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'Hoverboards' sold over the busy Christmas shopping period may be recalled because of safety concerns, with consumer advocate Choice warning anyone who had made a purchase to follow the issue "very carefully".
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'Hoverboard' fire destroys Strathmore home
An internet bought 'hoverboard' catches on fire, destroying a home in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
A sweep of Victorian-sold 'hoverboards' - or electric balancing scooters - found five failed to meet Australian safety standards for electrical products.
On Tuesday, a house fire in Strathmore, in Melbourne's north, was caused by a burning charger. This follows other 'hoverboards' in the United States catching fire.
Choice spokeswoman Erin Turner warned Australian consumers the list of recalled 'hoverboards' may be incomplete and the dangers not yet fully realised.
"This is a developing situation, products that haven't been recalled may yet be," Ms Turner said.
"These products have already shown significant issues, particularly when overcharging. This is something to watch very carefully," she said.
She and Energy Safety Victoria warned consumers to check for the Australian safety standard logo - a tick surrounded by a triangle.
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"If you have a hoverboard in your house at the moment I would be strongly suggesting you take a look at it and if it is part of a product recall, get it out of your house as soon as possible," Ms Turner said.
"Get it back to where you bought it from for a full refund."
In its pre-Christmas sweep, Energy Safe Victoria found just two 'hoverboards' and their chargers met Australian safety standards, with five recommended for recall by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. A sixth 'hoverboard' sold in Queensland was also recalled.
But not all suppliers have submitted their models to Energy Safety Victoria investigations, Neil Fraser, the authority's executive manager electrical installations, licensing and equipment safety, said. Mr Fraser said the authority would continue to pursue the suppliers of the 'hoverboards' and their chargers.
"Unfortunately, what happens with these overseas suppliers is they go for a Christmas rush and then stall," Mr Fraser said.
"We tried hard and got five of them off the market but we are continue to chase the others. We have only found two so far that comply," he said.
There are no international safety standards for 'hoverboards', Mr Fraser said, but Australian electrical safety authorities in each state could test chargers, cabling and other elements associated with electrical products to ensure they met standards.
Mr Fraser said the charger supplied in the house fire failed to meet Australian standards. The 'hoverboard' and charger purchased at an online retailer based in Sydney had no brand name on them, hampering the investigation and recall recommendations.
The recalled models so far include:
- Moonwalker two-wheel scooter by Hunter Sports, (Big W);
- Sello Products self-balancing two-wheel electric scooter, (Ebay);
- AirWalk Self-Balancing Scooter (online via Catchoftheday.com.au);
- Go Skitz Self Balancing E Boards models S01 and S03 (charger only) (goeasyaustralia.com.au, goeasyonline.com.au, kogan.com.au, Toyworld, Harvey Norman Big Buys and Anaconda stores);
- Scooter Emporium – Self Balancing Scooter with Charger (Scooter Emporium); and
- Techwheel Z-01 (charger only), (groupon.com.au, theactive.com.au, brandsexclusive.com.au, ozsale.com.au, techwheel.com.au).
The Master Electricians Australia chief executive officer Malcolm Richards called for regulators to begin prosecuting suppliers of unsafe electrical products saying "enough is enough".
"We are calling on our regulators to begin prosecutions on all companies and individuals involved in this process who haven't done the right thing – from the importers and warehousing right through to the end sellers," Mr Richards said.
"Each one has a duty of care to ensure the products they are providing are safe, fully compliant, and won't burst into flames and burn people's homes down.
"We are also sick of seeing overseas companies escape prosecution for selling products that are downright dangerous for Australian families, but we can make sure that we apply that prosecution process to everyone we can within the Australian jurisdiction," he said.