Christmas shoppers buying hoverboards are being warned by Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers to be extra cautious after fears were raised about the safety of cheap imitations heading for the county.
The county council’s trading standards team has issued the warning about cheap `copycat’ versions of genuine hoverboards, also called self-balancing scooters, after fires were caused by battery pack or chargers overheating in Kent, London and Buckinghamshire.
The battery-powered hoverboards are priced between £300 and £600 from reputable outlets, but cheaper, fake versions costing around £100 or less, are also available, mainly online.
Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “Our trading standards officers have been alerted to consignments of these cheap imitations heading to Derbyshire and they may be seen as very attractive Christmas presents due to the lower price.
“Unfortunately, it is likely that most of the cheaper hoverboards could be potentially very dangerous.”
Trading standards officers working at UK ports have reported that of the imported hoverboards they have tested, a total of 90 per cent have failed to meet safety standards and could be potentially dangerous.
Most of the imported hoverboards had a range of faults including unfused chargers which don’t protect against over-charging and don’t fit UK sockets properly.
To help people stay safe county council trading standards officers are urging consumers to only buy from reputable and established retailers and check for the following:
• A CE mark
• The name and address of the manufacturer/importer
• Model/serial numbers
• Warnings and instructions for safe use that are written clearly and make sense.
Councillor Allen said: “We always warn consumers that if they see something that looks `too good to be true’ it usually is, and these cheap hoverboards are the latest example.
As well as being cheaper, some of these products may have fake safety marks on them and trading standards officers are urging suppliers to carry out checks on the goods before they put them on sale.
Councillor Allen added: “Our priority is to help people stay safe and that’s why we’re warning consumers to think twice about what they are buying.
“We are encouraging people to follow the advice and look for the warning signs. No matter how much of a bargain they appear to be, no saving is worth putting your safety at risk.”
Trading standards have also issued the following safety tips to avoid fire risks:
• Never leave a charging battery unattended
• Do not exceed the recommended charging time and disconnect the battery when charging is complete
• Only charge in a location fitted with a smoke alarm and well away from flammable materials, soft furnishings, beds, sofas and carpets
• Do not charge batteries in an unattended vehicle.
Anyone who has concerns about the safety of goods they have bought or seen for sale can report them to the county council’s trading standards team through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.