Amazon UK urges customers to throw away hoverboards
December 16 2015 05:51 PM


AFP/ London

The British branch of online retailer Amazon on Wednesday urged customers to throw away defective "hoverboards", two-wheeled scooters that have become a craze ahead of the Christmas season.

In an email, the company warned customers who had bought some models of the electric travel devices through its UK website that they were unsafe and should be disposed of because of "non-compliant" plugs.

"We've received information that your order purchased through the website is unsafe for use as this product is supplied with a non-compliant UK plug," the email said.

It urged customers to bring their hoverboards to a recycling centre to be disposed of as soon as possible and said that they would receive an automatic refund in three days.

A separate email was sent advising customers that bought scooters with rechargeable lithium ion batteries that the tradings standards body had "raised concerns about the safety of some Self-Balancing Scooters".

"As a precaution, we want to share some additional information about lithium-ion batteries, as well as some safety tips for using products that contain them, and UK plugs," the second email read.

It comes after 15,000 hoverboards were seized by National Trading Standards, mainly due to electrical components that were non-compliant and could catch fire or explode.

Many of the seized hoverboards had plugs lacking fuses meaning they had a greater risk of overheating, cut-off switches which failed, and chargers and batteries that failed safety standards.

Hoverboards have been linked to a series of fires, prompting the London Fire Brigade to warn the public not to leave the devices charging unattended.

Retailer Argos said it had removed its Nevaboard line of hoverboards from sale as it did additional tests.

Watchdog the Retail Ombudsman urged businesses to remove the unsafe hoverboards from sale and warned they could be "held liable for any injuries caused by unsafe goods".

"Consumers who have already purchased a hoverboard, perhaps as a Christmas present, should contact the retailer and for their written assurance that it's safe and in particular that it has a compliant plug with a fuse," chief ombudsman Dean Dunham said.

It is illegal to ride the self-balancing scooters in public in Britain, because they are vehicles that don't meet regulations requirements.

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