18 March 2016
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has welcomed the Federal Assistant Treasurer's decision to place an interim ban on unsafe hoverboards following a spate of house fires directly linked to the popular products in Australia.
The news comes in the wake of CHOICE's warning to consumers in December last year after a number of overseas fires were linked to the products and an ACCC investigation which found fire safety risks from:
- Defective charging devices
- Electrical circuitry
- Substandard lithium-ion batteries
"With consumers facing the very real risk of death or serious injury, we welcome the Minister's decision to place an interim ban on unsafe hoverboards," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"While these products might look more like something out of a science fiction film, the fire risk from units that do not meet Australian electrical safety standards couldn't be more real.
"With hoverboards being so popular last Christmas, it's vital consumers who purchase one of these products check with the ACCC to ensure their product has not been caught up in a recall," says Mr Godfrey.
The Federal Government has indicated that the interim ban will last for 60 days as it consults further with hoverboard suppliers and electrical safety experts to consider any future action.
What to look for when purchasing a hoverboard:
- Check to see it isn't listed on the recalls.gov.au website
- An easy-to-read manual
- A short battery charge time
- A long distance claim (meaning a longer charge will be maintained from the battery)
- An inflatable tyre but make sure they are topped up with air to the required level
- Weight of the scooter if you need to carry it
- Safety warning features when approaching maximum speed
CHOICE has reviewed three self-balancing scooters, ranging in price from $799 to $1966 for a unicycle.