Commission takes enforcement action against sellers of Hoverboards
December 17, 2015
- Commission directs a number of retailers not to sell non-compliant Hoverboards*
- Further enforcement action is planned; only products which are certified as meeting essential safety standards may be put on the market
- Non-compliant products remain on sale; the Commission urges consumers to be on their guard if purchasing Hoverboards
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“the Commission”) has today taken enforcement action against a number of Hoverboard retailers. Pursuant to the Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1992, the Commission has directed that the following retailers are not to sell non-compliant Hoverboards:
- Brown Thomas & Co Limited, T/A Brown Thomas
- Creative Retail Solutions Limited, T/A The Gadget Box
- Rory Dinnigan, T/A Bikes or Bicycles
Since it suspended the importation of 1,400 Hoverboards in late November the Commission has undertaken extensive market surveillance activity and initiated a number of investigations into retailers and importers compliance with safety standards. The Commission’s investigation has found evidence of Hoverboards with non-compliant and potentially unsafe plugs and fuses as well as significant issues with the cables, chargers and the battery packs.
The Commission is also preparing to take enforcement action against a number of other traders. All sellers are reminded of their obligation to only place products on the market which conform to essential safety standards. Manufacturers, or their authorised representatives, retailers and importers, who cannot provide evidence that essential safety standards have been met, should remove the products from sale immediately.
Commenting, Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the Commission said “The Commission has undertaken extensive market surveillance and we are aware that there are a number retailers and importers who are selling products which are non-compliant. The action today was taken to address this non-compliance. Further action is planned.
“By law products placed on the market must conform to relevant safety standards. The onus is on the seller of the products to provide the required safety certification. If this cannot be provided, the products should not be on the market. Anyone who sells, or attempts to sell products which are not compliant can expect to hear from the Commission, if they have not already done so.
“While the Commission is working to ensure that retailers and importers comply with their obligations to only put safe products on the market, consumers should be on their guard. To date, the Commission has inspected a number of hoverboards and none of the retailers concerned were able to provide the required proof that they comply with the essential safety requirements.
“Our inspections have found significant issues with plugs, chargers, cabling and battery packs, all of which do not comply with essential safety standards. Should the AC adapter/charger or the battery pack overheat, they could cause a fire. We have very serious concerns about these products and strongly urge consumers to only buy products which can be verified as meeting the required standards. Consumers who have these devices in their home should never leave them charging unattended”.
Consumer advice – https://www.ccpc.ie/consumers/product-safety/hoverboards/
For consumers thinking of purchasing these items:
- Given the potential dangers, don’t buy one of these devices without proof that it meets the required safety standards.
- Do look for a CE mark but don’t rely on it solely, as the mark may be a fake. The CE marking should be visible and easily legible.
- Also check the box, charger and the device for markings or traceable information; such as the name and contact details of the manufacturer and/or importer. If this information is missing, do not buy the item.
- Check the manual provided with the product for spelling mistakes and information or instructions which do not make sense.
- If you are buying a board online or on social media, check for online reviews which seem genuine and for information about the company’s head office and landline number. Sites that have spelling mistakes in the product listing, or those without any positive testimonials can be an indication that it is not a professional operation.
- Be wary of buying these products on social media or a website from someone you don’t know. You may be at risk of buying something which is very unsafe from an unscrupulous trader or unsuspecting consumer
- Remember also that if you buy from another consumer/private seller, your consumer rights do not apply.
- If you are not fully satisfied that the product you are buying is safe, don’t spend your money on it.
- If you come across any products which you think might be unsafe, let us know who was selling it and where on our consumer helpline on 1890 432 432.
If consumers have already purchased these items, the Commission recommends the following:
Hoverboard bought from an on-premises trader/shop
- Bring it back to the retailer and look for written proof that the product meets the required safety standards. If this cannot be given to you, ask for a refund.
- Because of the potential risk of fire, never leave a Hoverboard charging unattended, especially overnight.
Hoverboard bought online
- If you have ordered a Hoverboard and have not yet received it you can cancel it immediately without providing any reason, in writing (an email will suffice).
- If you have received it – you have 14 days from the date of receipt of the product to cancel your contract in writing without providing any reason and a further 14 days to return the item. You may be required to pay for returning the product but you are entitled to a refund for the cost of the item.
- However, where you have not received information on your right to cancel from the trader you will not be liable for the return costs of the goods.
*Hoverboards are also referred to Balance Scooters, Self-balance Scooters, Balance Wheels, Airboards and Oxboards.
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