Tuesday 27 September 2016

Argos temporarily withdraws hoverboards from sale over safety fears

Published 16/12/2015 | 11:15

Argos has withdrawn hoverboards for sale as they check if the boards conform to Irish safety standards.

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In a statement, the retailer said: "Due to concerns raised by Trading Standards in relation to hoverboards from a range of manufacturing sources, we have decided to undertake additional testing on our Nevaboard product, which we sell exclusively in the Republic of Ireland.

"While we undertake these checks, we have temporarily withdrawn the Nevaboard from sale.

"Should any customer be concerned about their product, they can return it to their nearest Argos store for a full refund."

Meanwhile, Amazon has advised customers who have bought hoverboards with unsafe plugs to throw them away as a watchdog urged all retailers to remove them from sale.

The internet giant has sent two separate emails, the first to customers who bought hoverboards with non-compliant UK plugs.

The email reads: "We've received information that your order purchased through the Amazon.co.uk website is unsafe for use as this product is supplied with a non-compliant UK plug."

The email says these customers should dispose of the boards at a recycling centre, adding that they will receive a full refund.

It says: "We regret the inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority."

Another email sent to all others who bought the boards warns that Trading Standards has raised concerns about their safety, in particular their rechargeable lithium batteries and plugs, and includes a link to safety tips.

It asks anyone who would rather not keep the product to contact Amazon customer service.

Listings for the boards appear to have been removed from Amazon UK, John Lewis and Argos.

The Government has warned consumers to "think twice" about buying the must-have Christmas gift amid fears over imitation devices being sold at discount prices.

Earlier this month, National Trading Standards said 15,000 of the 17,000 scooters examined since October 15 had been seized, mainly for having non-compliant electrical components that could explode or catch fire.

Many of the boards were found to have non-compliant plugs without fuses, which increase the risk of the device overheating, exploding or catching fire, and cut-off switches which failed when tested.

Chargers, cabling and batteries were also found to fail safety standards.

The Retail Ombudsman watchdog said businesses could be liable for any injuries.

Chief ombudsman Dean Dunham said: "I would urge UK retailers to take the responsible step of removing unsafe hoverboards from sale or face the risk of the full force of the Consumer Protection Act, under which the retailer can be held liable for any injuries caused by unsafe goods.

"Retailers who continue to sell hoverboards, that they deem to be safe, should also take note of the Crown Prosecution Service's position. They have made clear that for safety reasons it is illegal to ride these hoverboards in public (on the road or paths) and this important information should be communicated to the consumer at the point of sale.

"Consumers who have already purchased a hoverboard, perhaps as a Christmas present, should contact the retailer and for their written assurance that it's safe and in particular that it has a compliant plug with a fuse.

"Where retailers are unable to provide such assurance, consumers should simply ask for a refund as they are entitled to under the Consumer Rights Act and report the matter to Citizens Advice consumer service by calling 03454 04 05 06."

Argos confirmed it had removed its line of hoverboards, called the Nevaboard, from sale while it carried out extra testing.

It said in a statement: "As a responsible retailer, Argos takes customer safety extremely seriously. We have stringent processes in place to ensure that all products we sell conform to safety standards.

"Due to concerns raised by Trading Standards in relation to hoverboards from a range of manufacturing sources, we have decided to undertake additional testing on our Nevaboard product, which we sell exclusively in the UK.

"While we undertake these checks, we have temporarily withdrawn the Nevaboard from sale.

"Should any customer be concerned about their product, they can return it to their nearest Argos store for a full refund. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience this may cause."

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