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Peloton Tread Screen Falls Off Mid-Workout, Peloton Says to Fix It Yourself (Photos and Story)

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While most of yesterday’s Peloton treadmill news was focused on the higher-end Tread+ and safety risks to kids, there was actually a secondary story at work – the recall of the cheaper Tread units (without the + after their mode name). Those models were recalled because their display consoles were falling off. That model is about $1,800 cheaper than the Tread+ and features a standard treadmill belt as opposed to a slat-design belt. It’s also smaller and has a smaller screen, but it wasn’t recalled for the same reasons as the Tread+. You can see the two units below for comparison:

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This story is about what happened to one customer that had the display fall off their Tread unit, and then the subsequent customer service journey they’ve gone through – which included the user struggling to get Peloton to actually respond, Peloton then telling the user to install the display themselves, then canceling their account, bricking their treadmill, and then telling them they could pay $13/month if they wanted to continue using Peloton.

The Front Fell Off:

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After yesterday’s story, a DCRAINMAKER reader from Canada actually reached out, as mid-run their Peloton Tread unit decided to ditch the front screen mid-workout, initiating what the reader called “an impromptu hurdles session”. In this case, the individual – an avid triathlete and runner – was able to jump over the flying display without injury. She is one of six known customers that have had the unit breakaway mid-run. Some have suffered minor injuries as a result, according to the CPSC. In total, 18 Tread customers in the US, Canada, and the UK have had issues with loosening displays, of which the aforementioned 6 units had the display separate entirely mid-workout.

Rebecca Gardiner of Ontario, Canada ordered her Tread the day it was launched in Canada, on February 9th. It arrived a week later on February 16th. It was 3 weeks later on March 9th that it fell off mid-workout. She had just completed a 45-minute run session with instructor Selena Samuela. As you can see, that went without incident:

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After completing that workout she started a 10-minute cooldown run, also with Selena Samuela. That run lasted less than 30 seconds. Out of the middle of nowhere the screen started to wobble. She thought to herself “Oh the screen does move like the one on the bike” (which is true), and a split second – the screen completed her train of thought and separated from the treadmill. You can see the workout record below, at least as much as the screen (which also acts as the computer) killed itself.

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With the display no longer attached, it fell downwards, hitting the belt, and then traveled with the Tread belt ultimately resting against the wall behind the treadmill. Rebecca had to hurdle the display as part of that, but, was uninjured. Here’s a photo of the Peloton Tread, its decapitated display, and the location of the treadmill during the incident. She moved the display in front of the treadmill in order to make it more visible in a photo:

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Here, the Peloton Tread with its front having fallen off:

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It would turn out, her hurdling session wouldn’t be the only hoops she’d have to jump through with Peloton.

A Support Nightmare:

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She called support, where she spent hours being passed around without any real resolution. She said that it was clear Peloton didn’t seem to know how to handle it. Peloton refused to book a technician to come fix the Tread, but said someone would call “by the end of the week”. A week later, nobody had contacted her from Peloton.

She called back again and spent a few more hours on the phone being passed around. Ultimately, Peloton decided to simply send her a new screen and told her to install it herself. They sent her the service videos that Peloton has for their own on-site support technicians and essentially said ‘good luck’. Here’s the support e-mail with the instructions on how to install it:

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The instructions state to have two people install it together, along with a torque wrench:

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Neither requirement is huge, but notable that only two screws are used to attach the heavy display to the treadmill handlebar frame:

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Two days later (Mar 17th), the display arrives via FedEx. Rebecca attaches it, but it doesn’t power on. She contacts customer service again. This time they agree to a technician coming out 11 days later – on March 28th. She’s now lost three weeks of usage.

The technician (singular) arrives and fixes the problem, which was due to the wrong socket being used during re-installation. While the solution was quick, the technician noted (paraphrased) to the customer that ‘while the handlebar part of the treadmill looks pretty it isn’t that sturdy’, and that she should ‘check the screws on the display’ every other week to ensure a repeat incident doesn’t occur. There was no special attention paid to her case from Peloton support, Peloton corporate headquarters, or any other Peloton entity. In their mind, the situation with a few new screws was resolved.

From there until May 5th (yesterday, the day of the recall), Rebecca used the treadmill without incident. However, that morning at 9:30 AM when she went to use the Peloton Tread yesterday, it would not start.

She contacts Peloton via a 45-minute long chat support who walks her through a hard reboot of the machine, which seems to fix the issue. Whether or not it’s tied to the recall isn’t clear. After getting it going again, she asks what she should do, or if Peloton is offering any compensation for people willing to wait.  She isn’t given any options. Concurrently, she was also waiting on hold via phone, to find out about scheduling a repair or a refund.

Ultimately, she’s offered to wait for a repair, or opt for a refund. She tells support that she’ll take the refund, given that she’s “played this game before”. An appointment is booked for next Wednesday, May 12th, for Peloton to retrieve the treadmill in the meantime.

Peloton has stated in their FAQ page they hope to have a solution/fix for the Peloton Tread owners in the coming weeks, likely some form of hardware bracket enforcement. Note that they did not offer this to this customer, simply offering a refund, or a repair at an unknown time.

“Peloton is implementing a voluntary recall for the Tread in cooperation with the CPSC. We are already working to develop a repair for your Tread touchscreen console and hope that this CPSC-approved repair will be available soon. Until this repair is available, Tread owners can either wait for the repair to be approved in the coming weeks, or they can request a full refund.”

You would think the story would end here, but it does not.

As part of the hardware refund process they automatically canceled her and her family’s Peloton accounts and memberships. This came as a surprise to her, as she and her daughters had planned to continue using the digital app until she could order one. Peloton then offered for her to continue using the platform at $13/month.

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She replied back to that support e-mail noting that this felt like a “slap in the face” given the dozens of hours she has spent with Peloton support, the weeks without a functional treadmill, and all ignoring that she was one of only six members to join the Peloton Hurdlers Club.

Shortly thereafter, Peloton sent a template subscription renewal e-mail that seemed to imply that her membership has been renewed without charge, but she’s received no communication if that’s the case or not (or for how long).

At no point during this entire process has Peloton reached out to her in any capacity. She’s initiated every exchange, and always had to wait hours on the phone, or long chat sessions, to get assistance. Despite all this, she says she’ll be back to purchase another one, saying:

“The bummer of it all is that when it worked, I really liked the treadmill. The classes were great and made running inside WAY less boring. It also motivated my daughters who can be hard to get moving at times. And, believe it or not, if they fix the problems I would really like to buy another one.  Just might wait a while – have learnt my lesson on being a first mover!”

She just wished Peloton would have had better support, and would simply reach out to her and others that actually had the issue with something more than a boilerplate response. Given Peloton has re-considered many treadmill decisions as of late, perhaps they’ll re-consider this one too.

Thanks for reading!

(I reached out to Peloton’s PR department for clarification on what, if anything they were doing to more directly contact/support those with broken treadmills. But they have not yet responded.)

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48 Comments

  1. John R

    I’ll keep my proform and Saris H3 the have their own issues but no front falling off

    For those who don’t remember the other famous front falling off
    link to youtu.be

  2. Scott

    The technical (singular) arrives …

    Ray did you mean technician?

  3. Jeff

    When the tread first debuted I was very interested and went to a local peloton store to do a test run. When I got the speed up to 10 mph+ the belt started to studder every so often to the point where I felt like I was going to run into the front of it. The employees saw this happen and tried to fix it with a restart. It still occurred when I got back on. They had no idea what else to do. As a result I never ended up buying it. Appears I dodged a bullet here.

  4. Phil

    Makes for an interesting read.
    Unfortunately for peloton it really does nothing towards convincing me to get any of their gear.
    I was amazed at the prices and then further at the subscription fees as opposed to other e sport platforms.

    Here’s hoping they can improve the customer service.

  5. Christexan

    “Peloton Hurdlers Club”… LOL.. sorry, that was good. And to the respondent below who dodged a bullet, at least it wasn’t a display!
    In all seriousness, I have to wonder what they’d do if the runner actually stomped the display as it fell under them and crushed it, would they repair that under warranty (as they should obviously)? Guess we’ll have to wait till anyone actually replies from Peloton on any of this, to know for sure.

    • Robert

      They sent a new screen in *this* case, so I assume they would not have done less if the screen had be crushed.

      Then again –

  6. Shax

    Let the damage control Begini…

  7. Antoine

    I can’t believe all the effort and money that goes through avoiding running outside.

    • Percy Raoul

      I’d agree with you, but that really isn’t the point when discussing a dangerous engineering fault on a popular consumer device, is it?

    • Luke

      So true!

      An industry worth of people feed their families because people all of a sudden decided that running inside in place beats the millenniums of collective mileage humanity has always run outdoors

    • Kico

      It is not necessarily the rule that women can enjoy running outside without any incidents… If they get catcalled or whistled to, that would be a good day… Far worse can/has and sadly, will still happen. It is still an inconvenient truth, yes even in your little world, that our/your daughters, sisters and mothers are treated in such way.
      (If you don’t see the problem, you might be part of the problem)

      From a training perspective I also understand why you’d want to do it inside. Injury prevention and quality workouts/intervals,…
      From a time management perspective I also see the value.
      It’s a personal opinion whether you’d enjoy inside workouts though.

      And if a platform presents itself with a product and a service to get you running… The demand is there. Definitely last year.

      I don’t understand why the lady would get the same brand again though. That to me would be a once and done. CSR this bad for a +2000$ product.

    • Kevin Marshallsay

      in all fairness i’m due to start running inside n the next few weeks, running in 30+ degrees is pretty horrible

    • okrunner

      FWIW There can be plenty of reasons to run inside. I’ve run inside at various time for 30 years for various reasons, such as: (1) running at night can be dangerous(daytime as well some places), (2) avoid heat or cold – running in 110 degrees didn’t seem as difficult when I was 18 years old, (3) traveling and at an unfamiliar place, (4) can’t leave the house as you have to watch kids, (5) on a cruise, (6) recovering from injury and want the convenience of stopping when you want and the cushion of treadmill deck, etc. I can probably think of others, but, the point is there are plenty of valid reasons someone might want to run inside. It’s still a quicker cardio workout inside than practically any other method. It actually might take less effort than running outside, so, cost is the only issue. In fact, I know a guy who wins lots of local 5k and 10k races that only runs outdoors on race days. All his training is on a treadmill.

    • Aleks H

      When my wife goes running without me she regularly gets nasty comments and people whistling as she runs past them. I have no trouble understanding the trouble some people go through to avoid running outside.

  8. dave campbell

    Unless the picture of the TM is misleading, it seems to be way to close to the wall in back for safety. Since I got thrown off mine, I know how critical it is to have them like 6 to 8 feet away from ANYTHING i the back. I see a dresser in the back also which makes it worse. So if folks are concerned about Pelotons safety, seems one needs to make sure it was installed in a safe place to start with

  9. RobertSterling

    Too big, too soon.. they’ve ridden the indoor training covid wave and made a bucket load of cash, but clearly the design/engineering and quality control was lacking from the outset.. they’ve gone for quantity rather than quality and now they’re paying the price..

  10. Mike

    Would love to know if I’m counted as one of the 18. After my first run on the Tread I found a screw on the floor. Couldn’t see where it went, so assumed it was left over from installation. A month later Peloton contacted me and sent a team out, who put the screw back in the screen, and tightened the sole remaining screw. I didn’t contact Peloton about this, so if I’m not included in the 18, it stands to reason the actual affected number could be much higher.

  11. JD

    Judging from the install video the monitor arm design looks flawed to begin with.
    Imagine that attachment point getting jostled with every footfall tens of thousands of times.
    What is more astonishing is why they haven’t issued a warning to all Tread owners to check the “two M6x10 button head screws” with a 4mm hex key.
    I’ll bet many need to be tightened immediately and Locktite should be required for the install.
    They also could have sent the correct video link for the 7:15 mark:
    link to vimeo.com

  12. Stuart

    Appalling. Absolutely appalling.

    I am astounded that she’s willing to go back to Peleton given the customer service nightmare she’s experienced. The measure of a company is not in how they handle it when everything goes well – it’s how they handle it when everything goes pear shaped.

    Everything, in this instance, went pear shaped… and the company’s response was to make it worse. They should have sent a technician out to look at the problem and replace the screen, not expected her to replace it herself. They should have given her a credit for the time that she was unable to use the device. And I would argue that they should have given her a goodwill credit as a way of saying “sorry about this issue, we want to make it right”.

    Based upon this story, Peleton joins Tesla in my list of companies to never do business with if I can avoid it. The idea may be good, but the customer service is well below rudimentary standards and expectations.

  13. Vic Hardy

    Peloton sounds like a crappy company and for the price of their products you’d think that customer support would be top notch. If I ever feel the need to buy another indoor sports gizmo I’ll remember this story (as well as the more tragic recall story) and put Peloton to the bottom of the list.

  14. Charles Morgan

    As a technique I learned from the local hardware store to keep hardware secure rather than loosening during vibration (the screws and nuts), you should use two nuts for each screw. I don’t understand the physics of it but it works. Apparently one nut counteracts the other nut trying to loosen during vibrations. Especially as I see in the photo for this article where the nuts are below the vertical screw, having two nuts for each screw will solve the problem. I am sure there is a lot of vibration when running on the treadmill. If the supplied screws are too short for two nuts, just go to the hardware store and buy longer screws to accommodate two nuts.

  15. Cin

    I have an almost 20-year old LifeFitness treadmill that I have never had a days worth of trouble…I’ll keep it. These article is why I tell people to leave off the TVs and stuff and just invest in a treadmill.

  16. Andrew M

    Thanks Ray (and Rebecca) for a write-up that was both hilarious and disturbing.

  17. Dave Lusty

    Sounds like the bolts are up to the job they just need some blue threadlock on them before tightening and probably a split washer in there too.

    I wonder if the sucky support is due to massive growth and they just can’t expand the support team fast enough?

  18. Volker

    Something went wrong not just once, but all the time. It’s unbelievable what they’re doing there. Take lots of money for the hardware and account, but if help is needed, something like this will come out of it. Indictment! Customer fooling.

  19. Andrew

    The problem with Peloton and what will always hold me back no matter how good their hardware is, is that the things don’t work if you don’t pay for their software. Now call me old fashioned but if I’m paying £2000 for something, as long as I don’t get in anyone else’s way with it, I should be able to use it how I want. I mean imagine buying a Tesla and only being able to drive of Tesla built roads? That’s basically what Peloton is and they know it so actually the crappy customer services doesn’t matter because the barrier to switching is having to bin a £2000 treadmill!

    • Greg

      Agree…even my norditrack 3k treadmill with iFit and such, still works in dumb mode if I cancel the subscription. It’s total scam to charge for basic usage

    • That’s not actually true for Peloton. Just like your NordicTrack, you can use basic usage functionality without a subscription.

      Basically, it won’t show any of the fun content, but you can actually login and use ‘Just ride’ (or ‘Just run”) type mode. I did that when I bought the original Peloton bike 2nd-hand, and the account was wiped off of it, so there was nothing activated yet (factory reset). I had to wait for timezones to align to get people on the phone for an activation code.

      And actually, technically you get three classes you can use. You won’t be able to export out metrics though (since you don’t have an account tied to it).

  20. kaz

    IMHO – Peloton is one of the FIRST company stocks I’ll “short” once Pandemic lightens up.

  21. Jason

    Ray – thank you for sharing one of your users experiences concerning Peloton. I almost purchased a Tread+ a few months back but instead opted for a Precor TRM 885 as they were offering 20% off (granted it is still super expensive). This is the second Precor treadmill I have I owned. Previous one was 10 years old and very basic but almost zero problems in the years I have owned it.

    Now that Peloton has purchased Precor I have hope that they can leverage the Precor team for both hardware improvements and more importantly the great customer support they have.

  22. Colin C

    I think it’s easy to read this and think the Peloton are terrible, but I think the problems extend to the wider sports tech industry. I’m not suggesting the support here was good but I’ll share my recent experience;

    All of my cycling friends have Smart trainers and the reliability stats amongst our group are rather staggering.  Of the 10 people who have purchased trainers, 8 have had to return a device. One guy has had 2 Tacx devices die on him.  Only 2 are still on their original trainer. Of those who have had to return them, most have endured extended periods without trainers. I was lucky, managing a warranty swap at an actual retail store, but one friend was 3 MONTHS without his Tacx Neo. Of the 5 of us who bought a Tacx Flux, nobody still owns one.

    We were all hoping Tacx support would get better under Garmin ownership, but it doesn’t seem that way.

    For balance, I have 1 friend with a Peloton (the latest bike) which has been used by his family daily for 6 months without issue.

    @Ray, interesting to see if you have details of wider trends? I can’t believe an 80% failure rate is representative across the industry.

  23. Alan C.

    Wow–given the high cost of these units, and considering there is competition in this area, one would expect a better customer service experience. Kudos to Rebecca, and others probably like her, for their patience. Early adoption is sometimes a mixed bag. I’ll keep pounding away on my “dumbt” treadmill with a $130 TV firmly mounted on the wall. Garmin gives me all the data I need from those workouts.

  24. Joe

    I had a Peloton bike for about three years before selling it and going the smart trainer route last fall. I had multiple customer service experiences over the years and they were all satisfactory. Responses were prompt, wait times were reasonable, and there was even a little compensation thrown my way for the trouble. This all occurred before the pandemic and massive surge.

    I can’t help but assume that corners are being cut across the entire company. They are dealing with a massive surge in demand/popularity and are doing it during the pandemic when everyone was/is operating short handed and in a new world.

    That’s not to excuse anything on their end. The equipment and services are quite expensive in comparison to other offerings and a certain level of care should accompany that price. The hope is that as the world stabilizes further, they start to get their feet back underneath them and provide high quality in all aspects of the company. The fear is that my experiences will no longer be the norm because they are no longer catering to a small base that they need to keep happy.

    I could see myself returning to Peloton in the future, but it certainly won’t be in the short term.

  25. Can’t believe that I’m the first on the pun..
    But wasn’t this built so the front wouldn’t fall off?

  26. SomeRunnerGuy

    For a display attached to a treadmill like Peloton has here, they should be using locking nuts. Just saying…

    6,000 miles in 6 years on my NordicTrack, no maintenance besides lubing the belt and screws.

    • Rob

      Glad to hear you got 6,000 miles and 6 years. I got less than 500 miles and my X22i failed three times after repairs. After waiting months I received a replacement of which I sold the day I received it.

      Run outside and if you have a gym open nearby, run with a Peloton Digital if you must. In the long run it will be less expensive and you will probably have better equipment at your gym.

      Or make the long term investment and buy a Woodway, Technogym, or the the TRUE Stryker Slat.

  27. Eric Mills

    I feel the need to share. My wife and I had quite the ordeal with Peloton and tread ownership also. We purchased a Peloton Tread back before Covid-19 took over the world. The big one, what is now called a Tread+. We owned “it” (them) for approximately a year, during which time the entire unit was replaced twice with a completely new one, and twice the base was replaced and the previous screen/computer retained. They all involved unusual sounds coming from the base or frame when the tread was running and in one case specifically when changing incline. I had been hesitant to get such a high end machine from a non-established treadmill manufacturer but my wife was and still is an avid enthusiast of their bike (I also like it), and I had read several good reviews of Tread, now Tread+ (including Ray’s) and we thought it would be nice to have it all in the same ecosystem. Their user interface and OS and video screens and classes are of course top notch. Each time we had an issue it involved long long wait times to reach a service rep by phone, multiple calls and while they always eventually addressed the issue with replacement, it got so bad that the final replacement unit was making some loud odd noise first run after the assembly… we contacted them and let them listen. They said “do not use the tread”, wanted to replace yet again, but agreed to taking it back and giving a full refund, again one year after original purchase. That last unit sat in our exercise cave taking up space for over two months. We assume these issues are probably linked to their attempts to meet the incredible demand for new ones… the delivery service that would come and dissemble old unit and take new one was usually scheduled out weeks to 2-3 months at the end. Additionally they would often missed the schedule time and we would have sat around half a day at home. Their usual excuse was they weren’t advised it was second floor install, although the same guys were coming out multiple times. One they logged that customer did not answer door and rescheduled like a week later. I was home the whole delivery window and we have a video camera doorbell which “saw” no one. Anyway, we think some of those issues were related to the install/assembly but in Oklahoma we’re required to use the service Peloton contracts with and it is not their usual Peloton branded installers, but a third party. I tried to post these concerns to Peloton site but review rejected because it didn’t meet their requirements. As best I could tell this meant they did not accept any review on the Tread which included issues with 3rd party delivery services. Hmm. Yet Peloton chooses them, and you have to use them.

    Anyhow, they eventually took away the last one and we replaced it with a top of the line commercial Life Fitness, which has been performing admirably. Last Peloton gripe… called to order second bike for myself last week, but learned 2 bikes in one house required 2 paid memberships. This was not true with bike and tread in same house. There my wife and I both had profiles under her paid account. So I cancelled second bike.

    Ray…you’re site is the greatest! I’m glad you recovering these issues. Keep banging out those awesome reviews.

    • Eric Mills

      Just a footnote…I use a Wahoo KCKR SNAP trainer. It started making weird noise shortly after warranty expired. I called WAHOO while I was sitting on bike, sent them video of the trainer making the noise right then… they had a new unit delivered within days and I tossed the old one in the box with the return paperwork and done. Not a problem since, no charge, no shipping. That’s the way to take care of customers!

  28. Ted Johnson

    Peloton seems to have some serious customer service challenges. I ordered a bike+ in November and still waiting. Supposed to arrive next week. First world problem for sure, but it would be nice if they would invest some of their profits in taking care of customers.

  29. Happy Runner

    [quote] (I reached out to Peloton’s PR department for clarification on what, if anything they were doing to more directly contact/support those with broken treadmills. But they have not yet responded.)[/quote]

    Gee, what a surprise.

  30. Teresa

    Well what did you do for the screen to fall off… No issue with me peloton ever because I actually take care of mine. One of the best purchases ever.

    • That’s a silly assertion. Peloton has admitted it’s a problem, namely because even my 4-yo would know that attaching a heavy screen with a mere two small screws on a platform that literally bounces as its job is poor design.

  31. Nox

    I can’t fathom why she’s willing to buy another Peloton treadmill. A better quality treadmill, tablet, and Peloton Digital subscription offer the same or better experience.

    • Well, you’d get a fair bit worse experience doing that, because there’s no integration between the Peloton Digital App and other treadmills, so no data at all except HR.

  32. Daniel Ritsma

    link to youtube.com

    I know, but too funny not to post.

  33. Wayne

    This story has a surprise ending, with the customer assuming part of the blame because she was a first adopter! Someone less skilled as a hurdler or less attentive might have taken a face plant on the moving treadmill or torn an ACL.

    I am amazed how customers are very forgiving when it comes to sports tech continuing rewarding companies for putting out products that that are really beta test units, not fully tested, or sometimes completely missing promoted features.

  34. Adam Zuckerman

    This happened to me too, and Peloton blew me off.

    link to linkedin.com