Hoverboards withdrawn from sale following safety concerns

Hoverboards have reportedly been withdrawn by Amazon UK.
Hoverboards have reportedly been withdrawn by Amazon UK.

A North East council’s Trading Standards Team is reminding people of national safety concerns around buying hoverboards after many have been found to be unsafe.

The call, from South Tyneside's local authority, comes after local Trading Standards officers recently investigated a case where a charger supplied alongside a hoverboard and bought by a local resident from an online retailer was found to be unsafe and at an increased risk of overheating, exploding or catching fire.

The resident had contacted the team after seeing a national warning about their safety. Officers tested the charger and plug, which were found not to comply with safety standards, and advice was given on how to return the product to the retailer.

Amazon UK is reported to have stopped selling the gadgets following concerns nationally, Swagway, a manufacturer, has revealed.

The company said a "widespread notice" has been sent to sellers on the online retail site asking them to prove their products are compliant with safety standards.

Many hoverboards were found to have non-compliant plugs which increase the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.

It appears that listings for hoverboards have since been removed from Amazon UK, with only product accessories remaining on sale.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Electrical items are extremely popular Christmas gifts and with the hoverboard being one of the latest crazes, we expect many people looking to get one will be shopping around to get a good deal.

“However, there has been a number of incidents across the country where many hoverboards, particularly the plugs and chargers, have failed to meet safety regulations and in some cases, have caused injury or extensive damage to people’s property.

“We would urge people buying a hoverboard for their loved ones to following some safety advice to avoid the risk of serious injury or damage caused by substandard items.”

Earlier this month, National Trading Standards said 15,000 of the 17,000 self-balancing scooters examined since October 15 had been seized, mainly for having non-compliant electrical components that could explode or catch fire.

Many of the boards were found to have non-compliant plugs without fuses, which increase the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire, and cut-off switches which failed when tested.

Chargers, cabling and batteries were also found to fail safety standards.

Amazon UK has not yet issued a comment, but Swagway said: " Amazon sent out a notice on Friday ... to all 'hoverboard' sellers to 'provide documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant with applicable safety standards, including UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642 (battery), and UL 60950-1 (charger)'.

"Swagway is and has been from the start, UL, FCC, CE, RohS, Prop 65 and UN38.3 certified and has passed all testing in adherence to government guidelines. On that end, Swagway has already sent over the requested information to Amazon."

It added: " As safety is on the forefront for Swagway, we applaud Amazon for taking these steps to weed out the low quality boards and want to note that this removal is not specific to Swagway, but includes 97% of the other branded hoverboards that were also selling on their site."