Horizon Treadmill HP Claims Misleading, According to Milberg Lawsuit
by Brian Eckert
Fitness equipment manufacturer Horizon Fitness falsely overstated the horsepower ratings of its treadmills, purchasers say in a Milberg class action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims violations of consumer protection and false advertising statutes, breaches of express and implied warranties, and negligent misrepresentation and seeks damages arising from allegedly inflated purchase prices. Any consumer who bought a Horizon treadmill may be eligible to join Milberg’s lawsuit as a class member.
Horizon Treadmills and Horsepower Ratings
Johnson Health Tech North American, Inc. develops, markets, and sells residential fitness equipment, including treadmills sold under the Horizon Fitness brand name. Horizon Studio Series treadmills are marketed as “high performance treadmills” and “engineered for streaming cardio classes and interval training,” the company states on its website.
Horizon treadmills are only capable of producing a fraction of their represented continuous horsepower, alleges Milberg’s class action lawsuit.
Featuring a number of connectivity features that enable at-home streaming classes, Studio Series treadmills—the 7.0, 7.4, and 7.8 models—retail for between $999 and $1,999 on Horizon’s website, as well as on Amazon.com and at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
In addition to its integrated fitness app functionality, a major selling point of Horizon Studio Series treadmills is its Rapid Sync™ Technology drive system. Depending on the model, these treadmills are advertised and marketed as operating at a continuous horsepower (CHP) of between 2.5 CHP and 4.0 CHP. Horizon represents that the 7.8AT Treadmill is capable of producing 4.0 CHP.
Treadmills Not Capable of Delivering Stated CHP, Lawsuit Claims
Horizon misrepresented the horsepower ratings of its treadmills because they cannot generate and maintain their stated CHP specifications, Milberg class action attorneys state in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
As the complaint explains, horsepower is a measurement of a motor’s mechanical power output. It is calculated by multiplying the electrical voltage available to a motor, the amperage it is capable of drawing, and the motor efficiency (expressed as a fraction), and then dividing this number by 746 (to convert horsepower into watts; 1 HP = 746 watts):
(Voltage) x (Amperage) x (Motor Efficiency) = HP
The typical American home is equipped with 15-amp outlets with an accompanying 120-volt circuit. Horizon treadmills are rated at 15 amps with a 110-volt circuit. This equates to a theoretical maximum mechanical power output of 1,650 watts or 2.21 horsepower output. However, when heat and other power factor losses are taken into consideration, there is reason to believe that the treadmill motor’s power output while in use is actually significantly lower than 2.21. The treadmills therefore provide only a small fraction of the horsepower that Horizon promises during exercise.
“[Horizon’s] treadmills are only capable of producing a fraction of the misrepresented CHP due to the treadmill’s onboard electrical circuit breaker, as well as common household electrical limits found in households throughout the United States,” asserts Milberg’s complaint.
“To be true, Horizon’s horsepower representations would have to defy the laws of physics and allow Horizon’s Treadmills to produce more CHP than the Treadmills are actually capable of producing from a common household outlet power source in the United States and for which the Treadmills are rated and marketed,” the complaint adds.
Proposed Horizon Treadmill Class and Remedies
Johnson Health is well aware of the importance of a treadmill’s horsepower rating to prospective buyers. In a blog post, the company states that, “The treadmill motor horsepower rating is probably the single most recognizable spec that jumps out at a consumer when he or she begins to do their buying research.”
The lead plaintiff in Milberg’s class action affirms that the purported 4.0 CHP rating of the Horizon 7.8 AT was a material factor in her decision to purchase the treadmill. She claims in the lawsuit that she would not have purchased the 7.8 AT—or would have paid substantially less for it—had she known its true horsepower capabilities. She and other purchasers of Horizon Fitness treadmills were damaged as a result of misrepresentations that induced them to pay a premium price for the equipment, the plaintiff says.
Thousands of consumers from across the country may have bought a Horizon Fitness treadmill based on the same false and misleading claims. Milberg has petitioned the court to create two separate classes:
- A nationwide class consisting of all persons in the United States who purchased a Horizon treadmill for household purposes; and
- A Virginia class consisting of all persons in the State of Virginia who purchased a Horizon treadmill for household purposes.
If and when the lawsuit is approved by the court, eligible class members may automatically join the lawsuit and share in an equitable portion of any settlement or verdict.
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