While it doesn’t make much business sense to suddenly stop selling one of this Christmas seasons’ top-selling gifts, that’s what Overstock.com is doing announcing yesterday that it’s halting the sales of hoverboards.
Safety concerns, like a recent spate of viral videos showing the transportation devices suddenly exploding into flames, prompted the decision.
“Customer safety is always our top priority,” Overstock said in a release. “With the continued emergence of news reports highlighting safety concerns with ‘hover board’ self-balancing electric scooters, we have made the decision to remove all similar products from our website as a precautionary measure.”
The company said it’s contacting customers who have bought the devices, offering them a refund.
Overstock’s decision comes after a wave of news reports highlighting how unsafe the gadgets can be. The hoverboards, which don’t technically hover because they have wheels, are powered by lithium ion batteries that are prone to overheat. Also, some of the boards are powered by counterfeit batteries that could be even more dangerous.
The devices have been caught on camera exploding while people are riding it, as seen in this local news report:
Yet, that hasn’t deterred customers from snatching them up. EBay said on Cyber Monday that it sold 7,500 scooters, translating to 1 every 12 seconds. The boards are expected to be the hottest and “hardest-to-get” gift this year.
But the backlash has begun. The New York City Police Department has declared them illegal to ride in the city. British Airways said it won’t allow the gadgets on its planes and CES organizers aren’t allowing hoverboards onto the show floor next month.
Images via YouTube/Screenshot.