Tech Trends: Federal agency investigating hoverboard safety


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The companies behind hoverboards may be improperly using the UL safety logo on their product boxes, possibly deceiving people into thinking the items are safer than they really are.

Now, some retailers are offering full refunds for hoverboards. It seems like not a week goes by we do not hear about another fire caused by hoverboards.

One happened in Santa Rosa on Tuesday. The owners were gone, and they left it plugged in. It burned the house down, killing their two pets.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency, is now investigating hoverboards and what causes the fires. They are looking into at least 40 reports of hoverboard fires in 19 states.

For now, they are officially warning people that these are a fire risk. Amazon has agreed to refund people who have bought a hoverboard from their website.


Products with the UL symbol mean they have been tested and meet safety requirements. Some of these hoverboard companies have been using that little UL symbol on their retail packaging.

The company behind those little symbols said they have never issued any certification to any hoverboards out there on the market. So, it could come off misleading to customers.

Now, the hoverboard companies said they were just using the symbol to say that certain parts of the hoverboard meet the UL safety requirements. But the UL said the way they stuck the symbol on the front of the box makes it look like the whole hoverboard is UL safe.

From what Tech Trends reporter Gabe Slate learned from engineers, there are too many lithium batteries packed into the small hoverboard package. That and the fact that sensitive batteries are banging around curbs and sidewalks and shaking and rumbling around. That’s just not good for these types of batteries. They can burst into flames.

If you have one and don’t want to get rid of it, don’t leave it plugged in overnight or unattended. Don’t charge it until it cools off fully.

And have a working fire extinguisher while charging or using the hover boards.

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