Online sellers fined for selling hoverboards with non-approved battery-chargers

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EnergySafety has fined seven sole traders and two companies for selling hoverboards which incorporated non-approved battery-chargers.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said inspections of major retail outlets as well as sellers advertising hoverboards for sale on classifieds websites such as Gumtree have been conducted.

"I am deeply concerned that all the sellers we investigated for advertising hoverboards on Gumtree and similar websites were selling products with non-approved battery-chargers,” Mr Bowron said.

“These sellers have been issued with Infringement Notices for breaches of the electrical safety legislation and have been urged to contact all consumers they sold the product to and offer a refund.

"If anyone has bought hoverboards online, there is a strong possibility that the battery-chargers supplied with the equipment do not meet Australian electrical safety standards.

"If you have purchased, or are purchasing a hoverboard, ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle,” Mr Bowron said.

"The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements.

"I urge consumers to exercise extra caution when purchasing these products online, as it may be difficult to assess the quality of the product," Mr Bowron said.

Since December 2015, several models of hoverboards have been recalled across Australia, by major retailers, because their battery-chargers did not meet general Australian electrical safety standards.

Consumers who have purchased a non-complying or recalled device should stop using the charger immediately, contact their supplier and request a refund. If the supplier is not willing to oblige, consumers should contact Consumer Protection to seek assistance in obtaining a refund.

Mr Bowron also warned consumers that there is no Australian Standard for hoverboards or the lithium-ion batteries and charging circuitry they incorporate.

"While we have been checking the battery-chargers, we have come across hoverboards which were very poorly constructed and others where the quality of the batteries looked very poor", Mr Bowron added.

EnergySafety is engaging with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other State and Territory regulators in assessing safety incidents associated with hoverboard products and the problem posed by the absence of manufacturing standards.  In the meantime, EnergySafety strongly advises that the hoverboards are treated with caution and charging of them is done only under supervision and away from combustible materials. Any consumers with concerns about the quality or safety of their hoverboards should approach their supplier for a refund and also report the concerns to either EnergySafety or Consumer Protection.

Details of the hoverboard models that have been recalled are available at www.recalls.gov.au. Enquiries and reports regarding hoverboard safety can be made to Consumer Protection by emailing consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or calling 1300 30 40 54.

Previous warnings from Consumer Protection on hoverboard safety and fire risks can be viewed on the Department of Commerce website at: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/announcements/concern-over-hoverboard-safety-and-fire-risks

 

EnergySafety
Media release
11 Mar 2016

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