On Tuesday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of more than 500,000 hoverboards due to fire hazards. The CPSC states that the “lithium-ion battery packs in the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards can overheat, posing a risk of the products smoking, catching fire and/or exploding.”
The recall comes after the CPSC’s widely-reported investigation of several fires and explosions involving the popular self-balancing scooter. The CPSC said that it received 99 reports of injuries or property damage resulting from hoverboard fires and explosions. According to CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye, the CPSC “has investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires in more than 20 states that resulted in more than $2 million in property damage.”
The broad recall covers eight different manufacturers and importers and two online retailers. The Swagway X1, sold by Swagway LLC of South Bend, Indiana, makes up more than half of the recalled hoverboards. The recall also includes “all hoverboards sold on Overstock.com.” All of the recalled hoverboards are manufactured in China.
Several businesses claim to have invented the hoverboard, which was being built by multiple Chinese manufacturers by late 2014. They exploded in popularity by 2015, but reports of fires and other injuries began spreading by the end of that year.
In January 2016, Underwriters Laboratories, who certifies the safety of electrical products, announced that hoverboards marketed by Swagway were bearing a counterfeit “UL” mark. In fact, no hoverboard was UL certified until May 2016. Counterfeit UL marks have been a growing problem in recent years, particularly with Chinese manufacturers.
Fire hazards are not the only reported safety issues plaguing hoverboards. Falls are also a concern. During last year’s holiday season, the CPSC received over 70 reports of emergency room visits due to hoverboard falls and collisions. Videos of hoverboard falls went viral.
Some government authorities have used existing laws to effectively ban hoverboards from public use: The NYPD announced that it considers hoverboards to be illegal as “motor vehicles” that cannot be registered with the NY Department of Motor Vehicles, and the UK Department for Transport has held that hoverboards are motor vehicles that cannot be operated on British sidewalks and foot paths.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or property damage due to a hoverboard fire or fall, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or toll free at 713-222-7211.