Trading Standards officers stopped nearly 1,800 unsafe ‘hoverboards’ from being sold to consumers in Birmingham during the run up to Christmas, according to a new report.
Birmingham City Council’s trading standards team, working with port authorities across the country, to suspend the sale of the popular gadgets – most of which were being imported from China.
During December 2015 officers contacted firms importing the boards to establish whether the products they were handling complied with safety legislation.
As a result of this action 1,766 devices were suspended from nine importers after officers found these were unsafe or had inadequate documentation to prove whether they met British and European safety standards.
This followed a number of reported incidents across the country where the battery-powered, self-balancing scooters were catching fire, raising concerns over their safety.
Initially some plugs, chargers and connecting cords failed to meet recognised safety standards, then a more serious issue was identified in some boards where the battery’s cut off switch failed, allowing it to continue charging when full – causing it to overheat and catch fire in some cases.
Port authorities would usually seize and detain any suspect consignments, but they became so overwhelmed with the number of hoverboards coming into the country that they had to release them without checks, notifying local Trading Standards teams for them to take appropriate action.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Our Trading Standards officers take product safety extremely seriously but retailers must share this responsibility to stop substandard – and potentially dangerous – products coming into the marketplace.
“Consumers buying electrical goods should not let a new fashion or fad cloud their judgement so they should be wary of cheap, and potentially dangerous, electrical products. Be sure to check whatever you’re buying meets safety standards – look out for CE mark and is BS1363 on the plug.
“If people have any doubts over a product’s safety, they should contact Citizens Advice national consumer helpline.”
Consumers are reminded never to leave electrical devices, such as ‘hoverboards’, charging unattended – especially overnight – as if they overheat this could cause them to catch fire.
Look at the plug, as many of the unsafe products had a clover-shaped plug and also check the device for markings or traceable information, such as the name and contact details of the manufacturer and / or importer.
A report on Trading Standards work on hoverboards will be presented at this month’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee meeting on 17 February 2016.
Media contact: Emma Brady, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 303 6969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
People can find more consumer advice and information on Trading Standards webpage www.birmingham.gov.uk/tradingstandards
They can also contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/