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Hoverboard warning from Consumer Affairs

Residents are being warned about the potential safety risks of hoverboards which have come under intense scrutiny in the United States.

The Office of Consumer Affairs has put out an advisory notice after reports in the US and Britain that they pose a serious threat of overheating and catching fire.

A rash of explosions and house fires connected to them have led Amazon and Overstock.com to ban the sale of many hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters or balance boards.

Karen Marshall, executive officer of Consumer Affairs, said in a press release: “We are aware that there have been numerous reports of safety issues overseas relating to hoverboards, and we have received one call from a concerned local resident.

“It appears that the main problem is the type of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries being used in some of them as well as plugs, cablings and chargers that may be of very poor quality.”

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has not yet issued a recall on the hoverboards but they are looking into the safety of the entire product line and they are investigating ten hoverboard-related fire incidents in Washington, California, New York, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Maryland.

Several airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, United and British Airways, have banned hoverboards from flights because the devices use lithium-ion batteries, making them potentially dangerous to transport.

Consumer Affairs is providing the following safety tips:

• Make sure that the manufacturer's name or trademark is visible on the packaging. Only buy from a reputable retailer because if something does go wrong, you are in a strong position to return the item and get a refund, repair or replacement.

• Retailers should only sell products from reputable manufacturers and importers. And, more importantly, they should ensure that all goods stocked on their shelves are certified as meeting US or EU safety standards.

• Do your research. Remember, not all hoverboards are the same, there are variances in quality and cost. It has been reported that many Chinese manufacturers have produced their own non-branded hoverboards a much lower prices; however there have been issues with the on-board battery and charging cable that can cause them to overheat and explode. Read the reviews of specific models of hoverboards before purchasing to verify quality.

• If you own a hoverboard do not charge it unattended, overnight or when you are not at home. The board should only be charged when someone is present and paying attention to it. A number of the fire incidents were reported to have started while being charged.

Ms Marshall said: “Fire and overheating are not the only problems associated with hoverboards.

“The CPSC received 39 reports of emergency room injuries involving hoverboard-related falls and collisions. Hoverboard users should be wearing appropriate safety equipment including a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads to avoid injury from falls. Additionally, we urge everyone to ensure that you are purchasing safe products this holiday season.”

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Published December 16, 2015 at 1:26 pm (Updated December 16, 2015 at 1:26 pm)

Hoverboard warning from Consumer Affairs

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