As the holiday season is just around the corner, British officials are warning buyers about cheap, counterfeit ‘hoverboards’ – one of the top gifts in 2015 – that are very dangerous and may even catch on fire.
Since October, more than 17,000 ‘hoverboards’ – which are wheeled, self-balancing scooters – have been examined, and about 88 percent of them (or 15,000) are considered dangerous to users. There have also been incidents in which hoverboards caught on fire, because the battery cut-off switch failed to work, making the product overheat.
Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Charted Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) said that in an attempt to flood the market, irresponsible manufacturers will often produce cheap and unsafe products.
According to Consumer Minister Nick Boles, around the holidays customers are usually under pressure to buys the prefect presents, but they should always keep in mind that safety always comes first.
Livermore advises customers to remain vigilant especially during the holidays, to avoid purchasing an unsafe product, and to not let their judgement be clouded by a new craze or fashion.
NetNames, a company that provides internet domain name management services and online brand protection, found that for the IO Hawk hoverboard about 99 percent of the online listings were fake.
The World Customs Organization stated that counterfeit products are on the rise especially on online marketplaces. Each year, about $500 billion are made from sales of counterfeit goods, which account for ten percent of global trade.
Jeff Hardy, director of Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy at the International Chamber of Commerce, said that counterfeit goods are already hard enough to track down in the real world, not to mention the virtual world. Moreover, online marketplaces make it difficult for buyers to make a distinction between the counterfeit and the real product.
Gary Mcllraith, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at NetNames, said that counterfeiters take advantage of the growing numbers of online shoppers, by infringing the trademarks, products, and packaging of popular brands.
The UK National Trading Standards advises people who are looking to buy a hoverboard for their loved ones as a holiday gift, to research the company before making the purchase. Customers should also be wary of the extremely low prices, which may indicate that the product is in fact ‘too good to be true’.
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