ACCC Hoverboard Ban Botched Claim OZ Sellers, Rouge Chinese Sellers Not Regulated

Written by David Richards     20/03/2016 | 19:48 | Category: INDUSTRY

Serious questions have been raised after The Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O'Dwyer last week, banned sales of what have been described as "unsafe hoverboards", the move is set to hurt small business operator's claims industry executives.

ACCC Hoverboard Ban Botched Claim OZ Sellers, Rouge Chinese Sellers Not Regulated
Acting on information supplied by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission it now appears that Australian small businesses that import certified hoverboards are set to be discriminated against while rouge Chinese online operators will still be able to continue to sell questionable hoverboards and power supplies for hoverboards.

 Evan Karumbus the CEO of Kaiser Baas, the largest distributor of hoverboards in Australia has hit out at the drafting of the legislation claiming that it will not stop the sale of "dangerous Chinese made hoverboards" which are being sold online.

He claims that not one single Kaiser Baas Revo Glider hoverboard has been involved in a "dangerous incident or house fire".

He claims that under the new rulings by the ACCC consumers who purchased a hoverboard over the peak Xmas New Year period can now walk into a retailer demanding a refund despite nothing being wrong with their hoverboard". 
The ACCC claims that there are imminent fire safety risks from defective electrical circuitry and substandard lithium-ion batteries in some hoverboards resulting in house fires.

Karumbus claims that prior to his Company manufacturing hoverboards for the Australian market that he engaged Australian engineers to help design the Revo Glider. 

He also engaged Melbourne based certifiers to confirm that their chargers are certified for the Australian market. 

This resulted in the Company being issued with C Tick certification while also being issued with an SAA certification number.

Shortly after launching the Kaiser Baas Revo Glider problems started emerging in the Australian market, Kaiser Baas discovered that rouge Chinese distributors were putting the Kaiser Baas SAA number on their chargers in an attempt to legitimise what he Kaiser Baas management describe as "seriously dodgy and dangerous" chargers", the issue was raised with the ACCC.

"We are a small Australian business who have done the right thing, now we are being penalised because of rouge Chinese traders who have been selling questionable products". 

"What the ACCC should have done is come to us, checked our certification and the lengths we have gone to bring in a legitimate product and then communicated that we have a legitimate certified product".

"The ACCC's action will not only hurt us it could lead to us losing hundreds of thousands of dollars because the ACCC has failed to identify legitimate hoverboards. All they have done is issue a list of rouge operators". 
In a statement issued on Friday the ACCC said that the new ban applies to the sale of hoverboards that do not meet the safety standards specified in the ban, taking effect from 19 March 2016.

They also urge hoverboard owners to contact retailer or manufacturer of the hoverboard to confirm if the product they have purchased has been tested and if it meets the safety standards specified in the ban.

Several retailers claim that they have not been contacted by the ACCC and that to implement a hoverboard confirmation program could cost some retailers tens of thousands of dollars. 

The ACCC has communicated to consumers that If a supplier is unable to confirm, after testing, that a hoverboard meets the safety standards specified in the ban, consumers are entitled to ask for a refund on the grounds that it is not of acceptable quality.

"This is ridiculous" claims Karumbus "What is going to happen is that hoverboard owners who have a perfectly good hoverboard, but are now bored with their hoverboard and now want some other product are going to be asking for a refund. Parents who have overspent during Xmas are also going to be seeking an $800 refund using perfectly safe hoverboards".

"This will create problems for both retailers and distributors. If this situation develops there is the real chance that these hoverboards will end up being resold on eBay. This will hurt Companies like mine that have not only done the right thing but have consulted with various Government authorities prior to distributing hoverboards in Australia".
The ACCC claims that owners can ask supplies what steps are being taking to test their hoverboards and how long that will take.

"Karumbus said" We do not deal with the public. We supply retailers and retailers sell our products".

The ACCC has urged hoverboard owners to keep a record of their supplier's response and, if they think that the response is unreasonable, the consumer should contact the ACCC their State or Territory consumer protection agency with this information.

A former senior Harvey Norman executive said" This is a real knee jerk reaction by the ACCC who clearly do not understand how the reseller channel works".

"Their strategy to fix problems which are primarily caused by questionable Chinese operators is to create mayhem. There is nothing in their recent statement that address online sales, pop up shops or sales via eBay. What they have done is create problems for small business operators and Minister Dwyer has been dragged into an issue because the ACCC wants to be seen as doing the right thing without consulting the industry. She has got some seriously bad advice". 

 The ACCC has even gone as far as suggesting that "If your hoverboard supplier is based overseas, it may be possible to return the product via land and sea freight".

In a direct message to retailers the ACCC claim that retailers should top selling hoverboards unless they are sure they meet the safety standards for hoverboard batteries and battery control systems specified in the ban.
The charger for recharging the battery should also meet state and territory electrical safety requirements.

They said that if retailers are unable to confirm that the hoverboards they supplied meet those standards, within a reasonable time, customers are entitled under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to consider them to be of unacceptable quality and to ask for a refund or replacement hoverboard that does meet the safety standards specified in the ban.
Here is a list of hoverboards recalled to date: 

Hunter Sports-Moonwalker Electric Balancing Scooter sold at BIG W (link is external) 
eBay Trader 'SelloProducts'-Self-Balancing 2 wheels Electric Scooter (link is external) Pty Ltd-AirWalk Self-Balancing Scooter (link is external)
Techwheel-Techwheel Z-01 (ChargerOnly) (link is external)
Scooter Emporium-Self Balancing Scooter with Charger (link is external)
Go Easy Australia - Go Skitz Self Balancing E Board models S01 & S03 ( Charger Only) (link is external)
Mod Products-Mod Board Model MOD001(Charger Only) (link is external)
Jyro Pty Ltd-Jyro Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Electric Scooter (link is external)
Smart Scooter ANZ-Smart Scooter 'Hoverboard' (link is external)
TCB Contracting Pty Ltd-Balancing Scooter 'Hoverboard' (link is external)
Freego Australasia Pty Ltd-Freego Hoverboard W1, W2 and W2SR (Charger Only) (link is external)
Smart Wheels Australia Pty Ltd-"Neo" Hoverboard (Charger and Appliance Connector Only) (link is external)
Ohmama-"Swegway" Hoverboard (link is external)
Crazy Technology Pty Ltd-Smart Electric Self-Balancing Scooter / Hoverboard (Charger Only) (link is external)
Austwide Consumer Products-Two Wheel Self Balance Drift Board ("Hoverboard") (link is external)
Glideboard-Balance Wheel Electric Scooter ("Hoverboards") (link is external)
Awesomewheels Pty Ltd-SEGGi Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Electric Scooter ("Hoverboard") (link is external)
Home Garden Sales-Smart Self-Balancing Scooter/Hoverboard Charger  (link is external)
Hoverboard Store-2 Wheel Self-Balancing Scooter/ Hoverboard (Charger Only) (link is external)
DayNight Technology Pty Ltd-Self-Balancing Scooter/Hoverboard (link is external)