Lockdown has seen a rise in many hobbies. From a boom in foreign language apps as people seek to broaden their language skills whilst they cannot travel, to home exercise equipment to lose their lockdown weight. In particular, a name which has seen a significant increase in popularity is Peloton.
The brand specialises in home exercise equipment with an online interactive user experience. Their flagship product is their exercise bike which saw users participate in remote spin classes led by a peloton instructor. More recently has seen peloton expand into offering treadmills. In the US they offer two models, Tread + and Tread. Whilst this expansion should have hailed profits for shareholders, the company has been rocked by a scandal which has led to these products being recalled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Issues with the Product
Due to the nature of the motor within the Tread+ model sold by Peloton, they require a higher ground clearance than traditional treadmills. This has led to safety issues whereby a child could become stuck between the ground and the moving platform of the treadmill. There has already been one confirmed death of a child in the US due to this design flaw. A link to footage of a similar instance can be found by here. Separately the Tread model has experienced issues whereby the touch screen disconnects from the exercise bike leading to minor injuries. There are so far 12 such occurrences reported in the UK.
This has led to over 125,000 treadmills in the US being subject to a recall. Owners are entitled to a full refund should they wish and sale of the products across America has been banned. It was not initially clear whether the recall will extend to the sale of products outside the UK.
The Position on UK Products
Peloton have now confirmed that they are recalling all Tread models sold in the UK. This begs the question, what protection is afforded should a product be recalled by the manufacturer?
Owners of affected Peloton Tread models have two options for redress;
- Entitlement to a full refund – owners can request a full refund by completing the following form.
- Request a free repair – Peloton are presently working on a fix and request that users refrain from continuing use of the treadmill until a fix is announced.
Consumer Protection Act 1987
Under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, where a product is faulty and causes bodily harm, a person is entitled to seek compensation for the loss, injury and damage they have sustained. Helpfully under this legislation strict liability for defective products will apply. This means that where a product is defective, the manufacturer is typically automatically liable for any harm cause by the defect. There are some instances where strict liability will not apply, such as:
- The manufacturer did not sell or supply the product, such as a prototype was stolen and later sold.
- The product was not defective when it was supplied to the seller.
- The defect was intentionally implemented due to legal requirement sin that jurisdiction.
- The defective product was not the reason for the harm suffered.
- At the point of selling, technological understanding was not advanced enough to detect such a defect.
Consumers should also bear in mind the prescription and limitation restrictions on bringing forward such a claim. Where a personal injury has been sustained, there is a right to seek redress up to three years from the date that the injury was sustained. Additionally, a claim cannot be brought forward where the product has not been sold for a period over ten years.
Position of Peloton
It should be made clear that the recall in the UK relates to the touch screen being prone to disconnecting from the Tread model, rather than the significant risk of life to children and pets which is presented by the US Tread+ model.
Peloton have stated that: ‘We are announcing an important safety update concerning the Peloton Tread. For Peloton members, this means they should stop using their Tread and ensure that no one else uses it because the touchscreen may become loose and fall off, posing a risk of injury. Approximately 12 minor injuries such as abrasions, cuts or bruises have been reported in the UK and all are expected to recover from their injuries. No fatalities have occurred with the Tread.’
Blog by Conor Kenny, Solicitor