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Peloton owners have three months until they'll be required to pay a monthly subscription fee.

A Peloton Tread, which may or may not be working.

A Peloton Tread, which may or may not be working. Credit: Adam Glanzman / getty

No, Peloton did not just get into the ransomware business — though you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

The maker of the $4,295 Tread+ treadmill alerted customers that, going forward, they'll need to start forking over $39.99 per month if they want to keep using the exercise equipment they already own. The company confirmed the move over email, after a message to customers announcing the plan was shared by Peloton user Brianna Wu on Twitter.

At issue is the recall of the Peloton Tread and Tread+, following disturbing incidents of children and pets being sucked under the machines resulting in injuries and even one death. According to the company, a new feature called Tread Lock will prevent "unauthorized access" to the Tread+.

There is, of course, a costly catch.

"Unfortunately, Tread Lock is not yet available without a Peloton Membership," explained the Peloton statement to Mashable, "which means Tread+ owners without a subscription cannot access Just Run at this time."

For those not familiar with the Peloton lingo, "Just Run" was a setting on Peloton's treadmills which allowed owners to use the product without a monthly subscription. That option, according to Peloton, is no more. In other words, Tread+ owners who previously opted to not pay the monthly subscription fee now find they have no choice if they want to keep using the bulky machine taking up valuable real estate in their apartments or homes.

We asked Peloton if it plans to make Tread Lock available without a subscription at some point in the future, but received no immediate response.

SEE ALSO: How to return your Peloton Tread+ and Tread

"We understand this is an inconvenience for some and have waived three months of All-Access Membership for all Tread+ owners," according to Peloton's statement.

In other words, anyone not interested in paying Peloton in perpetuity for the right to use the treadmill they already bought and paid for has three months to exercise their right to return the damn thing.

UPDATE: June 22, 2021, 12:42 p.m. PDT: In response to our inquiry, a Peloton spokesperson wrote that the company is "working on updates to Tread Lock that will allow us to make Tread Lock and Just Run available without a Peloton Membership."

Which is a good start. However, as of now it's unclear when (if ever) those updates will actually drop. Either way, it's too late for Peloton Tread+ customers who now realize that, at the end of the day, the machines they thought they owned aren't really theirs to control.

Tread carefully.

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