Hoverboards — self-balancing, two-wheeled electric boards that look like a skateboard — were the fad of the 2015 holiday season.
But safety officials and consumer groups are warning the public to think twice before purchasing the popular gadgets. In recent weeks there have been numerous reports of the boards sparking fires, including one in Boca Raton, Florida that ignited while an 11-year-old girl was riding it.
Days earlier, a Louisiana woman reported that when her son went to recharge his “Fit Turbo” hoverboard, sparks shot out and fire engulfed the room.
Faulty plugs, found mostly on less expensive models, present a risk of overheating, resulting in a fire, according to the National Trading Standards.
Technology website CNET explains that there are a wide variety of price points and hoverboard models, ranging from about a few hundred dollars to $1,500. Consumers, they advise, should steer clear of models that cost under $300 as they tend to have weaker motors and lower quality batteries.
Amazon and eBay offered the largest hoverboard selection, but also the most knockoffs, which are reportedly more apt to explode. CNN reported in mid-December that Amazon pulled 97 percent of the self-balancing scooters from its digital shelves.
One manufacturer, Swagway, told the network that Amazon contacted sellers asking for proof that their gadgets “are compliant with applicable safety standards.”
Both New York City and London have outlawed hoverboards.
Newsome Melton senior partner Rich Newsome is a nationally recognized products liability expert who has won numerous multi-million dollar awards on behalf of injured consumers. He is also a leading voice in the fight for product safety in both Washington D.C. and his home state of Florida.