They might have been the transport of choice for Marty McFly but KCC Trading Standards is warning people to make the right choice when it comes to getting a hoverboard.
They’re the must-have Christmas present of 2015 but a rash of cheap knock-offs, predominantly from China, are threatening to ruin Christmas morning.
They retail for between £300 and £600 from reputable stores but some are being advertised for £100 or less on auction sites and social media accounts.
When the unmarked box is opened, the buyer finds a plug without a fuse and won’t fit into the socket properly; a board that is packed with batteries that can overheat and explode; and instructions that include: “Get off the bus, get off before you stop intelligent drifting scooter balance state, one foot down, the other one foot in the left drifting scooter again.”
KCC Trading Standards Operations Manager James Whiddett said: “The first thing consumers should do is check the packaging. They won’t have manufacturer details on them.
“Plugs won’t go into your socket properly and without a fuse, they’re very dangerous. The product itself should have a CE mark on it and the ones we have found have nothing on them at all.
“These things have batteries in them that can overheat and catch fire and we’ve seen that happen in the county already. Remember the golden rule, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
The instructions should contain all the information you need to use the product safely and the manufacturers name and address should be included so you can contact them if anything goes wrong.
KCC Trading Standards urges buyers not to use a product if the instructions do not make sense, have spelling mistakes and do not have the manufacturer’s name and address.
In Deal, Kent Fire and Rescue Service had to be called after a hoverboard bought online caught alight whilst charging. The ensuing blaze caused a reported £25,000 worth of damage to the man’s kitchen.
If you are concerned about an electrical product you have purchased do not use it.
And it isn’t just hoverboards, KCC Trading Standards is warning residents to be on the lookout for other Christmas toys that are topping Father Christmas’ list.
To stay safe and enjoy Christmas, here are some top tips to buying toys:
• Only buy from trustworthy shops and outlets.
• Look for the CE mark. By law, toy packaging must display this, as well as the name and address of the manufacturer/importer, the type, batch, warnings and instructions and model or serial number. If any of this is missing you could be looking at a fake toy.
• Look for the BSI Kite and Lion quality marks for extra peace of mind.
Check for spelling mistakes on the box; this is a giveaway for counterfeits. They also often copy safety marks, so take a close look to be sure they are genuine.
Report counterfeit products to KCC Trading Standards by contacting Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
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