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Brown Thomas told to stop selling potentially unsafe hoverboards

After an investigation, three Irish retailers have been directed to stop selling these non-compliant products.

Image: hoverboard image via Shutterstock

THREE RETAILERS, INCLUDING the Brown Thomas department store, have been told to stop selling non-compliant hoverboards after an investigation by the Ireland’s consumer protection body.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said today that since it suspended the importation of 1,400 hoverboards last month, it has undertaken extensive market surveillance and initiated a number of investigation into retailer and importer compliance with safety standards.

Evidence was found of hoverboards with non-compliant and potentially unsafe plugs and fuses as well as significant issues with the cables, chargers and the battery packs.

Three retailers have been directed not to sell non-compliant hoverboards; Brown Thomas, The Gadget Box and Bikes or Bicycles.

The commission said it is also preparing to take enforcement action against a number of other traders.

Speaking today, Isolde Goggin, chairperson of the commission, said none of the retailers over the course of their inspections were able to provide the required proof that they comply with the essential safety requirements.

“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,” she said.

Goggin said there are particular concerns about chargers or the battery pack overheating and causing fires.

“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.”

For consumers thinking of purchasing a hoverboard, the commission has this advice:

  • Don’t buy one of these devices without proof that it meets the required safety standards.
  • Look for a CE mark, but don’t rely on it solely, as the mark may be a fake.
  • 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.
  • 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. .
  • Be wary of buying these products on social media or a website from someone you don’t know.
  • 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.

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If you’ve already bought one in a 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.

If you have ordered one online:

  • If you 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.

If you come across any products which you think might be unsafe, contact the commission’s consumer helpline on 1890 432 432.

Read: 1,400 hoverboards seized at Dublin Port>

Read: Retailers could face crackdown over dodgy hoverboards>

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