The moment back in January when a U.S. safety body told hoverboard owners to keep a fire extinguisher close to their machine at all times was the moment many people took seriously the idea that their personal transporter really could burst into flames without warning.
And now, several months after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched an investigation into the machine, eight manufacturers and two retailers have issued recall notices for a total of more than 500,000 units.
The CPSC is urging hoverboard owners to take the recall seriously, telling them to stop using the recalled products “immediately” and to return their board “for a full refund, a free repair, or a free replacement depending on the model.”
The government agency said Wednesday there have so far been “at least 99” reports of the board’s battery packs “overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding, including reports of burn injuries and property damage.”
Some of these incidents have been widely reported in the news media, with a few videos claiming to show the device suddenly bursting into flames turning up on YouTube, too.
More than half of the recalled boards – 267,000 to be precise – come from leading maker Swagway, which is advising customers to return its X1 machine. Others include the iMoto from Keenford Ltd., and the Powerboard from Hoverboard LLC. Full details on all the recalled boards can be found on the CPSC’s website.
Hoverboards, which actually trundle along the ground rather than hover above it, were a big hit during the last holiday season. Their rapid rise in popularity encouraged manufacturers around the world to cash in on the phenomenon, an eagerness that led some makers to ignore safety standards as they hurried to get their products on the market.
Safety concerns earlier this year caused companies such as Amazon to remove hoverboards from their site, though with more robust safety certification processes now in place, the e-commerce giant recently started to reintroduce a selection of boards to its online store.