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Safety concerns over hoverboards

A hoverboard is a two-wheeled, self-balancing board. There has recently been a huge rise in the popularity of hoverboards - but consumers are urged to take care when buying this product. With hoverboards being so popular, it is not surprising that people are shopping around to get a good deal. However, there have 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.

What to look for when buying a hoverboard

It is advised that you follow some safety advice to avoid the risk of serious injury or damage caused by substandard items. Trading Standards have compiled the following top tops for consumers:

  • Never leave the device charging unattended - especially overnight, faulty cut-off switches or a plug without a fuse could lead to overheating, exploding or catching fire
  • Check the device - check the device for markings or traceable information such as the name and contact details of the manufacturer and/or importer. The plug must be a three pin UK plug and contain a fuse. Many of the unsafe products have had a clover-shaped plug
  • Always buy from reputable sources and stores
  • If buying on line, look closely at the website - spelling and grammatical mistakes can indicate that a business is not professionally run. Look for a landline number to call in the event of problems and check whether the site has an 's' in the 'http' part of the address or a padlock symbol to indicate details are more secure. Read the small print and search product reviews;
  • Don't be dazzled by a bargain - if prices look too good to be true, they probably are
  • Note that criminals exploit high demand - crooks often quickly fill the void selling poor quality imitation items when popular products sell out at well-known retailers
  • Buying online for onward sale online - it is the seller's responsibility to ensure items comply with product safety  

Consumers are also advised that the use of hoverboards is subject to a number of restrictions under the Highways Act. They are not permitted to be used on public pavements and roads in the UK and can only be legally used on private property with the land owner's permission.

What to do if you suspect a faulty hoverboard

Anyone who has purchased a hoverboard or has an electrical device they suspect may be unsafe is encouraged to stop using it immediately, do not charge the product and get in touch with the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040 506.

To help protect South Tyneside consumers, our Trading Standards officers carried out visits to local retailers and market traders advising them of the safety concerns around hoverboards, although none were found to be on sale in the Borough. Officers have also given advice to concerned residents who had bought the product from online retailers.

 

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