Hoverboards were officially created in 2013 and quickly sold. The exact inventor remains controversial, especially when this invention has its fair share of problems. Hoverboard issues revealed themselves almost immediately after they came out, prompting retailers like Amazon to pull them from the market.
After these problems came into play, hoverboard recall became commonplace in 2016 and 2017, leading to class actions and lawsuits against the company responsible for manufacturing the defective hoverboards. Suppose you have been affected by a faulty hoverboard. In that case, we at Consumer Alert Now are ready to offer our professional help to ensure that you are well-compensated for the injuries sustained from their effect.
What You Need to Know About Hoverboard Manufacture and Usage
A hoverboard or self-balancing scooter is a personal means of transport with two motorized wheels connected to two articulated pads where riders place their feet. These devices are controlled by leaning forward, backward, and direction of travel by twisting the pads.
The current form was invented in 2013 and has been subject to complex patent disputes. The first person to file a patent for this device was Shane Chen, an American businessman and founder of Inventist. He filed a patent in February 2013 and started a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign later that year.
The device increased its popularity in the United States, especially with its endorsement by an array of celebrities like Soulja Boy, Kendall Jenner, Wiz Khalifa, to mention a few. In 2014, American company PhunkeeTree encountered the Hong Kong Electronic Show device and became its distributor later.
By June 2015, several manufacturers had started making this device, mainly in the Chinese Shenzhen region. This made Inventist announce litigation against these manufacturers in January 2015. In April 2015, Ninebot acquired Segway Inc., a company that claimed to hold patents for the hoverboard to resolve the dispute. Later in August, Mark Cuban announced to purchase the Hovertrax patents from Chen to settle down the conflict. Unfortunately, most of the units provided in the first year of manufacture were defective and would likely catch fire, leading to significant product recall from multiple manufacturers.
What's Inside a Hoverboard and How They Work
A hoverboard consists of components under the hood. A standard hoverboard usually has a battery, two gyroscopes, a logic board, and two motors. Here is a detailed view of these components.
The Battery Pack
The battery pack is the hoverboard’s powerhouse. Almost every hoverboard uses lithium-ion batteries with a voltage capacity of 36 Volts to 42 volts. These batteries are one of the best options since they have a high energy density and are lightweight, which gives them more power.
The gyroscope is what defines the self-balancing technology in a hoverboard. Every wheel separately sends tilt and speed data to the gyroscope. It will then process and send the data to the logic board.
That's why the gyroscope is recalibrated once they start acting up. Therefore, the gyroscope will be reset to zero to fix the issue at hand.
The Logic Board
Similar to a computer, hoverboards have the logic board as their motherboard. It controls the entire hoverboard. For instance, if a part of the gyroscope sends information to it, it commands other features.
Other functions of the logic board involve sending commands for every riding mode. This part controls the mode which is used by a rider. This part also controls a hoverboard’s speed, power consumption, and LED lights. To simply put it, the logic board binds all the other components together.
Wheels and Motor
A hoverboard usually has two motors. They allow each wheel to accelerate and move independently. This would help the rider turn in one direction. Every wheel has sensors that record the tilt and speed at any time while the hoverboard is in motion.
The Footpads and their Technology
Below the hoverboard's footpads, there are two switches located on either side. One button is located at the front while the other one is at the back. The switches usually tell the wheels to move in a specific direction once they are active.
For instance, by tilting your right foot towards the footpad and tilting your left foot backward, you will expect the following to happen:
- You will activate the right front switch and accelerate the right wheel forward
- You will activate the left-back switch and accelerate the left wheel backward
These actions will immediately turn your board to the left.
Hoverboard Risk Warning Over the Years
Everything to do with hoverboard risk warning and recalls was authorized by The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This is a governmental body responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injuries or death associated with the use of different types of consumer products. Here are the significant warnings made by CPSC regarding the threat posed by hoverboards in the United States.
First Warning of the Use of LayZ Board Hoverboards
The first CPSC release was on 1st May 2017 following a fatal house fire related to the LayZ Board hoverboard. CPSC had evidence that this hoverboard brand was responsible for the tragic fire on 10th March 2017, in Harrisburg, Pa, which took two young girls' lives.
LayZ Boards were manufactured in Shenzhen, China, and at about the time the tragedy took place, over 3,000 units had been imported to the United States. Due to the fire hazard associated with these hoverboards, CPSC urged the public to stop charging and using these hoverboards. CPSC further advised consumers to dispose of these hoverboards to take them to the local recycling centers for safe handling of the lithium-ion battery.
Second Warning On the Use of LayZ Board Hoverboards
The second report on hoverboard risks was made on 14th November 2017. It was made after a second fire broke on 23rd October 2017 in Manchester Township, Pa, which destroyed a townhouse and damaged four others.
Third Warning on the Use of X1-5 Hoverboard
On 11th February 2020, CPSC asked New High-Tech Enterprise Company Inc. to recall their X1-5 hoverboards sold online after receiving a report that they were overheating and smoking. This warning was made even though these hoverboards had a UL2272 safety compliance label on them. However, CPSC warned that these hoverboards were not compliant with these safety standards and would pose a risk hazard to their users.
Hoverboard Recalls and their Timelines
A product recall retrieves defective or potentially unsafe goods from consumers while compensating the affected consumers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) made several recalls related to the risks that hoverboards had on their consumers. Here is a detailed view of all the hoverboard recalls made by CPSC.
Please note, all hoverboard recalls affected specific companies, a certain number of units, and several remedies were made regarding the compensation made to the affected consumers.
Hoverboard Recalls Made by 10 Firms due to Fire Hazards
The first hoverboard recall came to effect on 6th July 2016. This recall resulted from the risk of these products catching fire, exploding, or smoking due to the overheating of lithium-ion battery packs. About 501,000 units were under the threat of recall, and the remedy made by the affected ten companies was either being refunded, replaced, or repaired. Here is a detailed description of the affected companies, number of products, and remedies for the recall:
- Digital Gadgets of Monroe, N.J had 16,000 of their Hover-way Model recalled, and their remedy was refunding for the recalled products.
- Hoverboard LLC, located in Scottsdale, AZ, had their 70,000 Powerboard model recalled and made a remedy for replacing these products.
- Hype Wireless, Located in Edison, NJ, had 25,000 of its Hype Roam model recalled and made a remedy for replacing all recalled products.
- Keenford Ltd., located in Lynbrook, N.Y, had 84,000 of its iMoto model recalled and made a remedy for refund, replacement, or store credit.
- PTX Performance Products, located in Irvine, CA, had 4,900 of their Airwalk Self Balancing Electric Scooter model recalled and replaced all the recalled products.
- Razor USA located in Cerritos, CA had 28,000 of its Hovertrax models recalled and gave a remedy for replacing all these products.
- Swagway, located in South Bend, IND, had 267,000 Swagway X1 recalled and gave a remedy for repairing all these products.
- Yuka Clothing, located in Miami, Fl had 800 of their X Rider, NWS, Wheeli, Back to the Future, Hover Shark, X Glider, Mobile Tech, and 2Wheelz models recalled and gave a remedy for a refund of all these products.
Retail stores and online retailers were also part of the companies and enterprises affected by this release. This includes Boscov's located in Reading, Pa, which had 1,300 of its Orbit model recalled. Boscov's remedy for the recalled product was refunding all the consumers who had bought these products from them.
Overstock.com, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, was the only online retailer affected by this recall. Four thousand and three hundred of all its hoverboards sold on Overstock.com were to be refunded.
As of 6th July 2016, when this recall was being made, at least ninety-nine incidents reported of the hoverboards’ battery pack due to their overheating, sparking, catching fire, and damaging properties.
World Trading Recalls of Orbit Hoverboards Sold by Evine
The second recall was made on 13th December 2016. It involved 1,900 units of the Orbit self-balancing scooter/hoverboard sold at the Evine's televised shopping programs and evine.com in December 2015 for about $300. These products were imported by the World Trading of Valencia, CA. No injuries related to this product were reported, but CPSC found it suitable to recall it due to their battery's risk of overheating, smoking, or exploding.
Consumers were advised to stop using the recalled product, contact World Trading and exchange their hoverboard for a free UL-certified replacement hoverboard.
Vecaro Lifestyle Recall
CPSC hoverboard recall of 23rd March 2017 involved Vecaro hoverboard brands Drift8, Glide65, and Trek10, following a report of three incidents of hoverboard smoking. Fortunately, no injuries or property damages were reported about their defects.
All the recalled products had a "Vecaro" print on their front casing and were sold in white, black, red, blue, black, graffiti white print, red flame print, and metallic silver. Both Glide65 and Drift85 had their model numbers on the right, while the Trek10 model had its model number at the top. The number of units affected by this recall was about 500.
Consumers affected by this recall were to stop using the hoverboards, contact Vecaro and return their units for a free repair or credit towards the purchase of certified products.
On 24th July 2017, CPSC ordered a recall of about 2,800 iRover hoverboards model number 87645 and 87644. These products had an iRover print on their front outer casing and were sold in black and white. Their model numbers were listed on the bottom of the unit.
Consumers were asked to stop using these recalled hoverboards and contact iRover and return their hoverboard for a certified replacement unit. Only two reports of smoking and overheating related to these products were made, but no injuries or property damages have been reported so far.
iRover hoverboards were sold at Fallas stores, Los Angeles, CA, and T.J Maxx and Marshalls stores nationwide from December 2015 through December 2016.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Release of 14th November 2017
On 14th November 2017, CPSC released a hoverboard recall affecting seven hoverboard companies. The companies and hoverboards involved in this release are as follows.
Salvage World Smart Balance Wheel Hoverboard Recall
About 700 hoverboards sold by Salvage World Stores in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from August 2016 through March 2017 were ordered to be recalled by CPSC. Consumers were instructed to immediately stop using these hoverboards and contact Salvage World for instructions on returning their hoverboards for a refund.
Sonic Smart Wheel Recall by Dollar Mania
CPSC ordered a recall of about 1,000 Sonic Smart Wheels hoverboards with model number S-01 or SBW666SL printed at the bottom of the units. These hoverboards were sold in yellow, red, green, black, yellow, or white and had an "S" printed at the wheel caps center.
Consumers were expected to immediately stop using these hoverboards and contact Dollar Mania for replacement with certified units. Dollar Mania received one reporting of their hoverboard catching fire in Louisiana, leading to an approximate $40,000 of property damage to a consumer's home. No injuries associated with these products have been reported so far.
Sonic Smart Wheel hoverboards were sold exclusively at Dollar Mania stores in Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana, from August 2015 through December 2016.
Tech Drift Recalls
CPSC ordered a hoverboard recall of about 100 units sold online on www.techdrift.com and www.amazon.com from December 2015 through April 2016. Tech Drift hoverboards were sold in black and white. Consumers were to immediately stop using these hoverboards and contact Tech Drift for replacement with certified units.
iLive Self-Balancing Recall by Digital Products
CPSC ordered the recall of about 8,7000 iLive self-balancing hoverboards sold at hhgregg stores and Ace Hardware nationwide, Heartland America, and online at AceHardware.com. These included all the hoverboards sold between April 2016 through March 2017.
This recall includes hoverboards with model number GSB56BC, GSB56UC, GSB56WC, GSB56GDCDD. These model's numbers were printed at the bottom of the units. The brand name "iLive" could be found at the center of the hoverboard top surface and underneath the top deck, facing the ground. These hoverboards were sold in gold, blue, red, white, and blue. There were other units sold with a black carrying case.
Digital products, the importer of these hoverboards, expected all affected consumers to immediately stop using their products and contact them for replacement with certified units.
iHoverboard Hoverboards Recall by Simplified Wireless
CPSC ordered a recall of about 900 iHoverboard units by Simplified Wireless. These hoverboards were sold in white, blue, red, and black and had an “iHoverboard” print on their front. They were sold at www.amazon.com and other online retailers from November 2015 through December 2015.
No injuries or property damages were reported in connection to these hoverboards, but CPSC still ordered their recall due to these products' fire hazard levels.
Go Wheels Hoverboard Recall by Four Star Imports
CPSC ordered Four Start Import of Memphis, Tennessee, to recall about 1,8000 of their Go Wheels hoverboards due to fire and explosion risk. These hoverboards were sold in white, red, gold, pink, and blue and had a "Go Wheel" print in a circle in the middle of the unit where its sides connect. The "Go Wheel" identification would illuminate once it has been powered on.
Go Wheel hoverboards were sold exclusively on Village Mart stores in Memphis, Tennessee, from October 2015 to March 2016 for about $200. All affected consumers were expected to stop using these units and contact Four Star Imports to return and replace them with certified products.
Drone Nerds Hoverboard Recall by Drone Nerd
Lastly, CPSC ordered Drone Nerds Inc. of Aventura, FL, to recall 900 of their Drone Nerds Hoverboards. These hoverboards were sold in Aventura, FL and online at www.dronenerds.com from November 2015 through March 2016 for a retail price of $300.
Consumers were expected to stop using these hoverboards, contact Drone Nerds, and return them to receive a full refund or store credit. No injuries or property reports were made, but CPSC still considered the recall due to the possibility of these products' fire hazards.
Class Action Lawsuits Associated with Hoverboard Hazards
Hoverboards' risks have prompted several class actions against the responsible parties. A class-action lawsuit is a type of case in which a group of people with similar injuries caused by the same product or action file a lawsuit against the defendant.
Class actions are useful since many personal injuries might not be worth enough to support a lawsuit. Therefore, when these individuals band together, the value of the case adds up. Filing a class action also allows the consolidation of attorneys, witnesses, and other litigation aspects to make it more efficient.
When it comes to class actions filed against hoverboard retailers, there are at least two known lawsuits in the process. One involves a couple in Alabama suing a local hoverboard retailer after one of their devices caused a fire in their home. This lawsuit was filed on 22nd December 2015 by Judge and George Gregory, claiming that their battery-powered hoverboard caught fire on 23rd November the same year, causing extensive damages but no injuries.
The second class action involves a plaintiff going by Michael Brown of Chappaqua, NY, against Swagway and Modell's sporting goods store where he bought the device. This lawsuit was filed after purchasing a Hanukkah gift for his children and allegedly burst into flames, destroying the board and damaging part of his home.
Obstacles to Hoverboard Class Action Lawsuit
One of the significant obstacles facing hoverboard incidents lawsuits is that these products are primarily manufactured in China. The question that remains in question is whether consumers can realistically recoup what they are expected to recover based on the damage's extent.
Apart from that, online retailers like Amazon.com have managed to dodge responsibility for these unsafe products, arguing that they only work as a platform that connects sellers and buyers and should not be responsible for any damages or injuries caused by these products. This kind of obstacle came into play amid 17 lawsuits filed against Amazon.com.
Despite these obstacles, there are still plans underway to ensure that all the affected consumers are well-compensated for the damages incurred through these defective products. However, this kind of compensation is possible only if one involves a professional attorney.
Find a Product Liability Attorney Near Me
While some people opt to fight their product liability cases independently, it is always advisable or a smart decision to hire a class action lawyer. Product liability cases like those associated with defective hoverboards are complicated, making it hard for individuals to be compensated accordingly. At Consumer Alert Now, we are committed to keeping the public informed about the risks posed by the products they use and offer the best legal help when needed. For more information, contact us at 800-511-0747 and schedule a consultation.