Nottinghamshire County Council is urging people to be on alert after seizing a batch of potentially unsafe ‘hoverboards’ in the county.
The self-balancing scooters – dubbed ‘hoverboards’ – roll on wheels and have become this year’s must-have Christmas gift, but the council’s Trading Standards team has seized 19 hover boards from an importer based in Nottinghamshire.
It is believed the importer has sold around 20 on Facebook for approximately £240 each but is now working with the Trading Standards team to contact those who have bought the hoverboards to return them.
The county council did receive paperwork with the hoverboards which cannot be shown to apply to these products so the items have to be regarded as potentially unsafe. They will be tested by the county council to find out if the chargers over heat, which is a concern with a number of hoverboards being seized nationally.
The hoverboards seized are also those of a type which have been tested elsewhere in the UK and have failed.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Community Safety Committee Chairman, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The county council’s Trading Standards officers are working with Trading Standards colleagues across the UK to check these self-balancing scooters. We have seized these hoverboards from an importer in the county as they cannot be shown to be safe and compliant with legislation.
“In terms of online sales of these hoverboards, we would urge shoppers to be very careful when making such purchases. Also bear in mind the advice on legal use, they could prove to be both dangerous and disappointing presents.”
In the rush to meet demand, untested and potentially unsafe items have been imported in huge numbers. Problems include the chargers and internal electrics, which do not meet European or UK standards and come with inadequate instructions. The county council urges people who are looking at these items this Christmas to take extra care before buying.
Three house fires have been reported in recent weeks in Kent which it is understood 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.
Elsewhere, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team continues to be on the lookout for any counterfeit Disney’s Frozen goods which might be on the market, following last year’s alert over snap bracelets which were available from online auction sites.
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
· When items arrive ensure they are “ce” marked and come with adequate instructions
· Any chargers should have UK standard plugs and should also be “ce” marked
· 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.