500,000 ‘hoverboards’ recalled in USA, while Segway launches safety-certified miniPRO

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered retailers to recall more than half a million ‘hoverboards’ because they have been determined unsafe. The US CPSC says:

“Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled products and contact the recalling company to return their hoverboard for a full refund, a free repair or a free replacement depending on the model.”

No product manufactured by Segway, Inc. is being recalled. Segway has never made a ‘hoverboard’ type device.

Segway does make the small, safe personal transporter called the ‘Ninebot by Segway miniPRO.’ The Segway miniPRO is a very petite, lightweight implementation of the Segway Personal Transporter, where the LeanSteer ‘handlebar’ has been shrunk down to ‘knee-steer’ size. The miniPRO is fun to ride and easy to take with you. Incorporating legendary Segway safety technologies, the self-balancing miniPRO is as sure-footed as it is agile across a variety of terrain.

The Segway miniPRO is the only small personal transporter that is safety certified under the strict new requirements known as UL2272. Accordingly, buyers can have confidence the Segway miniPRO won’t catch on fire or explode like so many ‘hoverboards’ have. The Segway miniPRO began shipping to customers in USA last week, and has been available to purchase in New Zealand since April 2016 for $2,295 including GST and delivery.

During 2015 ‘hoverboard’ manufacturers raced to the bottom on quality and price at spectacular speed. It comes as no surprise that it is not possible to build a self-balancing platform intended to transport a person that is both “cheap” and “safe.” By early 2016 a ban on sales was put in place in USA, and online sellers like Amazon and Alibaba halted sales until manufactures redesigned their products to meet the new UL2272 standard (to date, none have yet been able to do so). Australia banned ‘hoverboards’ from 20 manufacturers in March 2016 (many of these brands were also imported into New Zealand and sold here).

Yesterday’s recall was for 501,300 units made by 10 manufactures. The worst offender is cheekily-named “Swagway” that has had 267,000 devices recalled. An upcoming post will cover new legal action against Swagway and several other makers of ‘hoverboards’ that are claimed to infringe Segway’s many patents and copyrights.

Should buyers have thought twice before buying a product from a company with a trading name that blatantly rips off the highly regarded Segway brand? What kind of quality might a buyer expect in a car made by a company calling itself Merceedies, or Jagwire?

The Register reports:

“We are urging consumers to act quickly,” CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye told ABC News. “We’ve concluded pretty definitively that these are not safe products the way they were designed.”

“This is a huge recall. It’s the recall we’ve all been waiting for to address this product that as soon as it came on the market presented a pretty significant fire hazard, and continues to present a fall hazard.

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