Friday 23 August 2019

Back to the drawing board as 1,400 'hoverboards' seized

Smart Balance Wheel
Smart Balance Wheel
Smart Balance Wheel
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

An importer will have to go back to the drawing board rather than back to the future after a consignment of 1,400 hoverboards from China was seized at the capital's port.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said it suspended the importation of the so-called 'Smart Balance Wheels' at Dublin Port because they might overheat when being charged and cause a fire.

"The consignment was prevented from entering the Irish market due to significant safety concerns identified through the Commission's market surveillance activity," it said. It didn't identify who had been trying to import them.

Hoverboards were first made famous in the Hollywood blockbuster 'Back to the Future II', and a number of attempts have been made in the past to turn the movie prop into a reality.

The 'Smart Balance Wheels' that were seized at Dublin Port aren't really hoverboards, but rather electrically-powered two-wheeled platforms that users stand on and can then travel up to 10km an hour. The batteries provide a range of up to 15km.

"At the end of October, the commission became aware of reports of unsafe hoverboards across Europe and initiated an investigation into the safety of these products," said the watchdog. "In early November, customs authorities notified the commission about the arrival of a consignment of approximately 1,400 Smart Balance Wheels. The commission's Product Safety Division examined a sample of the products and identified a number of serious safety concerns which resulted in their importation being suspended."

The CCPC said the hoverboards would be returned to their country of origin. The watchdog said that it had opened further investigations and was engaging with a number of businesses that supply similar products.

The CCPC urged consumers who wished to buy a hoverboard to make sure the manufacturer's name or trademark was visible on the packaging and that it had a genuine 'CE' safety mark.

Irish Independent

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