US to factories, sellers: make sure hoverboards are safe

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2015 file photo, a young man rides a hoverboard down a Manhattan street toward the Empire State Building in New York. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 that the hoverboards can be a fire hazard and will go after companies that make, sell, import or distribute hoverboards that don’t meet safety standards. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) – The government is cracking down on hoverboards.

In a letter to manufacturers, importers and retailers, U.S. regulators said they will seize or recall any of the of the two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters, which were a huge hit this holiday season, if they fail to meet federal safety standards.

The Internet is littered with photos and videos of hoverboards on fire and spewing black smoke.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a letter issued Thursday noted 52 reports of fires that users say were caused by hoverboards in 24 states. Those fires led to $2 million in property damage, including destruction of two homes and an automobile. It said many of those incidents would not have happened if the hoverboards met existing standards.

Concerns that lithium-ion batteries inside the hoverboards could spark a fire have led to bans by several airlines and college campuses.

The CPSC revealed last month that it was investigating hoverboard makers and sellers. Amazon.com Inc. also offered full refunds for customers who bought a hoverboard through the site.

 

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