AT the end of November Thurrock Council’s trading standards team warned local people about the dangers of hover boards.
Several local people contacted the council to tell of retailers who were selling the machines and the team have also dealt with thousands more boards in the borough’s ports.
In one incident 20 hover boards which are believed to be non-compliant with British law were found at a Thurrock store. A suspension notice has been issued pending further tests, and the boards are likely to be destroyed
Two more boards fitted with unsafe two-pin plugs have been seized for destruction; three non-compliant and one unsafe board were also found at another shop. The unsafe one was seized and the others voluntarily removed from sale.
And in another incident three apparently non-compliant boards were found and again a suspension notice was issued until the retailer can prove they are safe.
There are also 2,000 hover board units at the London Gateway port which the council’s trading standards team will be examining as they are believed to be non-compliant or unsafe.
In the run up to Christmas Thurrock Council has stopped a total of 1,200 non-compliant hover boards entering the UK from China – from three separate importers.
Based on a typical retail price of Â£299 each, this equates to Â£358,800.
Suspension notices have been issued for two of these consignments pending further test results. The third had two-pin plugs and will be destroyed.
Cllr Jane Pothecary, the council’s portfolio holder for public protection, said: “The team have done tremendous work and I found it fascinating when I was shown some of these boards.
“The one I am holding has a two-pin plug that would be totally unsafe – but you wouldn’t know there was a problem until you took it out of the packaging.
“Once again I would urge everyone to take a great deal of care if they are considering buying one of these. They sound like great fun, but could actually be incredibly dangerous … even fatal.”
She added: “We have now visited all retailers in Thurrock who we understand have been selling hover boards and removed the non-compliant products we found from sale.
“If people are concerned about any hover boards sold – whether that’s in a shop or a stall – or of they would like advice on consumer rights, they can contact Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06. That will lead to a report coming to trading standards.”
Thurrock Council’s trading standards has issued the following advice:
Always buy from a reputable retailer;
The product or packaging should be CE marked. Check the middle of the ‘E’ – it should be shorter;
If the product is manufactured in China, the name and address of the importer in the EU must be present.
Most hover boards are not intended for use by children under 14 and should include a warning stating this;
Check the plug – it should be a standard three-pin UK plug. If the plug is clover-shaped or too small, it is likely to be non-compliant;
Check the fuse – it should be marked with the manufacturer’s name or logo, British Standard “BS1362” and an approval mark such as BSI or ASTA; and
Check the manual – it should be in good English and include advice on the intended user (age and weight), safe riding, charging and disposal of the product.