Peleton CEO admits it was a mistake not to recall treadmills sooner after child was crushed to death

Peloton’s CEO admitted Friday that it was a mistake not to recall their treadmills sooner and revealed users will have to use a key code to start the machines, after a child was crushed to death by one and 29 other people were injured using them. 

John Foley appeared on Good Morning America on Friday in an apparent attempt at damage control as the company’s stock tumbled. By recalling the $4,000 Tread+ machines, Peloton now stands to lose some $165million.

He admitted it was a ‘mistake’ not to recall the treadmills in March, when the company was first told people were hurting themselves and when Foley sent out an email to users to tell them about a six-year-old child being sucked under one of the machines. That child, who has not been named, died of their injuries.  

‘We did make a mistake by not engaging earlier in the process,’ he said, claiming the ‘most important thing is the safety of our members’. 

Now, he says they will not only recall the Tread+ machines, but they are also launching a software update across the cheaper treadmills that will require users to enter a key code to get it to start.  

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John Foley appeared on Good Morning America on Friday to do damage control as the company's stock tumbled. By recalling the $4,000 Tread+ machines, Peloton now stands to lose some $165million

John Foley appeared on Good Morning America on Friday to do damage control as the company's stock tumbled. By recalling the $4,000 Tread+ machines, Peloton now stands to lose some $165million

John Foley appeared on Good Morning America on Friday to do damage control as the company’s stock tumbled. By recalling the $4,000 Tread+ machines, Peloton now stands to lose some $165million

‘You’re not going to be able to start it unless you can enter a key code like your phone so your two or three-year-old cant start it,’ he said.  

Explaining the potential design flaws of the Tread+, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlighted the individual rubberized slats which make up its running surface, rather than the single rubber running band found on most rivals.

The Tread+ also sits higher off the ground than other treadmills, and lacks a rear guard. That makes it easier for people, pets or objects to get sucked underneath it and stuck there. 

In March, Foley sent an email to Peloton users after learning about the six-year-old’s death. 

He didn’t recall the machines then, but told members: ‘In order to help ensure that you and your family members stay safe with Peloton products in your home, we need your help. 

‘To prevent accidents, please take care to review and follow all the safety warnings and instructions that we provide, and always: 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. 

‘When you finish a workout on your Tread+, remove the safety key and store it out of reach of children and anyone else who should not be able to start the Tread+’. 

Horrifying footage released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows a child being dragged under one of the machines. That child survived their injuries

Horrifying footage released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows a child being dragged under one of the machines. That child survived their injuries

Horrifying footage released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows a child being dragged under one of the machines. That child survived their injuries 

Another user showed the burns she got on her legs after losing her footing on the machines

Another user showed the burns she got on her legs after losing her footing on the machines

Another user showed the burns she got on her legs after losing her footing on the machines

Another 29 people are confirmed to have been injured using the machines, including a different child who was sucked under one but survived. 

The string of accidents prompted the the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a safety warning about the machines in April but Peloton refused to recall them. 

It finally agreed earlier this week. 

Foley on Friday said that the company was now gearing up to fight lawsuits. 

‘There is – there’s a securities lawsuit and a class action lawsuit brewing – it’s something that absolutely were ready for it’s part of the process and we’ll have to deal with that,’ he said.  

On Tuesday, one runner had described the moment her Peloton treadmill threw her into wall and ripped off her skin after she lost her footing.

Cary Kelly says she fell facedown on the Tread+ May 2019, becoming trapped between a wall and the machine and leaving her with burns and bone fractures.

The marathon runner told Business Insider: ‘It seemed like a million minutes, like I was there forever. I’m very, very lucky that my arm didn’t get sucked under.’

The $4,300 Peloton Tread+ has now been recalled. It's a move that will cost the company $165million

The $4,300 Peloton Tread+ has now been recalled. It's a move that will cost the company $165million

The $4,300 Peloton Tread+ has now been recalled. It’s a move that will cost the company $165million

Peloton's stock, which soared over the last year due to the pandemic forcing people to work out at home, has tumbled

Peloton's stock, which soared over the last year due to the pandemic forcing people to work out at home, has tumbled

Peloton’s stock, which soared over the last year due to the pandemic forcing people to work out at home, has tumbled 

Kelly says she was not wearing the security clip as recommended – but thinks the company could do more to communicate the safety procedures needed.

A father, Brandon Ratliffe, had told Good Morning America that his six-year-old daughter suffered severe abrasions to her legs after she was sucked under the family’s Tread+.

He shared photos of his daughter, Jocelyn, that showed bruising and severe scrapes on her legs. Jocelyn was dragged under the device feet-first, her dad said.

And one former employee told Insider: ‘There’s some stuff that I’ve had to troubleshoot for members personally, which led me to believe that this thing should not be used by anyone at all.’

The company had said that there’s no reason to stop using the treadmill as long as children and pets are kept away from it at all times, it is turned off when not in use, and a safety key is removed.

But the safety commission said that in at least one episode, a child was pulled under the treadmill while a parent was running on it, suggesting it can be dangerous to children even while a parent is present.

News of the recall came as it was also revealed on Wednesday that Peloton users’ private data including their age, workout statistics and weight were exposed by a bug in the software.

Jan Masters, a security researcher, found he could make unauthenticated requests to Peloton’s application programming interface (API), for user account data without it checking whether the person was allowed to request it, according to TechCrunch.

Peloton confirmed on Tuesday it had fixed the user account vulnerabilities.

The company, best known for its stationary bikes, has seen its sales explode during the pandemic as virus-wary people have avoided gyms and worked out at home.

On Thursday, the company said its sales soared 141% to $1.26 billion in the quarter that ended March 31, compared to the same period a year ago.

It posted a loss of $8.6 million in the quarter, or 3 cents per share, which was better than the loss of 11 cents per share that Wall Street analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Peloton said on Thursday the $165 million hit to revenue this quarter includes $105 million in missed sales of the treadmills, and $50 million that will go to paying full refunds to those who want to return the recalled treadmills, which cost $4,200 each.

The company estimates about 10% of the recalled treadmills will be returned between now and the end of June, but said others may be returned later since people have until November of next year to get a full refund.

Shares of New York-based Peloton Interactive Inc., which are down 45% since the beginning of the year, 

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