“We regret the inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority,” Amazon wrote in an email to customers. Those with boards featuring “non-compliant U.K. plugs” should proceed immediately to a certified recycling center, and will be refunded for their purchase within three days.
Despite the initial popularity of the gadgets (especially with the upcoming holiday season), a closer inspection of the futuristic devices made it clear that there were some very serious safety hazards associated with their use. Earlier this month, the U.K.’s Trading Standards seized 15,000 unsafe hoverboards after the London Fire Brigade reported three house fires within 10 days, all traced back to those trendy wheels.
Airlines have also banned bringing hoverboards on aircraft, as there does not appear to be any way to ensure that they won’t, you know, suddenly explode midair.
The U.K. is not alone in its hoverboard woes, as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has also been receiving alarming reports regarding the gadgets’ safety (or lack thereof). Before allowing manufacturers to list their products again, Amazon is now requiring safety documentation and proof that hoverboards have passed certain standards.
If you are one of the brave souls who owns a hoverboard (and aren’t planning on following Amazon’s disposal advice), there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep yourself safe. For one, never leave the device unattended while it’s charging (like overnight). Be sure to check the plug — if it’s clover-shaped, you may be in trouble. If you still want to purchase one of these guys online, do your research and ensure that you can contact the manufacturing company to vouch for its safety. And of course, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.