Over 15,000 hoverboards have been seized at airports and ports across the UK over fears that the boards may overheat, explode, or catch fire.
Fire Brigades in London and Buckinghamshire said that there have been house fires caused by faulty hoverboards. One Family in Kent said that their hoverboard exploded while charging in the kitchen, causing £25,000-worth of damage.
The futuristic gadget, which is essentially a ‘self-balancing scooter’, is said to be one of the most popular must-have Christmas presents this year.
However, some poor-quality imported versions are a fire hazard.
National Trading Standards (NTS) said that 88% of the hoverboards it seized were defective. The faulty boards it found don’t adhere to European safety standards.
According to NTS, many were found to have plugs without fuses, or faulty chargers and cables that can catch fire.
Consumers should check the quality of a hoverboard (pictured above) before purchasing one.
NTS chairman Lord Toby Harris said: “Our teams at sea ports, postal hubs and airports have seen a significant spike in the number of unsafe hoverboards arriving at national entry points in recent weeks and are working around the clock to prevent dangerous items from entering the supply chain.
“We suspect that most of these products are being imported for onward sale domestically as Christmas approaches.”
Consumer Minister Nick Boles said: “Shoppers should think twice before choosing products from a site that does not appear genuine, and the checklist that National Trading Standards has produced is extremely useful.
“I urge anyone who suspects a hoverboard not to be genuine to report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.”
Consumers in the UK that own hoverboards, or those thinking of buying one, have been given the following advice by NTS:
- Never leave the device charging unattended, especially overnight. A faulty cut-off switch means it could overheat.
- Check the plug. Many faulty devices have a “clover-shaped” plug.
- If buying online, be careful to check the website is genuine and has a contactable phone number and address.
- Don’t be dazzled by prices which seem too low.
- Report any concerns to Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.
It should also be noted that using hoverboards on pavements or roads is illegal in the UK – they should only be used on private property.