Peloton treadmill recalls: The issues, the fix, and your Affirm financing

Peloton is recalling both of its treadmills, with the Tread+ and Tread blamed for numerous injuries and even a child's death. The company is offering owners of the treadmills a full refund, having worked with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on the recall, raising questions around Affirm financing, what to do if you would rather keep your Tread+, and just how the dangers might eventually be mitigated.

Two treadmills, two Peloton recalls

Although both announced today, there are in fact two recalls affecting Peloton treadmills, one for each of the company's two models. The most significant impacts the Tread+, Peloton's original design – and which launched in 2018 as the Tread – with its slatted base. That's been involved in 72 reports of incidents and injuries, where adults, children, pets, and/or objects were "pulled under the rear of the treadmill."

A 6-year-old child died in one incident. 29 reports have documented various injuries to children, including second- and third-degree abrasions, broken bones, and lacerations. Peloton and the CPSC say that approximately 125,000 treadmills are impacted.

At the same time, Peloton Tread – the more affordable version of the treadmill – is also being recalled, only for a different reason. There, the CPSC says, it's the touchscreen which is the problem: there have been 18 reports of the display loosening, and six of it detaching altogether and falling. Minor injuries – such as abrasions, minor cuts, and bruises – have been blamed on the issue.

Return your Tread+ before the deadline and get a full refund

In both cases, the recommendation is that owners stop using the treadmills and contact Peloton. You'll be eligible for a full refund, though there's a deadline for that process.

For the Tread+, for example, you'll need to contact Peloton for that refund before November 6, 2022. "Consumers who return the Tread+ treadmill after that date will receive a partial refund," the CPSC explains.

There's no apparent deadline on the Tread recall, though there's a far smaller number of those treadmills in the wild. Only around 1,050 in the US, the CPSC says, and about 5,400 in Canada, since Peloton only undertook a limited, invitation-only release between November 2020 and March 2021. Peloton had intended to open up general sales of the Tread at the end of this month.

You can keep Peloton Tread+ but with some safety updates

Despite the recall, and Peloton ceasing sales of both Tread and Tread+ for the moment, you're not actually obligated to send back your treadmill if you're happy with it. Peloton and the CPSC strongly recommend not using Tread+ if you opt to wait for an approved repair to be enacted. Alternatively, there are some safety steps that Peloton will carry out – free of charge – for those who don't opt for the refund and can accommodate some temporary workarounds.

They'll offer the option of moving the Tread+ to a different room in the home, where children or pets can't access it. Whether you're keeping it or returning it, Peloton says there'll also be a new software update pushed out, which will automatically lock the treadmill after each use. To unlock it, you'll need a 4-digit passcode before the belt will operate.

As for Peloton Tread, there's also the option of keeping the treadmill. There, the company is offering a free inspection and repair, which will better secure the touchscreen to the treadmill. It's not clear when, exactly, that repair is available, with CPSC and Peloton promising updated timelines later on.

Peloton Affirm Tread+ financing

One of the most popular ways to add a Peloton at home has been Affirm financing. That means the ability to spread out the upfront cost of the hardware, aided by the fact that Peloton works with Affirm to offer 0-percent deals. With so many people taking advantage of that, it's likely that some Peloton Tread+ users will be wondering how their Affirm account might be impacted.

The answer is that they'll still be eligible for a full refund, it'll just be posted via their Affirm account. Alternatively, they'll be able to continue using the treadmill – with the provisos stated above – and keep making their current payments.

Anybody who requests a refund will get one, an Affirm spokesperson confirmed, and assuming all payments are up to date before that, there should be no impact on your credit score.

When can I buy a Tread+ or Tread again?

Peloton, unsurprisingly, isn't scrapping its treadmills completely. However before it can put them back on sale, it'll need to change the designs so as to make them safer. That, the company says, is a work-in-progress.

"We are working to develop additional modifications to the recalled Tread+ that will address the hazard of adult users, children and pets being pulled below the Treadmill and suffering serious injury or death," Peloton outlined today. "These modifications will be incorporated and presented to CPSC and if approved, will be introduced into the product before Peloton resumes sales. We do not have any additional information about the modifications or any proposed timeline right now."

As for the Peloton Tread, that too will remain off the virtual shelves until a separate fix is figured out. That, too, is underway, with Peloton saying that it hopes to have it ready – and approved by the CPSC – "in the coming weeks."