Yesterday, the Australian government issued an interim ban on these dangerous, dodgy hoverboards. And the ban will remain in place for two months. To discuss this further we're joined by Small Business Minister Kelly O'Dwyer and Tom Godfrey from Consumer group CHOICE. Good morning to you both. Thanks for joining us.
Firstly to you, Minister. What's been banned and what happens after these 60 days?
Hoverboards that don't meet the safety standards have been banned from today, for the next 60 days. That means, that suppliers can only supply hoverboards that meet the safety standards and if they are not sure, they need to get those hoverboards tested. The ACCC conducted an investigation and found that faulty hoverboards with the electrical chargers had been linked to four house fires and two houses completely destroyed. So, we put this ban in place to keep people safe, to make sure that we can only sell safe hoverboards in Australia.
All right. Tom, the good folk of Choice, warned about this issue before Christmas when it was apparent that some of the charging devices were faulty and dangerous. Are you happy with this decision?
We are. We welcome the Minister’s decision. We were tracking trends before Christmas. We’ve seen fires in the US and also in Hong Kong. We put the warning out, welcome the ACCC's investigation and also the interim ban announced by the Minister.
So, Minister is it the actual battery that is the biggest concern?
It’s the charging device that has been linked with a lot of the problems related to the hoverboards and leaving the hoverboard charging up is really the key problem that has been identified here. So that's why it is so important that if people have got concerns about the hoverboard that they might have purchased, that they contact their retailer, or they get on the ACCC website and check out whether it's one of the hoverboards that has already had a voluntary recall. There are about 20 of those. But we know that there are around 100,000 hoverboards in Australia and people need to be very careful.
Tom, you know there are hoverboards and hoverboards. Some are fine and some of them are not. What do we look for?
Price is obviously a good guide but check the ACCC website. Make sure it's not subject of a recall. There is also the recall site and then if you've got one at home, obviously, read the manual. You are looking for one as well, if you are still in the market for one with a short battery charge time and also safety warnings when it gets to top speed. Because there are still some good ones on the market but you are going to have to pay a bit more money.
Minister and Tom, thank you very much for joining us this morning and talking us through that.