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Peloton disabled a free feature on its $4,000 Tread+, forcing owners to pay a $39 monthly fee to use the machine. Some are threatening legal action.

Peloton disabled a free feature on its $4,000 Tread+, forcing owners to pay a $39 monthly fee to use the machine. Some are threatening legal action.

Peloton Treafd

Peloton customers are threatening legal action after the free “Just Run” setting on its $4,000 Tread+ treadmill disappeared, and the company said all customers needed to pay a $39 monthly membership to use the machine.

Peloton’s treadmills and fitness bikes have “Just Run” and “Just Ride” modes, which people could previously use without memberships. It meant owners could use their machine even if they didn’t want to pay for classes, or if they wanted to cancel their membership at any time.

Jennifer Strong, 39, is one such user. She prefers to use her $4,000 treadmill on her own without Peloton’s instructors, she told Insider. This means she gets the benefits of the high-tech machine without the monthly fee, she said.

On Wednesday, Strong turned on her treadmill and found that the “Just Run” feature had disappeared after the machine downloaded an automatic software update. This update was rolled out to add a new safety lock feature, which Peloton introduced after recalling the machines over safety concerns.

After she complained to customer service, Strong received an email saying: “Unfortunately at this time, ‘Just Run’ is no longer accessible without a Peloton Membership.” Strong shared the email with Insider and posted a screenshot online.

“For this inconvenience, we have waived three months of All-Access Membership for all Tread+ owners,” the email said.

A spokesperson for Peloton told Insider that the safety-lock feature was “not yet available without a Peloton membership.” The spokesperson would not clarify if this was a technical glitch, and would not say whether the “Just Run” feature would return in the future.

It sets a ‘distasteful precedent’

After Strong shared a screenshot of the email in a private Facebook group, other Peloton customers threatened legal action. Strong told Insider that she would also consider this.

“I am now no longer able to use the equipment without buying a membership, which is not right,” she told Insider.

A spokesperson for Peloton declined to comment on the threats of legal action and allegations around breach of contract.

Peloton

Taylor Dondich, who owns both the $2,000 Peloton bike and the company’s treadmill, told Insider that the change didn’t affect him directly because he paid for classes — but said it set a “distasteful precedent.”

“What I’m concerned about is the potential for a company to essentially brick your device if you are unable to afford or simply not interested in the content subscription anymore,” he said.

“I can understand if the move is specific to the Tread+ because of the PIN lockout feature being tied to a member for the time being but without a very clear message saying this is temporary and a resolution will be provided to customers then they’re going to build a fair amount of mistrust in their loyal fanbase,” he added.

Other Peloton users questioned why people would buy such an expensive machine without signing up for a class membership. “The whole purpose of the treadmill is the subscription. The classes. The leaderboard. Who spends $3k and up on a subscription model device to NOT use it for that?” Tread+ owner Peter Shankman wrote in an email to Insider.

“That’s like buying a $6k MacBook Pro when you have no internet in your house and only want to use it to play solitaire,” he said.

Still, some users said they wanted the option of canceling or pausing membership while still using the machine.

“They just turned that expensive hardware into a brick with no options for people,” Peloton user Lee Pierce wrote in a message to Insider.

If you have a story to share please contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716 using a non-work phone, by email to mhanbury@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @MarySHanbury.

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