Thirty hover boards have been seized by trading standards officers in Bury over safety concerns.
They are now urging shoppers to be vigilant this Christmas when buying presents which may prove dangerous.
The move is part of a national campaign which has seen more than 15,000 self-balancing scooters detained due to worries about the plug, cabling, charger, battery or cut-off switch.
Angela Lomax, Bury’s trading standards manager, said officers had carried out visits to stores across the borough, and the items seized came from two premises in Bury. These are now being examined to see if they are safe to be sold.
“At this time of year, consumers are under pressure to get the best presents for their loved ones, however it is important that their safety is put above all else,” she said.
“As a minimum, consumers should check that the three pin plug on the device states it is made to BS 1363. If it doesn’t include this information, then don’t buy the product.
“Trading standards services take product safety extremely seriously but retailers must share this responsibility to stop substandard products entering the marketplace.”
“I urge anyone who suspects a hover board not to be genuine to report it to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.”
Trading standards say:
- Never leave a device charging unattended – especially overnight: a faulty cut-off switch (designed to stop the battery from continuing to charge once fully charged) or a plug without a fuse, as seen in many products detained so far, could lead to the device overheating, exploding or catching fire.
- Check the device: things to look out for include the shape of the plug – the first unsafe products identified often had a clover-shaped plug. Also check the device for markings or traceable information, such as the name and contact details of the manufacturer and/or importer.
- If buying online, look closely at the website before you hit the ‘buy’ button:
Try searching for reviews of the product or the seller – do these seem genuine?
Are there lots of spelling or grammar mistakes on the site? This can be a clue that a business is not professionally run.
See if you can find out where the company’s head office is based – and whether that fits with how the website presents itself.
Do they have a landline number you can call if there are any problems? Bear in mind that if the company is based abroad, it can be more difficult to get a complaint dealt with or return a faulty product.
Read the small print – notice if anything seems odd, repetitive or in incorrect English.
Is there an ‘s’ at the end of the ‘http’ part of the web address, or is there a padlock symbol in the task bar? This means the website is using an encrypted system that keeps your details more secure.
- Don’t be dazzled by a bargain: Are the prices incredibly low? If they look too good to be true, they probably are – particularly if some of your other checks have put doubts in your mind.
- Be aware that criminals exploit high demand: When items start to sell out at well-known retailers, the void can be quickly filled by crooks churning out poor quality imitations that can put people in danger. Don’t ‘panic buy’ from the first website you find – do your usual common-sense checks.
- Report it: National Trading Standards needs your help to clamp down on unsafe products from abroad. If you believe that any online or face-to-face seller is selling potentially dangerous goods, or something you’ve bought has made you suspicious, report it to Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.
Buying online for onward sale online? If you do this you are taking on the legal responsibilities of a business to ensure that what you’re selling complies with product safety and intellectual property legislation. For information about this visit https://www.gov.uk/starting-to-import.
Press release issued: 4 December 2015.