Hoverboards are a hot seller this holiday season, but concerns over battery safety have lead to them being banned from airlines and pulled from retailers’ shelves.
Hoverboards are a hot item this holiday. Perhaps too hot.
The self-balancing scooters have proved popular this holiday shopping season, but concerns over their safety after several reportedly caught fire have turned the ride bumpy. Citing those concerns, airlines banned the boards from planes. Now scooters are disappearing from some Internet retailers’ shelves as well.
Hoverboards made by Swagway have vanished from Amazon’s site — a disappearance that seems to be related to a safety notice Swagway says it received Friday from the Seattle-based Internet retailer.
“Amazon sent out a notice on Friday just before 5 p.m. PST, to all ‘hoverboard’ sellers to ‘provide documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant with applicable safety standards,'” Swagway said in a statement that noted Amazon expressed concern for the safety of hoverboards’ battery and charger. The reported fires have been linked to overheating of the boards’ lithium ion batteries.
Swagway said its boards already meet required standards and has sent the information to Amazon. But as of this writing, the company’s boards have not returned to Amazon’s site. The South Bend, Indiana-based board maker also said many other hoverboard makers’ devices have disappeared from Amazon’s storefront.
While Swagway’s boards are no longer listed on Amazon, models from competitors such as Razor and Jetson still appear on Amazon. But boards from IO Hawk and PhunkeeDuck, among other manufacturers, were not listed.
If Amazon is pulling hoverboards over safety concerns, it wouldn’t be the first. Online retailer Overstock.com said Wednesday that it will no longer sell them because of safety concerns.
Amazon declined to comment on the boards’ disappearance.
Concern over battery fires has also lead to a ban by most major US airlines. American, Delta, Southwest and United said last week that hoverboards are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage due to safety concerns about their batteries catching fire.
The hoverboards, which despite their name do not really hover, feature two wheels with a platform between them. The boards landed on the wish lists of many a daredevil this year after celebrities like Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner posted shots of themselves zipping around (and falling off) the boards. The self-balancing electric scooters appear to be just as hot with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which said it has received “at least 10” reports of hoverboard fires.
The federal safety agency has begun investigating whether faulty batteries are responsible for the fires.
“We consider this a priority investigation,” Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the agency, told CNN. “This is a popular holiday item and it’s going to be in a lot of consumers’ homes, and we’d like to quickly get to the bottom of why some hoverboards catch fire.”