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United Kingdom Transportation

15,000 Hoverboards Seized As Unsafe In United Kingdom (nationaltradingstandards.uk) 178

puddingebola writes: National Trading Standards and trading standards services in Scotland have released figures that 15,000 of 17,000 hoverboards have been seized at ports of entry in the UK because of safety concerns. The boards were seized "due to a range of concerns, such as safety issues with the plug, cabling, charger, battery or the cut-off switch within the board, which often fails." Are we pushing hoverboard technology too far too quickly, or are there just a group of criminal sociopaths manufacturing unsafe devices at Christmastime and pumping them into the market? Mashable has a story summary with links to video of a man in Alabama with his hoverboard on fire. The government of New York City isn't so hot on hoverboards, either.
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15,000 Hoverboards Seized As Unsafe In United Kingdom

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  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @12:17PM (#51050015)

    Hoverboards? What year is this?

  • Not hoverboards (Score:5, Informative)

    by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <web@pineapple.vg> on Thursday December 03, 2015 @12:18PM (#51050023) Homepage
    These are those silly two-wheeled "segway with no handle" contraptions that are all the fad this year. Bought in by the container load from the Pearl River Delta for half nothing and sold in shops for £499 a pop.
    • Can't we sue them? It's farking ridiculous.

      It's kind of like taking an airplane and calling it a "Starship".

      It's fraud. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

      • It's kind of like taking an airplane and calling it a "Starship".

        Been done. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Not as silly as taking a group of musicians and calling them a "Starship".

    • Re:Not hoverboards (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:01PM (#51050455) Homepage

      They aren't being sold for 500 quid, they are being sold for half that direct to consumers on sites like Banggood, eBay and Deal Extreme.

      Consumers directly importing unsafe goods is a growing problem. Drones, hoverboards, chargers, batteries... While European shops have to abide by common safety standards, you can basically import anything you like and most of the time it won't be checked. The only reason hoverboards are is that they cost enough to be charged duty and VAT on.

      I wonder what will happen to all the consumers who bought these things. Most of these sellers make it clear that customs is your problem, and Trading Standards won't pay to return them. The best option is probably to claim on your credit card under section 75, unless you paid by PayPal in which case you are likely screwed.

      • > They aren't being sold for 500 quid, they are being sold for half that direct to consumers on sites like Banggood, eBay and Deal Extreme.

        The cheap ones that will catch on fire and burn your house down sure. But the reputable quality ones are still in the upper 3 figures.

      • Most components I buy off Amazon.com are direct shipped from the far East these days - usually arrive in less than a week, cheap, same quality as domestic, what's not to like?

    • Re:Not hoverboards (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:41PM (#51050825) Journal
      Not that silly; some people will find them useful and they are a lot easier to ride than the Solowheel, without adding the bulk of a full Segway. With that said, it makes sense to ban them if they explode and cause fire when charging. Over here (NL) they have just been banned, not because of fire hazards, but because they constitute a "motorized transport" and thus do not fit in our century old definition of traffic. Never mind the fact that these things are safer than roller skates. Of course at some point they will be made legal, as soon as the state makes a law to extract their 30 pieces of silver from riders: mandatory lights, license plates, taxes, and insurance.
      • Of course at some point they will be made legal, as soon as the state makes a law to extract their 30 pieces of silver from riders: mandatory lights, license plates, taxes, and insurance.

        What's next?

        Are they going to start trying to require us to register, license and pay tax on fucking bicycles next?!?!

        • Are they going to start trying to require us to register, license and pay tax on fucking bicycles next?!?!

          When bicycles start bursting into flames, maybe.

        • I registered and licensed my bicycle when I was a kid.

          • I registered and licensed my bicycle when I was a kid.

            Seriously???

            Where do you live? I was being half sarcastic...I never thought they'd really do this somewhere...?!?!

            • It was basically a combo safety and anti-theft program. Kids took a bicycle safety class sponsored by the police force, then you get a little numbered tin tag that got attached to your bike, so if it was stolen and recovered it could be tracked down. Wasn't mandatory but most parents wanted their kids to use it. So technically it wasn't a real license, but that's how a lot of people referred to it.

      • Never mind the fact that these things are safer than roller skates.

        I have never seen roller skates burst into flames.

        • With enough speed and friction it can happen, so it just means you've never seen anyone skate really hard.

      • Didn't they also ban the Segway here? That hasn't stopped any of the people I've seen riding them. One of the justification for banning the hoverboard I read said that it's motorised so needs to be regulated as a scooter, but you need to be able to sit on it for that to happen. I instantly thought of the Segway tours you can take through Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

      • The problem is not that all of them catch fire, but the cheap ass Chinese knockoffs are catching fire because they don't conform to UK safety standards. (cue the angry libertarian who will point out that it's not the governments business to protect us if we want to burn our own homes down)

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @12:22PM (#51050071) Journal
    The BBC article on this subject [bbc.co.uk] makes clear that these are cheap, unbranded Chinese and East Asian knock-offs with a documented history demonstrating that they (and specifically their chargers) are a fire risk. That BBC piece really should have been TFA.

    There are some oddities around these "hoverboards", in the UK, though. Specifically, it's illegal to operate one on either a public road or a pavement, meaning that they are legal only for use on private land. Technically, I think, the same is true of Segways.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      These devices also look perfect anyone wishing to increase their chance of suffering severe front or back skull trauma.
      • These devices also look perfect anyone wishing to increase their chance of suffering severe front or back skull trauma.

        We can only hope.

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:23PM (#51050655)

      They aren't really "Knock-Offs," there really isn't an official manufacturer of "Hoverboards."

      http://www.npr.org/sections/mo... [npr.org]

    • The hoverboard charger isn't the only thing from China that's a fire risk. The cheap knockoffs of the iPhone charger have the same risk. If you're lucky, they will just stop working after about a week.
    • these are cheap, unbranded Chinese and East Asian knock-offs

      I'm not sure I've ever seen the "genuine" product.

  • Radio control enthusiasts have known those batteries are very sensitive for years. Don't over heat them and don't shock them. Between the lowest bidder manufacturing these things and the number of crashes that occur in use of the hoverboards, this was probably bound to happen.
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @12:41PM (#51050219)

    they clearly DONT hover.

  • Are we pushing hoverboard technology too far too quickly, or are there just a group of criminal sociopaths manufacturing unsafe devices at Christmastime and pumping them into the market?

    It's the latter, obviously.

    Unsafe charging has nothing to do with the, ahem, "hovering" technology.

  • by coldsalmon ( 946941 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @12:44PM (#51050269)

    Hoverboard users running into me on the sidewalk will be balanced by watching them accidentally run into small bumps and fall flat on their stupid faces.

  • There are 'manufacturers' (using the term very loosely here) in China and other Asian countries, who produce whatever cheap shitty garbage they can, and sell it to the West. There's little to no quality control of any kind, and they really don't give a damn about the consequences, they only care about profit.
  • by GbrDead ( 702506 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:06PM (#51050501)

    My hoverboard is full of eels.

    • "The MonoRover's power adapter is legitimately scary."

      It's scary because it has a fan in it? That probably makes it about ten times safer.

  • by Koreantoast ( 527520 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:12PM (#51050551)
    There was actually a very timely Planet Money podcast [npr.org] on how the hoverboards were developed. Apparently the concept was created by a Chinese inventor who quickly lost control of the idea to the Shenzhen wild west where dozens of firms began creating variants of the hoverboard. Given the nature of how the product was introduced, through numerous companies with no clear originating firm, it's no surprise why you have so many quality control issues without a single manufacturer that has a "brand" on these hoverboards they're trying to maintain.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @01:22PM (#51050653)

    It's going to be Jarts again for Christmas.

  • It came in the mail yesterday, direct from China. I tested it last night, seems to work fine. Haven't charged it yet, it was already charged up when I unboxed it.

    Mine is the larger 8-inch second generation unit with the Bluetooth connection. This type: http://g02.s.alicdn.com/kf/HTB... [alicdn.com]

    According to the info I just gleaned from this thread, the device itself is fine and it's a defective charger that could cause a fire, specifically the power cut-off that detects a fully charged battery and automatically stops

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Thursday December 03, 2015 @02:56PM (#51051573)
    You can kinda see their concern, if you read the disclaimer [jt.org] on its own marketing material:

    Yes, it's Happy Fun Board! The toy sensation that's sweeping the nation! Only 14.95 at participating stores! Get one today!

    Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Board.

    Caution: Happy Fun Board may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

    Happy Fun Board contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

    Do not use Happy Fun Board on concrete.

    Discontinue use of Happy Fun Board if any of the following occurs:

    • itching
    • vertigo
    • dizziness
    • tingling in extremities
    • loss of balance or coordination
    • slurred speech
    • temporary blindness
    • profuse sweating
    • or heart palpitations
    • If Happy Fun Board begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

      Happy Fun Board may stick to certain types of skin.

      When not in use, Happy Fun Board should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Board, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.

      Ingredients of Happy Fun Board include an unknown glowing green substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

      Happy Fun Board has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

      Do not taunt Happy Fun Board.

      Happy Fun Board comes with a lifetime warranty.

      Happy Fun Board! Accept no substitutes!

  • a group of criminal sociopaths manufacturing unsafe devices at Christmastime

    I believe they're called Chinese.

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