Act now on unsafe hoverboards

The Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, has imposed an interim ban on the sale of unsafe hoverboards that do not meet the safety standards specified in the ban.

There are imminent fire safety risks from defective electrical circuitry and substandard lithium-ion batteries in some hoverboards.

The ACCC is aware of six house fires in Australia since January 2016 and a number of incidents of hoverboards sparking, overheating or producing smoke, both in Australia and overseas.

The ACCC urges consumers to stop using and charging your hoverboard immediately, unless you are sure it meets the safety standards specified in the ban.

About the ban

The ban applies to the sale of hoverboards that do not meet the safety standards specified in the ban, and took effect from 19 March 2016.

Some hoverboard suppliers have tested their hoverboards to the safety standards and can continue to supply. It is likely that many suppliers have not tested their hoverboards and only hoverboards that have passed the tests specified in the ban can now be supplied.

Hoverboards that don’t meet the safety standards specified in the ban are unsafe.

The ACCC hosted a conference on 11 April 2016 with hoverboard suppliers and electrical safety regulators to discuss the interim ban. After the conference the ACCC recommended that the Minister maintain the interim ban. The Minister accepted the ACCC recommendation to maintain the interim ban.

On 11 May 2016, the Minister announced a 30 day extension to the interim ban. As a result, the interim ban will remain in effect until 16 June 2016.

See: Hoverboards - national interim ban

What consumers should do

Take immediate action

  • Stop using and charging your hoverboard immediately if it does not meet the safety standards, or if your supplier is unable to confirm at this stage.
     
  • Contact your retailer or manufacturer of the hoverboard to confirm if the product has been tested and if it meets the safety standards specified in the ban.
     
  • Check if your hoverboard has been recalled.

Your consumer rights

Under the Australian Consumer Law if you have been supplied an unsafe product, you have the right to seek a refund or replacement product that meets the safety standards.

If your supplier is unable to confirm, after testing, that your hoverboard meets the safety standards specified in the ban, you are entitled to ask for a refund on the grounds that it is not of acceptable quality.

If your supplier can’t confirm if your hoverboard is safe

Suppliers need to test their hoverboards against the safety standards specified in the ban, if they have not already done so. Given the high demand for product testing, this process may take several weeks.

You can ask your supplier what steps it is taking to test their hoverboards and how long that will take. If your supplier won’t confirm that they are testing their hoverboards, you have the right to ask for a refund.

Keep a record of your supplier’s response and, if you think that response is unreasonable, contact the ACCC or your State or Territory consumer protection agency with this information.

Returning or disposing of your hoverboard

If your hoverboard does not meet the safety standards specified in the ban, ask your supplier how to return or dispose of the product. You are entitled to recover reasonable postage or transportation costs from the business, so keep your receipts.

Be aware that the transport of batteries containing lithium, including batteries in equipment, is subject to strict requirements.

If your hoverboard supplier is based overseas, it may be possible to return the product via land and sea freight, or alternatively you may wish to consider the safe disposal of your hoverboard.

Lithium batteries and battery powered devices should be disposed of in ordinary waste or taken to local landfills. Do not place lithium batteries or hoverboards into household recycling, and do not take them to recycling facilities for lead batteries.

Hoverboards not subject to the ban notice

The ACCC continues to consult with hoverboard suppliers and safety experts to consider longer term action to ensure the ongoing safety of hoverboards.

If you experience issues with your supplier

What retailers should do

Take immediate action

  • Stop selling hoverboards unless you are sure they meet the safety standards for hoverboard batteries and battery control systems specified in the ban. The charger for recharging the battery should also meet state and territory electrical safety requirements.
     
  • Ask your supplier if the product has been or is being tested against those standards either by the manufacturer or by the supplier itself.

Safety standards

The key safety standards under the ban address lithium ion battery and battery control system risks in hoverboards by preventing battery overcharging, controlling battery temperature and current flow and voltage imbalance within the battery pack.

You should take active steps to determine whether the hoverboards you supplied meet these standards.

Your rights and obligations

If you are unable to confirm that the hoverboards you supplied meet those standards, within a reasonable time, your customers are entitled under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to consider them to be of unacceptable quality and to ask for a refund or replacement hoverboard that does meet the safety standards specified in the ban.

If you provide a customer with a refund or replacement because the hoverboard you supplied is not of acceptable quality, you may seek indemnification from your manufacturer, under the ACL, for those costs.

You should also consider the terms of your contract with your supplier to determine what rights you have regarding the return of stock that is not of acceptable quality.

Storing hoverboards safely

You should consider any guidance issued by your supplier and the manufacturer on the safe storage and transportation of their hoverboards.

The fire incidents reported in Australia to date involved hoverboards being charged. You should not charge your hoverboards unless you are sure they meet the safety standards specified in the ban.

What importers/wholesalers should do

Take immediate action

  • Stop selling hoverboards unless you are sure they meet the safety standards for hoverboard batteries and battery control systems specified in the ban. This includes any stock you have on your shelves, in storage and in transit to you from your manufacturer.
     
  • Ask your manufacturer to confirm if the products it has supplied meets the safety standards specified in the ban. The charger for recharging the battery should also meet state and territory electrical safety requirements.

Hoverboard testing

If your manufacturer has not tested its products already, you can ask it to do so for the model(s) it has supplied to you. It should take active steps to test the hoverboards it has supplied within a reasonable time.

You can also consider having your model(s) tested against those standards yourself. These standards can be obtained from a range of suppliers including UL and SAI Global.

If your manufacturer cannot certify that the hoverboards it supplied to you meet the safety standards specified in the ban, you should consider the terms of your contract with your manufacturer to determine what rights you have regarding the return of stock that is subject to the ban.

Storing and transporting hoverboards safely

You should consider any guidance issued by your manufacturer on the safe storage and transportation of their hoverboards.

The fire incidents reported in Australia to date involved hoverboards being charged. You should not charge your hoverboards unless you are sure they meet the safety standards specified in the ban.

The transport of batteries containing lithium, including batteries in equipment, is subject to strict requirements.

Hoverboard recalls

Recalls to date

Questions about the most recent recalls should be directed to the relevant state or territory regulator:

Media releases and updates


Hoverboards interim ban extended by another 30 days – 20 June 2016 – Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, media release

Hoverboards interim ban extended by 30 days – 11 May 2016 – Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, media release

Hoverboard interim ban to remain – 23 April 2016 – Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, media release

Interim ban imposed on unsafe hoverboards – 18 March 2016 – Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, media release

Hoverboard safety concerns – 5 January 2016 – ACCC update

Stay safe on hoverboards – 10 December 2015 – ACCC media release
 

Published date: 
18 March 2016

Tags

Category