common complaints among reviewers. One review titled, “first tread and worst,” says, “Only been a week and half since I received the tread. First time using it was today and it started to stop on it’s own while having a burn smell come from it.”

Others shared stories about the Tread’s motor dying and its belt abruptly stopping mid-workout. “I have the Tread+ and it is 2 years old. Summer 2020 the belt started to abruptly stop during a workout. It is extremely dangerous and frequently now malfunctions,” one customer wrote. “It is now January 2021 and Peloton has rescheduled my maintenance visit 5 times. We still have not had anyone out to solve the problem.”

Since 2019, Tread reviews that contain the word “terrible,” “awful,” “poor,” “bad,” “broken,” or “broken” have grown from three to 31. Reviews that mention the machine’s faulty belt or motor have increased from four to 35.

Just last month, a review titled “huge disappointment” revealed Peloton’s safety concerns. “After waiting 2 months to get my Tread+ delivered, the installation crew informed us that we couldn’t use the machine because the safety key is malfunctioning,” the review reads. Below are four of many Tread reviews that rated the product 1/5. 

Review Title Description
"Terrible experience" "Bought the treadmill last November, paid top dollar for what we hoped was a quality machine. Great while it worked. It broke in 5 months. Called support - 2 hor wait time, got through to agent, had to video the machine not working, plugging the plug in pushing the on button. This wasy May 8, was told machine needed to be replaced and due to Covid, delivery teams were on hold from entering people's homes. Understandable. Followed up several times over next 4 months, finally got replacement date of 9/11. Crew showed up (very courteous) but - no new machine as we were told it would be replaced. There is a part that is not communicating and they don't have the part. They will need to reschedule and get the part. Poor internal communication, extremely dissatisfied customer, would not recommend machine or customer service. Buy something cheaper you can just replace. Not worth the money or aggravation."
"Treadmill broke 1 month out of warranty" "Loved the treadmill until it broke last night. The customer service is very unhelpful, asking me to pay $1,700. I assume that means I will have to pay $1,700 annually. A new biz model for $PTON. I would wait to buy the treadmill until they figure out these issues."
"Terrible" "Incline motor never worked from the time it was delivered. It worked once on the initial calibration, and that was it. Never worked again. Very disappointed in quality, and that this wasn’t picked up when it was being installed."
"Problem just after one year" "Tread stops approximately 3.3 miles of running and need to reboot the whole system and then stops around 2.4 miles ( app becomes unresponsive). Need to restart the whole thing. I called the customer service waited for about 30 minutes before somebody answered. Made me reinstall the whole system. They sent me follow up email and I mentioned to them that problem persist. Now I get a email saying that they need to change the monitor and asked me to pay $595. I don't understand how they figured out monitor is not working without running any diagnostics or service checking it. Don't expect problem when you spend $4500 for tread."

Peloton shares closed yesterday down nearly 15%, hitting a low not seen since September. It slashed about $4.1 billion from Peloton’s market value.

When the CPSC issued an "urgent warning" about Tread's dangers last month, Peloton initially refused to recall the exercise machines. At the time, the CPSC said it was aware of at least 39 accidents involving the product, including "multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under" the treadmills.

"I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the CPSC's request," Peloton CEO John Foley said. "We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize."

In a statement, CPSC's acting chairman Robert Adler said that Peloton's decision to recall the treadmills was the "result of weeks of intense negotiation and effort, culminating in a cooperative agreement that I believe serves the best interests of Peloton and of consumers."

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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