CPSC has linked at least one child’s death and dozens of injuries to the Peloton Tread+; company recalled product in 2021 amid pressure from CR, safety regulators, others
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports today applauded the Consumer Product Safety Commission for fining Peloton $19 million in connection with its delayed and faulty 2021 recall of Peloton Tread+ fitness machines. According to the CPSC, the treadmills are tied to more than 150 reports of people, pets, or objects being pulled under them, including the death of a child and 13 injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, abrasions and friction burns. The agency has said that the company failed to immediately report the defective treadmills to the CPSC and knowingly distributed some Tread+ units into commerce after the recall was announced.
William Wallace, CR’s associate director of safety policy, said, “Peloton failed to put safety first, and children paid the price. Today the CPSC is holding Peloton accountable with multimillion dollar penalties and a supervised compliance program. These actions should help ensure Peloton improves its safety culture going forward.
“Every company should take heed of these penalties. It’s much better for safety, public relations, and your bottom line to be proactive and make sure you’re following the law on the front end, not the back end,” Wallace added.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that Peloton received reports of pull-under or entrapment incidents starting in December 2018 and continuing into 2019, but did not immediately alert the CPSC, as required by law. As late as April 2021, Peloton resisted issuing a safety recall for the Tread+ machines, despite a public warning from the CPSC for consumers to stop using the product. Peloton finally recalled the treadmills in May 2021 amid pressure from the CPSC, Consumer Reports, and other advocates. CR had removed the Peloton Tread+ from its ratings and withdrew its recommendation of the product in light of the CPSC’s public warning.
Under federal law, the CPSC is limited to assessing civil penalties that are no greater than $120,000 for each violation, and $17.15 million for any related series of violations, for actions that occur after January 1, 2022 – despite the fact that the agency is tasked with holding multibillion-dollar companies accountable for safety. Consumer Reports has called on Congress to remove the cap on civil penalties and give the CPSC the authority to assess whatever fine is necessary to counter corporate wrongdoing effectively.
Peloton may face other federal investigations. According to a September 2022 filing by Peloton with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security have subpoenaed Peloton for documents and other information related to the company’s reporting of injuries associated with its products, and the SEC is also investigating its public disclosures concerning the recall, as well as other matters.
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