Peloton Tread+ Treadmill Owners Forced to Purchase “Treadmill Memberships” for $39 a Month to Use Their Treadmill
According to several news sources, including Vox.com, Peloton has devised a solution to correct its treadmill safety issues. The company decided to “force owners” who paid around $4,300 for a Tread+ to either return the treadmill for a full refund or pay a mandatory $39 monthly membership fee to use the treadmill. Treadmill users are angry, and purchasers have associated Peloton’s “membership fee requirement” with ransomware.
Peloton has initiated a recall of its Tread+ treadmill following reports of children and pets becoming injured or killed underneath the treadmill.
It’s a reminder that when you buy or use a product whose access is controlled by someone else, that access can always be taken away from you. As more and more of the things we buy are connected to the internet, living and dying by manufacturer-pushed software updates and on platforms that can be shuttered at any time, we have less and less control over them. Even if we pay a considerable amount of money for those devices, we may never fully own them.
According to Peloton, the change is designed to address safety concerns, and forcing its treadmill customers into the monthly membership was the only way to implement the update. Peloton recalled its Tread+ treadmill last May, after the tragic death of a small child who was violently yanked underneath the treadmills leading to serious injuries and fatalities to small children, pets, and adults.
Peloton also engaged in a highly public conflict with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The treadmill company initially refused to admit their products were dangerous and stated that the CPSC was overstating the safety of their Tread+ treadmills and outright refused to recall the treadmills after a safety recalled was publicly recommend by the CPSC.
Peloton then agreed to stop selling their Tread+ treadmill and requested that all Tread+ owners “immediately stop” using their Tread+ treadmills. The company then extended full refunds for Tread+ treadmills that were returned before November. However, Peloton never fully discouraged owners from using the exercise machine. According to the news report, Peloton offered to hire movers and relocate customers’ Tread+ treadmills to a new location inside the home to prevent kids and pets from accessing the treadmill.
Peloton recently informed Peloton’s Tread+ treadmill owners that they would not be able to use their treadmills until they purchase an “All-Access membership” at the cost of $39 a month. Peloton is offering the first three months of the All-Access membership away at no charge. Peloton said that the monthly membership fee pays to add a new safety feature called “Tread Lock” to the customer’s treadmills.
According to the news report, the Tread+ treadmill has always included a safety key to prevent children from turning the unit on. Peloton has the ability to shut down the treadmills to force owners to return the recalled treadmills. However, some believe Peloton’s business model is to turn the “one-time” exercise equipment purchase into a continuous source of monthly income through the “forced” monthly subscriptions.
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