Amazon has begun to pull some hoverboards from sale after fears about fires caused by the self-balancing scooters.
A number of hoverboards that had been sold on Amazon have now disappeared, including all five models once reviewed by consumer affairs site BestReviews. That site now warns would-be buyers that “for the time being, we are not recommending any hoverboards until they are proven to be safe”.
According to one hoverboard seller, Swagway, the online retailer has required manufacturers to provide documents proving that their vehicles “are compliant with applicable safety standards”, with particular focus on the battery and chargers for the units.
Like last Christmas’ must-have electronic gift, selfie sticks, most hoverboards are manufactured in bulk in China before being purchased in bulk by resellers who apply cosmetic retouching and branding. Unlike selfie sticks, however, hoverboards contain large batteries, which can be a serious hazard if they misfire.
Last week, a hoverboard exploded in a shopping mall in Washington state, sending shoppers into panic. Although no one was harmed, the explosion made headlines worldwide.
In early December, Britain’s trading standards authority warned buyers to beware, and revealed that 88% of the hoverboards imported from outside the EU, that it had tested, had failed basic safety checks.
At the time, Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Criminals and irresponsible manufacturers will often exploit high demand and attempt to flood the market with cheap and dangerous products. Some products that are made abroad, principally for the overseas market, are not fitted with the correct plug and fuse for use in the UK. As a minimum, consumers should check that the three-pin plug on the device states it is made to BS1363. If it doesn’t include this information, then don’t buy the product.”
Buyers should also make sure they understand the legality of using a hoverboard, which cannot legally be ridden on the pavement or roadway in the UK.
Despite the name, hoverboards actually roll across the ground on wheels.
This article was written by Alex Hern, for theguardian.com on Monday 14th December 2015 09.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010