Trading Standards officers in Sefton have seized a consignment of 50 hoverboards at the Port of Liverpool over safety concerns.
The boards, likely to be imported as Christmas gifts, have been sent away to be tested so that they meet all safety regulations.
Nationally more than 17,000 self-balancing scooters – or ‘hoverboards’– have been examined at national entry points since October 15 due to safety concerns.
Of these, over 15,000 (or 88%) have been assessed as unsafe and have been detained at the border.
Officers from National Trading Standards Safety at Ports & Borders Teams and trading standards services have detained the boards – a ‘must-have’ on Christmas lists this year – due to a range of concerns, such as safety issues with the plug, cabling, charger, battery or the cut-off switch within the board, which often fails.
Many of the items detained and sent for testing have been found to have noncompliant plugs without fuses, which increases the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.
Products that have been tested have failed with significant safety issues and over 15,000 products detained have identical or very similar features to those already deemed as unsafe. With such large numbers being sent for testing since October many testing houses are full to capacity and additional staff training is underway to help meet the demand.
In recent months these faults have caused extensive damage to people’s property and National Trading Standards – in conjunction with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute – is urging consumers to be vigilant this Christmas and avoid putting households at risk with unsafe products.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “There has been a spike in the number of these items arriving in recent weeks, destined to end up as gifts under the tree this Christmas.
“Protecting consumers from harm is our top priority and we urge them to be on their guard when purchasing these products and follow some simple steps to help ensure they are not buying a dangerous item.
“If you do suspect any sellers, websites or products of being unsafe we urge you to report them to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
Leon Livermore, chief executive, Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), added: “Criminals and irresponsible manufacturers will often exploit high demand and attempt to flood the market with cheap and dangerous products.
“Consumers should not let a new fashion or craze cloud their judgement and remain vigilant at all times, to avoid taking home an unsafe product.
“Some products that are made abroad, principally for the overseas market, are not fitted with the correct plug and fuse for use in the UK.
“As a minimum consumers should check that the three pin plug on the device states it is made to BS 1363. If it doesn’t include this information, then don’t buy the product.
“Trading standards services take product safety extremely seriously but retailers must share this responsibility, to stop substandard products entering the marketplace.”
For further information visit the National Trading Standards website.
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