Fears over potential road accidents, pedestrian injuries and product liability compensation claims have led to 32,000 hoverboards being held at border points, with online giant Amazon joining other sellers in discarding their stock of the futuristic-type devices. Furthermore, the retailers have said that they will offer full refunds to affected consumers. Some of the devices are known to be fitted with hazardous and unsuitable plugs, which are thought to present a fire and burn injury risk. There are also concerns regarding the lithium batteries in some of the boards.
According to National Trading Standards nearly 40,000 hoverboards have been assessed at border points because of concerns over safety, with 32,000 deemed to be unsafe.
"Trading Standards officers have detained the boards due to numerous concerns including safety issues with the plugs, cabling, chargers, batteries or the cut-off switches within the boards, which are designed to stop the battery from continuing to charge once fully charged," commented a spokesperson with National Trading Standards.
"A faulty cut-off switch can lead to the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.
"National Trading Standards is urging consumers to be vigilant this Christmas and avoid putting their households at risk with unsafe products."
Argos has also had to recall its range of hoverboards, while John Lewis has also recalled its models in a move it describes as a "precaution". Both retailers say that they will carry out further testing before deciding whether to restock the items.
The Retail Ombudsman watchdog said that under the Consumer Protection Act retailers and manufacturers could find themselves liable for any burn injury or other personal injury compensation claims arising from problems with the hoverboards.
"Retailers who continue to sell hoverboards, that they deem to be safe, should also take note of the Crown Prosecution Service's position. They have made clear that for safety reasons it is illegal to ride these hoverboards in public (on the road or paths) and this important information should be communicated to the consumer at the point of sale," commented the chief ombudsman.
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