Amazon is telling customers to throw away unsafe hoverboards

Ride it right to the landfill.
Ride it right to the landfill.
Image: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Amazon pulled hoverboards from its US and UK sites earlier this week. Now it’s going a step further, advising that UK customers who purchased certain hoverboards get rid of the devices themselves, due to fears that faulty plugs are causing them to explode.

The retailer, which contacted the affected customers via email, recommends that the devices get brought to recycling centers certified to handle waste electrical and electronic equipment. “We regret the inconvenience this may cause you but trust you will understand that your safety and satisfaction is our highest priority,” the email reads. The BBC reports that Amazon will issue refunds within three days for boards it sold with faulty electronics.

While hoverboards—the self-balancing transport devices that in no way actually hover—have exploded in popularity in 2015, they’ve also had a tendency to explode themselves. Many of the boards are built in China, where an effort to get them into the hands of eager customers across the world seems to have prevented many of the boards from getting built to the highest manufacturing standard. They’ve caused multiple house fires in the UK while being left to charge overnight, and in the US, a man in Alabama claims his caught fire while he was riding it.

The UK government recently confiscated 15,000 boards at a customs check, and actually outlawed them from being ridden anywhere back in October. And many airlines around the world have banned the boards from their planes, as there seems to be no way to guarantee that they won’t explode.

Amazon now wants hoverboard manufacturers to provide documentation that their boards pass independent safety certification tests. In the meanwhile, the company has also sent emails to purchasers of other hoverboard models, with precautionary information about safely storing and using products with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Amazon wasn’t offering these customers refunds, and it didn’t say how many hoverboard owners were sent the refund email.