The second installment of the beloved “Back to the Future”
movie trilogy introduced audiences to the revolutionary hoverboard, which
essentially was a levitating skateboard. While that device is currently
not commercially available, its familiarity in pop culture made its name
ripe for the plucking when a similar product came onto the market. Although
this new design resembles an electric scooter without handlebars and is
more accurately a “self-balancing two-wheeled board,” it has
become popularly known as a hoverboard. First manufactured in 2013 and
the “must have” gift this past holiday season, hoverboards
have been making headlines recently for being linked to destructive fires.
Gyroscopic sensor pads built into the small platform connecting the two
wheels allow the rider to control the hoverboard with their feet. The
fires are thought to stem from the lithium-ion batteries that power the
device overheating or short-circuiting, resulting in self-ignition. The
quality of these batteries varies among the many hoverboard manufacturers,
and even the more expensive models may use cheaper components. Most hoverboards
are made in bulk in China before being bought by resellers who change
a few cosmetic details and add their own brand name.
Two weeks before Christmas, concerns over hoverboards catching fire were
serious enough to cause Amazon to stop selling nearly all brands
until a manufacturer could provide “documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards you list are compliant
with applicable safety standards, including UN 38.3 (battery), UL 1642
(battery), and UL 60950-1 (charger).” Competitor Overstock.com removed
all hoverboards from sale and offered a full refund for customers who
wanted to return those already purchased. Safety concerns have led
more than 60 major airlines to ban hoverboards from being taken on flights, while
numerous colleges have banned them from campus until there is a satisfying resolution.
Common Hoverboard Brands:
- PhunkeeDuck IO Hawk
- Oxboard Cyboard
- Scoot Future Foot
- Monorover Airboard
- Freego Esway
- Airwheel iEZWay
- Overoad Razor
- Jetson Hover X
- Skque Swagway
- Never leave the device charging unattended, especially overnight.
- Make sure the plug is UL listed.
- Wait an hour after riding before charging, to allow the device to cool.
Report any incidents to
Trying to get to the root of the problem, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) is investigating reports of 28 hoverboard-related fires
in 19 states. While some hoverboards have burst into flames during use,
others have exploded while charging, leaving homes seriously damaged across
the country and as far away as England and Australia. In fact,
British authorities revealed in early December that 88 percent of the hoverboards it had tested that
had been imported from outside the European Union had failed basic safety
checks. Although no hoverboard brand has been directly recalled yet, the
CPSC is urging caution until the exact cause of the malfunction is known.
All consumers have a right to be safe while using a product. Manufacturers, distributors and sellers of hoverboards are facing possible
liability due to injuries and property damage caused by fires. As one
of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms, Stabinski
& Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless
personal injury victims and their families. We also work on a contingency
basis, which means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost
to you. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance
to you, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling
filling out a case evaluation form.