Regulators Investigating 13 Hoverboard Companies, Amazon Announces Refunds For Scooter Owners

img-20151214-00061 (1)For nearly two months now, federal regulators have been working to get to the bottom of exploding hoverboards. This week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced just which brands of self-balancing scooters they are investigating, while also offering a few safety tips for consumers who might already have one of the devices at home. 

CSPC chairman Elliot Kaye provided an update on the agency’s investigation into the safety of hoverboards, noting that 13 companies are currently being scrutinized.

Engineers with the agency are testing hoverboards – both new models and those involved in fire incidents – at its National Product Testing and Evaluation Center.

“Our investigators and engineers continue to work diligently to find the root cause of the hoverboard fires that have occurred throughout the country,” Kaye said in the update. “CPSC staff is focusing on the components of the lithium-ion battery packs as well as their interaction with the circuit boards inside the units.”

Companies currently involved in the investigation are:
• Smart Balance Wheel/One Stop Electronic Inc.
• Smart Balance Wheel Scooter/Glide Boards
• Hover-way Hands-Free Electric/Digital Gadgets LLC
• Swagway Hands-Free Smart Board/Swagway LLC
• Smart Balance Board/I Lean Hoverboards
• E-Rover-Mini Smart Balance Scooter/LeCam Technology
• Smart Balance Wheels/Kateeskitty
• iMOTO/Keenford Limited
• Smart Balance Wheel/Luxiyan and
• Uwheels
• E-Rover Smart Balance Wheel

While Kaye says the agency hasn’t made any determinations about hoverboards just yet, he did provide several safety updates and resources available to device owners.

First, he encouraged hoverboard owners to take advantage of Amazon’s offer to return and refund consumers who purchased boards from the e-retailer.

“I want to commend Amazon for voluntarily stepping up, providing a free remedy and putting customer safety first,” Kaye said.

He also reiterated that while Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety consulting and certification company, may have certified parts of hoverboards, such as battery packs and power supplies, there currently is no UL certification for hoverboards as a whole.

This declaration comes just days after UL issued a notification that Swagway marketed and sold hoverboards with the UL mark, without first being evaluated to “any standard of safety.”

“At this time, the presence of a UL mark on hoverboards or their packaging should not be an indication to consumers of the product’s safety,” Kaye said. “In fact, any such mark is at best misleading and may even be a sign of a counterfeit product.”

In addition to providing consumers with updates on its investigation, the CPSC also urged owners of boards to use them with caution:
• Have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using these boards.
• Charge in an open area away from combustible materials.
• Gear up before riding, which means putting on a skateboard helmet, elbow and knee pads and wrist guards.
• Do not use a hoverboard on or near a road.

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