We’ve written so many stories about how you don’t own what you’ve bought any more due to software controls, DRM, and ridiculous contracts, and it keeps getting worse. The latest such example involves Peloton, which is most known for its extremely expensive stationary bikes with video screens, so that you can take classes (usually on a monthly subscription). I will admit that I don’t quite understand the attraction to them, but so many people swear by them. The company also has branched out into extremely expensive treadmills with the same basic concept
Peloton announced that they will refund the machine, which costs $4,295, and are working on a mandatory software update that will automatically lock the Tread+ after each use and require a unique password to be used to unlock the machine.
That automatic lock and password idea sounds sensible enough, given the situation, but in order to get it to work, but apparently Peloton hasn’t figured out how to make that work for customers who bought the treadmill and aren’t using its subscription service for classes. The Tread+ does have a “Just Run” mode, in which it acts like a regular treadmill (with the video screen off). But, as Brianna Wu discovered, the company is now saying that the “Just Run” mode now requires a subscription to work with the lock. The company is waiving the cost of such a subscription for three months, and it’s unclear from the email if that means that after the three months they’re hoping to have the “Tread Lock” working even for non-subscription users:
Wow. The Peloton Tread will no longer allow you to use your $3000 treadmill without a $39.99 a month subscription.
The pretext is their design issues that led to a child’s death.
Hope reporters will cover this. pic.twitter.com/XHKS6DaOeD
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) June 21, 2021
If you can’t see it, the image is an email from Peloton customer support saying:
We care deeply about the safety and well-being of our Members and we created Tread Lock to secure your Tread+ against unauthorized access.
Unfortunately at this time, ‘Just Run’ is no longer accessible without a Peloton Membership.
For this inconvenience, we have waived three months of All-Access Membership for all Tread+ owners. If you don’t see the waivers on your subscription or if you need help reactivating your subscription, please contact our Support team….
Now, it’s possible that the subscription part is necessary to update the software to enable the lock mode, but that seems… weird. After all, there must have been some sort of software upgrade that locked out the “Just Run” mode in the first place.