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More than 1,000 hoverboards confiscated at Dublin Port over safety concerns

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Seized: Approximately 1,400 hoverboards were confiscated at Dublin Port
Seized: Approximately 1,400 hoverboards were confiscated at Dublin Port

A large consignment of hoverboards has been confiscated on arrival in Dublin over fears they pose a fire hazard.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission suspended the importation of around 1,400 Smart Balance Wheels, as they are known, at Dublin Port.

The consignment was prevented from entering the Irish market due to significant safety concerns which were identified through the Commission’s market surveillance activity, a spokesperson said. 

Increasingly popular among celebrities this year, the hoverboard has been in the news recently over serious safety concerns highlighted after several exploded in the UK and the US. 

The self-balancing gadgets, used by celebrities like Lily Allen and Jamie Foxx, can cost upwards of €350 and have already been banned in a number of cities worldwide.

In Australia parents are being urged not to buy their children hoverboards as presents. A politician recently reminded parents the device is banned on Australian streets. 

At the end of October, the Commission became aware of reports of unsafe hoverboards across Europe and initiated an investigation into the safety of the products.

In early November, Customs Authorities notified the Commission about the arrival of a consignment of approximately 1,400 at Dublin Port. 

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 goods are due to be returned to the country of origin.

Following this, the Commission opened further investigations and is engaging with a number of businesses who supply similar products, or who are planning to place them on sale in Ireland.    

Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said: “Our collaboration with colleagues in Customs has meant that these potentially unsafe products were not sold to consumers in Ireland.

"Following the examination, the Commission was concerned that consumers may be at risk should the AC adapter / charger or the battery pack overheat and potentially cause a fire. Our investigation is ongoing but at this point we are aware that similar products are on sale and we are investigating to determine that these products meet the relevant Irish and EU safety standards.

"The Commission strongly urges consumers, who wish to buy a Hoverboard, to make sure that the manufacturer’s name or trademark is visible on the packaging and critically that it has a genuine CE mark."

An example of a genuine CE mark is available on Consumerhelp.ie and it will indicate that a product meets Irish and European safety standards. The commission is advising consumers to always buy from a reputable retailer because if a fault does occur, the retailer is obliged under consumer law to offer a remedy.

"We would also remind businesses that by law they are required to ensure that the products they sell conform to EU and Irish standards," the Commission said. 

"Retailers and wholesalers should source products from reputable manufacturers and importers. They should also ensure that all the goods are certified as meeting both Irish and EU safety standards. If this isn’t the case, the Commission will take appropriate action to ensure compliance."