FAULTY HOVERBOARDS: Council issues warning amid more safety concerns

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Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team say they have recieved reports of faulty hoverboards- the same week two children were saved from a house fire after the toy exploded.

The council announced in December it had seized 19 hoverboards – or self-balancing scooters – from an importer based in the county who was selling them on Facebook at £240. The paperwork with the hoverboards did not match the product so the items had to be regarded as potentially unsafe.

Since the Christmas period, teams have suspended the sale of dozens of other suspected unsafe hoverboards from retailers across the county to prevent them getting into the marketplace.

This week’s high profile incident at a home in Bradford where a hoverboard exploded has once again highlighted the potential dangers.

A handful of consumers have also since come forward to say that their hoverboards have a broken pivot in the middle where the rider stands to self-balance - making the items redundant.

Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, committee chairman for community safety, at the county council, said: “These latest product failures reported in Nottinghamshire appear to be indicative of some poorly designed products which were rushed out to market to meet demand for this craze in recent months. We advise people affected to contact their retailer as they are entitled to a refund.

“We have seized numerous types of hoverboard in recent months on occasions where we have been unable to determine if they are safe and compliant with legislation. In terms of online sales of these hoverboards, we also continue to urge shoppers to be very careful when making such purchases.”

Three house fires were reported towards the end of last year in Kent which were directly attributed to the boards overheating whilst being charged. The Crown Prosecution Service and Department for Transport have also stated that the scooters cannot be used legally in public places.

The county council’s Trading Standards team has also given some useful guidance on the visual indicators of what markings should be on a product supplied in the UK:

-The board itself and the charger should be CE marked and both marked to enable identification of the UK supplier (name and address details or trademark of a UK supplier)

-The board should be marked with a model number and/or serial number.

-The packaging should be marked with the name and address of the UK supplier.

These are the bare minimum in terms of marking requirements and not a definite indicator of safety but if they’re not on the products then they will be non-compliant with labelling requirements at the very least.

Other key advice, which applies to any toys:

· Always buy from a reputable retailer, whether on-line or on the High Street

· When buying on-line always ensure the seller has a postal address and contact number so unsafe or faulty items can be reported and returned

· Always ensure on-line payments are secure

. If items cost over £100 consider paying by credit card, this gives extra protection

· Never use chargers from other items, even if the fittings are the same, they may not be suitable and could cause a fire

If you have been targeted by a scam, you can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.