The term “peloton” adopted by the maker of the wildly popular $1,900 exercise bike comes from the world of bicycle road racing — it refers to the cluster of riders who pack tightly together to draft off each other and hide from crosswinds like migrating geese — but the New York Times reports a number of customers feel like the company is so bad at making good on delivery promises that they feel like hapless stragglers.
The paper cited interviews and social media posts by customers who said the bikes they had been promised were weeks or even months behind schedule — often with no notice until the day they were scheduled to arrive or even later. This often occurred, according to customers, long after they had paid for the machines or entered into financing arrangements with a company that demanded payments even after Pelotons weren’t delivered.
The Times quoted disappointed customers as having said Peloton customer-service representatives often blamed shipping companies XPO and J.B. Hunt, neither of which would comment on the matter, the paper stated. The Times said the financing company, Affirm, declined to comment.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel reportedly told the Times, “We’re finding that Peloton the idea has grown faster than Peloton the company. All companies need to figure out how to grow into their hype. Right now, the hype surrounding Peloton is like no other.” The paper also pointed out that Peloton’s operations have been hurt by COVID-19, and that the company recently bought a U.S. manufacturer to begin making bikes domestically.
Peloton executives have been apologetic.
Chief Executive and Co-founder John Foley wrote in a letter posted on the company’s website, “We’ve seen incredible sustained demand for many months and have been working diligently to scale production and deliver Bikes and Treads as quickly and safely as possible. However, we know that some of our Members have been frustrated by delivery delays and unexpected rescheduling of deliveries caused by unforeseen circumstances, including COVID-related warehouse closures and port congestion. It pains us that we have fallen short of the level of service all of our Members deserve. We can and will do better.”
Foley added, “We have and will continue to increase our manufacturing capabilities and expand our delivery and support teams to meet demand and reduce wait times for our products. We are working tirelessly to remedy these issues as quickly and as safely as possible and we thank you for your patience.”