Commissioner's blog: Back to the future for hoverboards - two year mandatory standard introduced
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An interim ban on electrically unsafe self-balancing scooters, also known as hoverboards, has now been introduced as a mandatory standard for the next two years.
Self-balancing scooters are also known as gliders, smart boards, sky walkers or mod boards.
Most two-wheel scooters are manufactured in China and range in retail in price in Australia from $150 to $1,000.
The original ban came into place in Australia in March after there had been six reports of house fires attributable to the scooters, resulting in the destruction of three houses. In five cases, the scooter was being charged when it caught fire.
The new safety standard requires these products to comply with the same published standards related to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, circuitry and temperature control as were outlined in the interim ban.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) product recall website (www.recalls.gov.au) contains the details of the standard, a list of the 21 hoverboards subject to existing recalls and the following advice to consumers:
- If buying a self-balancing scooter, confirm the product has been tested and that it meets the requirements specified in the mandatory safety standard.
- If you have already purchased a self-balancing scooter, check to see if it is subject to a recall.
- You can also contact your retailer or manufacturer to confirm if the product has been tested and if it meets the requirements specified in the mandatory safety standard.
The interpretation of and compliance with the mandatory standard is the onus of manufacturers, importers and retailers.
Under the Australian Consumer Law if you have been supplied an unsafe product, you have the right to seek a refund or replacement product that meets the safety standards so if your supplier is unable to confirm, after testing, that your scooter meets the safety standards specified, you are entitled to ask for a refund on the grounds that it is not of acceptable quality.
Should you need to dispose of the scooter remove the lithium batteries and contact your local council or battery recycling service as they should not be put into household waste or recycling bins. A number of retailers now provide battery recycling services and these can be easily located by way of an internet search of your local area.
Retailers and suppliers should visit the Product Safety Australia website on www.productsafety.gov.au regarding information about the safety of the scooters and what they should do.
Consumer Protection will work with the ACCC and state electrical safety regulators to develop a longer-term solution over the next two years.
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