Warning over fire-risk hoverboards with several seized in Moray

One of the hoverboards seized by Trading Standards
One of the hoverboards seized by Trading Standards

HOVERBOARDS THAT HAVE been shown to be unsafe have been seized from several Moray shops.

Trading Standards officers visited retailers in Elgin, Forres and Buckie as part of a nationwide operation to locate and remove from sale the imported devices.

Over 15,000 of 17,000 intercepted imports of the hoverboards – which have also been sold as self-balancing scooters – have been deemed as unsafe, prompting the move by trading standards officers throughout the UK to locate and seize suspect units.

Unsafe boards were found to have plugs without fuses and defective cut-off switches that meant there was a high risk that they would overheat and catch fire.  Extensive damage has already been caused to homes around the country as a result – and now consumers are being urged to take great care this Christmas over the unsafe products.

Leon Livermore, chief executive of the UK Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said: “Criminals and irresponsible manufacturers will often exploit high demand and attempt to flood the market with cheap and dangerous products.

“Consumers should not let a new fashion or craze cloud their judgement and remain vigilant at all times, to avoid taking home an unsafe product. Some products that are made abroad, principally for the overseas market, are not fitted with the correct plug and fuse for use in the UK.

“As a minimum the three pin plug on the device should state it’s made to BS1363 – if it does not include this information, then don’t buy the product. “

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Station Manager in Prevention and Protection at Elgin, Ben Law, added: “The service is aware of the concern around devices being marketed as hoverboards or balance boards and our advice would be to never leave a charging battery unattended.

“Do not exceed the recommended charging time and disconnect the battery when charging is complete. Make sure you only charge the battery in a location fitted with a smoke alarm and well away from flammable materials, soft furnishings, beds, sofas and carpets and don’t charge batteries in an unattended vehicle.”

Whether you already own one of these products or are purchasing for a loved one this Christmas, National Trading Standards has compiled the following tips for consumers thinking of purchasing self-balancing scooters:

  • Never leave the device charging unattended, especially overnight. A faulty cut-off switch means it could overheat.
  • Check the plug. Many faulty devices have a “clover-shaped” plug.
  • If buying online, be careful to check the website is genuine and has a contactable phone number and address.
  • Don’t be dazzled by prices which seem too low.

National Trading Standards needs help to clamp down on unsafe products from abroad, and are asking anyone who believes that any online or face-to-face seller is selling potentially dangerous goods, or something you have bought has made you suspicious, to report it to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.