Hoverboards were the top item on 2015 holiday wish lists across North America. Now those occasionally exploding wheeled boards are at the top of our 2016 regrets lists. Luckily for anyone who got a hoverboard on Amazon, the company is offering you a refund.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday that Amazon will refund U.S. and Canadian hoverboard purchases amid a rash of reports about the devices catching fire and exploding.
“I want to commend Amazon for voluntarily stepping up, providing a free remedy, and putting customer safety first,” CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye said in a statement.
Kaye called for other retailers to also offer refunds and expressed his expectation that “responsible” online retailers would stop selling the products entirely pending new safety precautions.
While Amazon has removed some hoverboard brands from its site, several others are still available. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about its continuing sale of hoverboards.
The battery packs and power supplies in hoverboards need to be certified, but the devices themselves do not. Battery packs were deemed the likely culprit in multiple hoverboard explosions reported in the United Kingdom last year.
The CPSC isn’t simply worried about the devices bursting into flames (though it is definitely worried about that), but also about riders falling off of the boards. It cited an “increasing number of serious injuries and emergency room visits associated with these products.”
Kaye noted that the boards don’t appear to take into consideration the weight of the user, which can lead to them changing speeds or direction in a way that riders wouldn’t anticipate.
“We are looking deeper into the design of these products to see if they present a hidden hazard that is leading to fall injuries that should not occur, even on a product that presents some risk of falling,” he said in the commission’s statement.
Amazon began offering refunds for hoverboard purchases in the United Kingdom in December.