Officials in the United Kingdom are warning holiday shoppers regarding hoverboards, which could be on the wish list for many people, as the personal transportation devices present explosion risks.
Thousands of hoverboards were impounded in ports in the United Kingdom after tests showed that the gadgets, which are also known as self-balancing scooters, eboards and swegways, could explode and burst into flames.
Sales of hoverboards are increasing as Christmas approaches, but there are reports that certain imported versions of the gadgets have poor quality that translates to fire hazards.
Over the weekend, Halfords launched a recall for its Air Runner Balance Board, after it was discovered that some of the £499 ($754) hoverboards were sold to customers despite having a plug and charger which were not in compliance with standards in the United Kingdom.
UK Trading Standards revealed that over 17,000 hoverboards that were imported into the European Union have undergone examinations over the previous seven weeks, with an alarming 88 percent, equivalent to 15,000 hoverboards, failing basic safety standards.
Officers stationed at borders, ports and airports across the United Kingdom said that there has been a huge increase in the influx of hoverboards over the recent weeks. Testing on the gadgets, however, revealed safety concerns regarding the plugs, cables, batteries, charges and switches. Many of the detained hoverboards were discovered to include non-compliant plugs with no fuses, increasing overheating risks that could lead to the gadget catching fire or exploding.
Firefighters in the United Kingdom have received reports of fires that were caused by hoverboard battery packs or overheating chargers, with no safety cutoff feature. A family in Kent has even suffered damages worth £25,000 ($37,799) to their home after an explosion of a hoverboard, while elsewhere in the world, a serious fire in Louisiana was caused by a hoverboard that exploded.
"Criminals and irresponsible manufacturers will often exploit high demand and attempt to flood the market with cheap and dangerous products," said Chartered Trading Standards Institute CEO Leon Livermore, adding that consumers should not have their judgment clouded by new crazes such as the hoverboards.
While not all models of hoverboards present explosion risks, customers should be vigilant when purchasing gadgets online or importing the personal transportation devices from abroad.