U.S. recalls over 500,000 hoverboards over battery fires

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Ten companies are recalling about 501,000 hoverboards after numerous reports of the self-balancing scooters’ batteries catching fire, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission said on Wednesday.

There have been at least 99 incidents of the two-wheeled devices’ lithium-ion battery packs overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire or exploding, the commission said in a statement. The incidents include an unspecified number of burns and property damage.

“We’ve all seen pictures of homes destroyed and families that made it out just in time,” Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye told a news conference.

Consumers were urged to stop using the recalled hoverboards and contact the companies named in the recall for a refund, repair or replacement.

The recall covers hoverboard models from eight importers: Digital Gadgets LLC, Monroe, New Jersey; Hoverboard LLC, Scottsdale, Arizona; Hype Wireless, Edison, New Jersey; Keenford Ltd, Hong Kong; PTX Performance Products USA, Irvine, California; Razor USA LLC, Cerritos, California; Yuka Clothing, of Miami; and Swagway LLC, of South Bend, Indiana.

The recall also affects models from two retailers – Boscov’s of Reading, Pennsylvania, and Overstock.com Inc, of Salt Lake City, Utah.

The models were sold from June 2015 through May for between $350 and $900, the commission statement said. The scooters and batteries were made in China.

The commission also said that China-based e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has acted on its own to require certification from testing agencies for hoverboards listed by third parties on its AliExpress.com and Alibaba.com online sites.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recommended that the self-balancing scooters be carried only in cabin baggage, rather than in the hold, but it remains up to each airline to decide their exact policy.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson, editing by G Crosse)