Australia must follow international lead and stop dangerous hoverboards at border

Master Electricians Australia RSS Feed

6 January 2016

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today called on Federal Minister Peter Dutton to follow the United Kingdom’s lead and stop, at the Australian border, the importation of dangerous, non-compliant hoverboards that can explode and cause fires, after a seventh recall was issued late yesterday.

MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said Mr Dutton needs to take a stand and ensure Australian Customs Officers are able to work with regulators to inspect and stop the importation of such equipment, and that he must also clamp down on importers fraudulently using the safety mark to indicate compliance with Australian standards.

“The UK’s customs authorities have reportedly impounded more than 20,000 of these boards; a major retailer has pulled them from shelves and warned consumers to stop using them and return them as a matter of urgency; and Amazon has pulled them from its website and asked customers to throw them away,” Mr Richards said.

"Australian authorities must take heed and follow suit before another family loses their home, or worse, before someone loses their life," he said.

The ACCC issued a nation-wide recall on Mod Board models MOD001 (charger only) late yesterday - the seventh recall of its type in the past month, and less than 24 hours after a hoverboard on charge caused a significant house fire in Melbourne’s northwest.

“Australian safety standards are in place to protect people and their properties from these dangers, but as we've seen too many times already, Australian shelves are being flooded with equipment that is not compliant, however there have been no moves to even attempt to stop them at the Australian border.

"The onus is also currently on the importer to ensure the product has been tested, and they are able to self-certify products with the Australian tick of compliance, which is ludicrous.

"A number of the now-recalled products bore the Australian safety mark when on the shelves, but were later found to be non-compliant, which shows how easy it is for importers and suppliers to fraudulently use the mark without carrying out the appropriate testing.

“Our regulators have been working hard to weed these products out, but more needs to be done.

"Our governments need to tighten the regulatory framework to ensure that imported electrical equipment is tested independently to protect the safety of consumers, and our authorities must use the full force of the law to prosecute companies caught fraudulently applying the safety mark without the appropriate testing regime.

"This process must be tightened as a matter of urgency to ensure that suppliers are, in fact, completing these steps thoroughly and correctly, and not just claiming they are.

"A young mother was electrocuted while using a non-compliant phone charger, there have been multiple cable recalls in the past two years including the biggest cable recall in Australia's history - the Infinity recall, and now we've had seven recalls on these downright dangerous electrical 'toys'.

"Every product sold in this country that has been imported without thorough testing is putting people's homes and lives at risk, and it's time for our governments to step up and amend the regulatory framework and put a stop to it,” he said.

View the full list of recalled products

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone SAS Group on 0447755893 or 07 3221 9222.