Online retail giant Amazon has started removing some of the “hoverboards” from its website, citing fears about fires resulting from exploding batteries. The hoverboards do not actually hover, but rather they roll around on the ground on wheels to offer the user the simulation of hovering.
Many models of hoverboards that were once available on Amazon have since disappeared. Amazon offered a message stating that they are not recommending any hoverboards until they are shown to be safe. It should be noted that not all models of hoverboards have been removed from Amazon.
Hoverboard retailer Swagway has said that Amazon is requiring manufacturers to provide documents that prove that that their devices are compliant with safety standards. Amazon is paying particular attention to the batteries and charging units, after some batteries reportedly exploded.
Most hoverboards are originally manufactured in China. From there, they are purchased in bulk by resellers who merely apply cosmetic changes and branding. These hoverboards contain large batteries that can misfire, resulting in serious damage.
Just last week, a hoverboard exploded in a Washington state shopping mall. Although nobody was harmed, shoppers were sent into a panic over the loud blast. Instances like these have dampened the enthusiasm on what was expected to be a very popular toy this holiday season.
In Great Britain, the trading standards authority sent a message to consumers that more than 88% of hoverboards that were imported from outside the European Union had failed basic safety inspections. Most of these hoverboards likely came from China.
Chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Leon Livermore 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.”
While hoverboards were off to a great start, this is a major setback for the self-balancing scooters. Expect consumers to stay away until they are determined to be safe.