Amazon has begun removing hoverboards for sale from its site after multiple high-profile instances of the devices catching fire and exploding, The Verge reports.
The two-wheeled self-balancing boards are fast becoming notorious due to a spate of dangerous malfunctions. British authorities have already put out warnings about the boards, urging customers not to buy cheap ones online that fail to meet basic safety standards.
As previously reported by BestReviews, Amazon has now actively started removing listings from its site over explosion fears. All five of the “top hoverboards” the review site wrote about were unavailable as of Monday morning.
According to Swagway, a hoverboard manufacturer, Amazon is sending out a notice to “all” hoverboard sellers, demanding that they prove that their products are compliant with the relevant safety specifications.
The company told The Verge that it “already meets all those certifications and is happy that Amazon has decided to take steps to weed out the low quality boards. As safety is always on the forefront for Swagway, we’re glad that this is taking place, especially in light of recent concerns with the fires with the poor quality batteries.”
Trading Standards in Kent, England put out a warning about the boards in November. It said that they should cost around £300 to £600 ($450-900) from most reputable shops, but potentially faulty models are going for as low as £100 ($150) “on auction sites and social media accounts.”
James Whiddett, operations manager for KCC Trading Standards, said he’s seen cheap hoverboards spontaneously ignite: “These things have batteries in them that can overheat and catch fire and we’ve seen that happen in the county already.”
One burst into flame in Deal, Kent, while charging — setting fire to a man’s kitchen and causing £25,000-worth of damage, Kent Online reported in November. Also in November, a woman from Buckinghamshire had to go to hospital after being burnt by a flaming hoverboard.
In early December, Britain’s National Trading Standards Agency announced it had seized more than 15,000 “cheap and dangerous” hoverboards.
Airlines are also increasingly banning the boards from their planes over safety fears.
In another piece of unfortunate news for the hoverboard industry, sellers are being targeted relentlessly by scammers. BuzzFeed News got its hands on documents suggesting that chargeback rates (a sign of credit card fraud) are as high as 75% for some vendors, compared to a normal rate of around 1%.
In October, the Metropolitan Police said that under existing legislation, the boards are illegal to use in public in London.
Here’s the statement provided to The Verge by Swagway about Amazon:
Amazon just sent out a notice to all “hoverboard” sellers to “provide documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant with applicable safety standards, including UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642 (battery), and UL 60950-1 (charger).”
Swagway already meets all those certifications and is happy that Amazon has decided to take steps to weed out the low quality boards. As safety is always on the forefront for Swagway, we’re glad that this is taking place, especially in light of recent concerns with the fires with the poor quality batteries.
On that note, we’re also in the process of working on measures, to help consumers identify between an authentic Swagway and the many imitation boards that are adding our branded logo to their unauthorised boards. Meanwhile, we ask that consumers only purchase from authorised retailers as an added precaution.