Hoverboards seized at UK ports
More than 38,000 hoverboards detained at UK ports and borders Getty Images

With concern growing over the safety standards of hoverboards, another batch of these self-balancing scooters has been recently seized at UK ports and borders. The latest figures are twice the number of units impounded a couple of weeks ago.

In early December, the National Trading Standards (NTS) and trading standards services in Scotland seized more than 17,000 scooters, of which over 15,000 or 88% were declared unsafe. In less than two weeks the NTS took possession of thousands of hoverboards again. The latest figure shared by NTS suggests that out of 38,000 hoverboards seized and assessed at the borders, more than 32,000 units are not complaint with safety standards, and therefore not safe for use.

An NTS spokesperson said: "Trading Standards officers have detained the boards due to numerous concerns including safety issues with the plugs, cabling, chargers, batteries or the cut-off switches within the boards, which are designed to stop the battery from continuing to charge once fully charged. A faulty cut-off switch can lead to the device overheating, exploding or catching fire."

The NTS also cautioned consumers to be wary of buying the boards, which are expected to be a hot selling product this Christmas. "National Trading Standards is urging consumers to be vigilant this Christmas and avoid putting their households at risk with unsafe products," it said.

Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon urged its customers in the UK and US to throw away their hoverboards, after reports appeared suggesting that the retailer is pulling hoverboards from its site due to safety concerns. The company sent out a notice to all hoverboard sellers to provide documentation for the gadgets that meet the applicable safety standards including "UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642 (battery), and UL 60950-1 (charger). Besides Amazon, other retailers in the country such as Tesco, Argos and John Lewis have reportedly stopped selling hoverboards.

What you should know before buying a hoverboard

  • NTS advises consumers to check for reviews of the product as well as the sellers before buying the scooters
  • If you find a number of spelling mistakes on a particular site, know that it is not a professional site
  • Check out where the company's head office is based. Check if they have a landline number that you can connect to in case of an issue
  • If the company is based abroad, you might face difficulty in lodging complaints or returning a faulty product
  • If there is an "s" at the end of "http" in the web address, or if there is a padlock symbol in the task bar, it hints that the website is using an encryption to keep your details secure