“It’s like telling somebody you’re going to get a puppy and now you’re not,” Ms. Sinclair said. She gets frustrated now when she sees ads for Peloton and articles about the company’s founders and their lifestyles, she said. “They grabbed all of our money, and here they are getting put on the cover of the magazine,” she said. “They can’t even give us our goods.”
The outrage has worsened in response to apparent glitches that some buyers say have allowed them to snag earlier delivery times by obsessively clicking a link in rescheduling emails. In one instance, so many dates were released around Christmas that people who ordered in December said they received bikes the same month, while many who placed earlier orders were still waiting. Peloton was not able to explain how this occurred.
Before, when new Peloton customers took to Facebook to complain about the long waits, fans would defend the company, arguing the wait was worth it. That largely stopped late last year, according to Crystal O’Keefe, who hosts a Peloton-focused podcast called “The Clip Out” with her husband, Tom.
“We’ve reached a tipping point,” she said. “You cannot talk these people down anymore. It’s overwhelmed with complaints.”
Peloton is now transporting some of its bikes by plane to avoid congested ports, a move that is significantly more expensive. In late December it paid $420 million to acquire Precor, a fitness manufacturer based in the United States, which will allow Peloton to begin producing bikes stateside in the second half of the year.
Competitors are trying to take advantage — SoulCycle has been quick to advertise that its bikes are arriving within one to three weeks. Michael Sepso, an entrepreneur in Manhattan, tweeted in late December that the Peloton Tread he ordered in October had still not arrived. “Clearly they have a hot product with a lot of demand, but the service part of it has just been infuriating,” he said.
Several fitness manufacturers responded to his tweet with messages pitching their products, he said. He canceled his Peloton order and bought a treadmill from a competitor. It arrived in early January.