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US Postal Service Joins Amazon In Hoverboards Debacle, Issues Its Own Restrictions

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Gadget fans who think hoverboards are a perfect Christmas gift were taken aback by an announcement from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which no longer sends the gizmos via air delivery.

The reason for the ban lies with increased safety concerns, as multiple reports indicated that the batteries from some hoverboards present a potential fire hazard.

"Effective immediately and until further notice, the Postal Service will ship the hoverboards only using Standard Post/Parcel Select, which travels on ground transportation, due to potential safety hazards pertaining to lithium batteries," a statement from USPS reads.

The decision of the USPS follows similar restrictive actions from major vendors and airline companies that refused to sell or transport the item.

Dedicated fans of the mailable motorized balance boards (or hoverboards, for short) can still ship or order them inside the United States by using Standard Post or Parcel Select. This means that they will have to wait a bit longer for their gadgets to arrive - up to eight business days.

People looking to send hoverboards overseas as a gift are not as lucky. The company stated that no such items can be part of international mail shipments. USPS added that hoverboards are forbidden in shipments "to or from APO, FPO and DPO destinations."

Out of caution, U.S. airlines such as Delta, Southwest, United and American no longer allow passengers to carry boards in their carry-on or checked luggage.

Safety concerns about the gizmos' batteries prompted Overstock to stop selling the boards last week. Amazon also banned a number of hoverboard brands from selling on its website. The company asked all sellers of hoverboards to certify that the devices are safe. On Wednesday, Swagway boards reappeared on Amazon.

Hoverboards, in spite of their sci-fi promising name, do not actually defy gravity. The board is actually a balance mechanism, featuring two wheels with a platform between them, and use lithium ion batteries for power. When the batteries are made in suspicious shops, they pose a significant overheating risk.

The reported fire incidents were linked to the batteries in hoverboards heating up excessively.

Photo: Shannon McGee | Flickr

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