Warning Over Hoverboard Fire-risk

Christmas Must-have ‘Swegway’ Devices Deemed Dangerous

04.12.2015

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Product liability experts have warned consumers hoping to buy this year’s ‘must-have’ Christmas gadget to exercise ‘extreme caution,’ after testing revealed they were at risk of exploding or bursting into flames. 

The strong advice comes after of thousands of the popular ‘hoverboards’ were impounded at UK ports. 

UK Trading Standards have revealed that more than 17,000 hoverboards imported from beyond the EU have been examined over the last seven weeks, of which over 15,000 (88%) failed basic safety checks. 

The futuristic gadget – also known as a self-balancing scooter, eboard or swegway is tipped to top the Christmas list this year, but there have been reports that poor quality, imported versions are a fire hazard. 

High street retailer Halfords issued a recall of its Air Runner Balance Board, after it was found that some of the £499 products had been sold with a mains plug and charger that failed to meet British standards. 

Wholesaler Costco have also issued a safety notice over Air Runner hoverboards sold in their UK stores, warning of unsafe plugs which pose an electrocution risk. 

Officers at UK ports, airports and borders have reported a huge spike in the number of the items arriving in recent weeks, with testing revealing safety issues with the plug, cabling, charger, battery or the cutoff switch within the board, which often fails. 

Many of the items were found to have non-compliant plugs without fuses, which increases the risk of the device overheating, exploding or even catching fire. 

Demand for the boards, used by Brooklyn Beckham, Lily Allen and Usain Bolt, is so high that John Lewis has already sold out and does not expect to be able to replenish its stock in time for Christmas. 

Fire brigades in London and Buckinghamshire have been called out to fires caused by the battery pack or charger overheating and having no safety cutoff function, while a Kent family suffered £25,000 of damage to their house after a hoverboard exploded in their kitchen.

Associate solicitor and product liability specialist at Irwin Mitchell, Tim Annett, said consumers needed to exercise extreme caution when purchasing a hoverboard.

Our expert personal injury lawyers will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you have been injured as a result of a faulty or defective hoverboard. See our Faulty Hoverboard Claims page for more information.


Expert Opinion
Hoverboards are hugely popular and seem to have captured the public’s imagination. It is a real concern that such a large percentage have been found to have potentially dangerous faults.

People expect premium products like this to be of good quality and safe especially when bought from a reputable retailer.

“Electrical faults could lead to serious injury not to mention property damage given the risk of fire.

Halfords have acted responsibly by recalling their hoverboard and we call on other retailers to do the same.

Consumers should be able to trust that products like this are safe so it is especially concerning when even trusted retailers such as Halfords are recalling them.

Consumers need to be aware of the risks. When buying a hoverboard shoppers need to make sure they have thoroughly researched safety requirements.

The figures of products that do not meet British standards are deeply concerning - it may be the number one Christmas gift this year but no present is worth risking the safety of your home and family.
Tim Annett, Partner