Recreational products that burst into flames has prompted E-commerce giant Amazon to stop selling hoverboards on its website. Not all hoverboards have been pulled; only those from the Swagway Company. Retailers are now being asked by Amazon to provide safety documentation for individual products. The decision is a direct result of several incidents involving fire caused by such devices. New York State has already banned the public use of hoverboards. It’s now illegal there to ride them on pavements and public roads.
“Segway already meets the certifications and is happy that Amazon has decided to get involved in weeding out low-quality products,” said a manager from the Swagway Company – a leader in the hoverboard industry.
The popularity of self-balancing scooters has risen at a high pace during the recent months, especially due to celebrity endorsements. Along with the original scooters, there are cheap alternatives that do not provide the same level of safety as the originals. The decision from Amazon is based on the high number of incidents of fire caused by these devices.
Along with Amazon, another big retailer – Overstock.com has stopped selling the hoverboards. Overstock, however, has stopped selling all brands, not only Swagway.
UK commerce officials have investigated more than 17.000 hoverboards shipped into the country with almost 15.000 of the total marked as highly unsafe on usage.
Fire safety authorities have also warned that low-quality boards carry the same fire risk due to poor electrical connections and charging points. London Fire Brigade made a recommendation only to buy official versions of the hoverboards.
So far this year, there have been reports of 11 devices igniting in several states, according to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). Recently, a board burst into flames at a Washington state mall. Videos of exploding hoverboards like this one from ABC are showing up on Youtube more and more.
The hoverboards, which incidentally do not hover, feature two wheels with a platform between them. The boards landed on the buying lists of many people this year after public personalities like Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner posted photos of themselves playing around (and falling off) the boards. Ebay recently reported that they were selling hoverboards at a rate of one every twelve seconds.
The self-balancing scooters seem to be just as hot with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which stated it has received “at least 10” reports of hoverboard fires in the recent months.
Tips for users from the CPSC
While it conducts its investigation, the CPSC has announced tips for using hoverboards:
1. Don’t charge hoverboards overnight; the lithium-ion batteries can cause potential danger.
2. While using the scooter; wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads.
3. Report any incidents, whether it’s a fall or fire, at saferproducts.gov.
If you’re considering a purchase of a hoverboard for the Christmas holidays, eBay.com still has many for sale. Several retailers including Walmart, Sharper Image, and Toys “R” Us still have some models for sale.