This news definitely comes as a huge shocker to everyone. The UK government has confiscated 15,000 hoverboards at the country’s ports this week, after testing showed that many of the increasingly popular self-balancing scooters were unsafe and potential fire hazards. The hoverboards, which are this season’s hot item, were found to have serious problems with many of the components, reported The Verge.
“Many of the items detained and sent for testing have been found to have noncompliant plugs without fuses, which increases the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire,” said the National Trading Standards, which is the UK’s version of the Federal Trade Commission.
It said that 88% of the hoverboards it seized around the UK were found to be defective. Most were discovered at the Suffolk port of Felixstowe, but others arrived at East Midlands airport and in Glasgow.
According to BBC, trading standards is now giving the following tips to consumers who are thinking of buying a hoverboard or who may already have done so:
- 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.
Lord Toby Harris, chair of the National Trading Standards, told that the agency?s teams have noticed a significant increase in the amount of dangerous hoverboards entering the country recently, and they are ?working round the clock to prevent dangerous items from entering the supply chain.? The products are entering the country to be sold by domestic retailers. He advises anyone planning on purchasing a hoverboard to read the agency?s product safety list.
Because there is no primary manufacturer, the hoverboard market is flooded with knockoffs. According to reports, Chinese manufacturers are locked in tight, high-stakes competition, with each trying to produce as many as possible to meet the growing demand from Western consumers, reports CNN Money.
With lots of money flowing in both directions, safety and quality control can sometimes become an afterthought.