Hoverboards are red-hot this year — sometimes literally.
British officials are warning customers about the risk of buying cheap hoverboards, saying that they can come with dodgy plugs, indecipherable instructions, and could even “explode.”
The warning comes after a slew of cases of hoverboards bursting into flames.
Trading Standards in Kent, England, has published a blog post about the dangers associated with cheap knock-off versions of the wildly popular two-wheeled portable transportation device.
It says 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, says 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 earlier this month.
Here’s a photo of the destroyed device, shared on Twitter by London Fire Brigade:
It’s not the only time this has happened — London Fire Brigade said in October it had seen two fires in two weeks:
Also this month, a woman from Buckinghamshire had to go to hospital after being burnt by a flaming hoverboard, BuzzFeed News reported.
It’s yet more bad news for British hoverboard enthusiasts. In October, the Metropolitan Police warned that people using the device in public in London are breaking the law. It argues that they should be considered “self-balancing scooter[s].” This means they are not legal for road use, but cannot be ridden on pavements either.
The rules were designed to govern the use of the larger Segways, but the Met argues the rules equally apply to hoverboards too.
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