So-called ‘hoverboards’ yanked from websites after fires reported

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An update to a WNCN investigation on the season’s hottest toy catching fire: some hoverboards are getting yanked off websites after more reports of the batteries inside sparking fires.

When WNCN reported on this issue earlier this month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was investigating three reports of these fires. Now, that number has jumped to at least ten.

The agency is encouraging consumers who have issues with the boards to report them on the website SaferProducts.gov.

The chairman of the commission, Elliott Kaye, tweeted Sunday, “Share/RT #hoverboards Beware of unknown websites, mall kiosks, no markings. Report on http://SaferProducts.gov . @uscpsc testing/investigating”

The agency tells NBC News it’s sending samples to a lab outside Washington, D.C., for additional testing.

Experts say the lithium-ion batteries that power the boards are likely overheating.

The quality of those batteries can vary depending on the company making them and the country where they’re produced.

Experts warn against overcharging them.

“Sometimes you see companies jumping in to make quick knock-offs of the product, and sometimes those can be particularly problematic,” said Kevin Anderson, who heads up the consumer protection division of the state attorney general’s office.

If you search for hoverboards on Amazon’s website, you’re going to have a much tougher time finding one, as the company removed the vast majority of them this weekend.

Overstock.com stopped selling them last week, according to a press release.

Swagway, the leading maker of the boards in the U.S., stands by its products, writing on its website, “We don’t cut corners as we take safety very seriously and take the extra steps to test and review each and every component that goes into making a Swagway.”

Anderson says with the sudden increase in the boards’ popularity, buyers need to be careful if they still want to get one quickly before the holidays.

“As a practical matter, it can be very difficult to deal with an overseas company if you have a problem with the product. It can be difficult for an enforcer here to enforce the U.S. laws,” he said.

Major airlines have banned people from bringing the boards on planes either as a carry-on or in their checked luggage.

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