Buyer Beware: Hoverboards’ Safety Mark Said to Be Bogus

Buyer Beware: Hoverboards’ Safety Mark Said to Be Bogus Photo (cc) by amsfrank

If your new hoverboard appears to have a safety certification, you may not want to get overconfident about using it. Underwriters Laboratories is warning consumers that although Swagway brand boards bear a UL safety mark, the agency has not certified Swagway or any other hoverboards for safety.

“Swagway Hoverboards have not been evaluated by UL to any Standard for Safety and it is unknown if the Swagway Hoverboards comply with any safety requirements,” UL wrote in the press release.

Underwriters Laboratories, founded in 1894 and headquartered in Illinois, provides independent product safety testing and certification. UL said that its safety certification mark appears on nearly 22 billion products but that neither hoverboards nor their components — such as a battery pack or power supply — have earned a UL safety mark.

“Hoverboard” is the generic term for self-balancing two-wheeled boards or scooters typically powered by rechargeable batteries. They are made by various manufacturers.

Hoverboards were a hot gift this holiday season, despite reports that their lithium-ion batteries sometimes burst into flames. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating fires and injuries across the United States that may be related to these products.

Swagway, a leading hoverboard manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana, told the Chicago Tribune that it has been “in discussions” with the safety certification company for weeks over the boards’ UL mark. Swagway claims its boards contain UL-certified battery cells and adapters, but UL maintains that Swagway’s counterfeit UL mark implies that the board’s entire system has been approved for safety.

“Swagway is disappointed that despite its good faith efforts to work with UL on this issue, UL chose to unilaterally issue its polarizing press release without discussing it with Swagway,” the company said in a statement.

As a precaution, the U.S. Postal Service banned the shipping of hoverboards. The boards have also been barred by airlines, many college campuses and other businesses.

One of the most recent hoverboard bans was handed down by Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who said his players can no longer use the boards in Panthers facilities, The Charlotte Observer reports. Rivera said he instituted the ban after watching some YouTube videos that showed the boards catching on fire and people injuring themselves while riding the boards.

“I caught [my players] drag-racing in the hallways one time too. You’ve got to be careful,” Rivera told the Charlotte Observer. “We still have some [players] who ride them to and from work, which I’m trying to get them not to, which they do.”

What do you think of the allegations against Swagway for using bogus UL safety marks? Have you used a hoverboard? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

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