Well, this was inevitable. Following the hoverboard-ignited fire that destroyed a Melbourne home earlier this week, Australia’s independent consumer watchdog is set to formally investigate the devices.
Victoria’s Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garret had earlier called on the federal government to consider a permanent ban, writing to Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, the federal minister responsible.
A spokesperson for Minister O’Dwyer has now confirmed to Fairfax that “the Victorian incident raises serious concerns and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will conduct a formal investigation into the safety of these products.”
Victorian Consumer Affairs and Energy Safe Victoria inspectors are in the midst of a crack-down, checking retailers for devices that have been recalled and or don’t comply with Australian electrical requirements.
Overseas, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is already full swing into a massive investigation into the safety of hoverboards. Airlines, the UK and many parts of America have also put various bans in place.
The charred remains of the offending hoverboard. Family lucky to evacuate after the Christmas gift caught fire. pic.twitter.com/6XWEAjCX6V
— MFB (@MFB_NEWS) January 4, 2016
Did you get (or buy yourself) a hoverboard for Christmas?
Ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle. The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements. A regulatory compliance mark (RCM) is placed on the external surface of the device and as near as possible to the model identification.
Approval markings vary between states and territories. They are usually an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state/territory that issues the approval followed by between one and six digits. Below are two examples taken from the Electrical Safety Victoria (ESV) website.
The ACCC advises consumers to examine their product for these markings and to contact their supplier to verify if the appliance is approved for use. Consumers can also access the Australian Certification Public Database to search for approved electrical appliances.
Overcharging non compliant devices may cause overheating of the battery and result in a fire
Always use the approved battery charger that came with the product. If there are signs of damage near the battery do not charge the unit until the device is inspected by a professional
Hoverboard owners are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when using and charging their hoverboard. Adults should supervise the charging of all electrical devices for children.
Check For Recalls
Self-balancing scooters / chargers recalled so far:
• Hunter Sports – Moonwalker Electric Balancing Scooter
• Sello Products – Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Electric Scooter
• AirWalk Self-Balancing Electric Scooter
• Techwheel Z-01
• Scooter Emporium – Self-Balancing Scooter with Charger
• Go Skitz Self-Balancing E Board – Models S01 and S03
• Mod Board ‘Hoverboard’ Model MOD001
Questions about the most recent recalls should be directed to the relevant state or territory regulator:
ACT: ACT Planning and Land Authority, Construction Services Branch
NSW: NSW Fair Trading, Energy and Utilities, Home Building Service
QLD: Dept. of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland Government Electrical Safety Office
SA: Office of the Technical Regulator, Dept. of State Development, Energy Markets and Programs
TAS: WorkSafe Tasmania
VIC: Energy Safe Victoria, Equipment Safety and Energy Efficiency
WA: Department of Commerce, EnergySafety Division