Hoverboards: From dream Christmas gift to public liability nightmare

Date: Jan 12, 2016

Of all the presents Australians received throughout the holiday season, few sparked the same reaction as hoverboards. 

Despite not actually living up to their name, hoverboards have quickly become a sensation, with the two-wheeled devices the unwitting stars in innumerable viral internet videos. However, there is an unfortunate dark side to the devices. 

Among the hilarious videos and other moments of fun, there were a number of injuries and accidents, with the worst being a fire which destroyed a Melbourne family home. Now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation, as the devices are likely to be the focus of a number of public liability claims

What's causing the concern?

Although plenty of Australians have been enjoying their time with hoverboards, many of the devices – which are produced by a range of brands – have been shipped with safety defects. 

The aforementioned house fire in Melbourne started when the vehicle was charging. It is thought the charger emitted a spark during the process, thereby starting the house fire. 

The ACCC reports that more than seven hoverboards – all from different brands – are currently being recalled for this exact issue. People who have received them as gifts or purchased one for their own use need to be well aware of the reported dangers to ensure they don't end up making a public liability claim. 

According to the organisation, there are a number of steps members of the public can take to ensure their device is not at risk of catching fire. People are urged to check their devices for markings which indicate the device meets electricity safety standards in Australia. 

On top of this, hoverboard owners should limit charging times where possible as overcharging can heighten the risk of a faulty charger or board igniting. 

It's not just the electrical safety issues which have members of the ACCC concerned. As the products are simply a platform with two wheels and rely on the balance of their operator, many people have been injured in slips, trips or falls while using the devices. 

While the devices have certainly been a sensation, it hasn't all been smooth sailing. There are a number of negatives that can arise from non-compliant hoverboards under the ACCC's investigation, including fines for illegal products.

To find out more about public liability claims or other types of cases, contact the no win no fee lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners. 

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts or email your enquiry.