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Amazon Urges UK Customers to Dispose of Unsafe Self-balancing Scooters

Following a number of self-balancing scooters around the world bursting into flames or exploding, Amazon UK has urged its customers to bring unsafe "hoverboards" to their local recycling point for disposal. The company is also issuing full refunds on these purchases even if they were made months ago.

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In a message seen by Ars Technica UK, Amazon states that "we've received information that your [self-balancing scooter] purchased through the Amazon.co.uk website [бн] is unsafe for use as this product is supplied with a non-compliant UK plug."

The person who claims to have received the e-mail, Lewis Dawkins from Walsall, told The Telegraph he's had the device for four months but never ran into any problems.

Amazon UK has confirmed to Ars Technica UK that the company has sent e-mails suggesting to bring the devices recycling points to "UK customers who purchased hoverboards with non-compliant UK plugs." Another batch of e-mails has been sent to the "remaining UK customer who purchased hoverboards."

Christmas shopping gone wrong

Amazon removed hoverboard listings earlier this week in both the UK and US. American sellers of self-balancing scooters also received e-mails from Amazon requiring them to prove that the devices are compliant with safety standards.

Two other major UK retailers, John Lewis and Argos, have cleared their shelves of self-balancing scooters as well. An Argos spokesperson told The Telegraph they will issue refunds to concerned customers no matter when they bought the "rideable," while John Lewis would consider doing this outside the normal 14-day period on a case-by-case basis.

Earlier this month, more than 17,000 hoverboards were impounded in the UK ports and examined by the UK Trading Standards body. Some 15,000 of them failed basic power-related safety checks, with the problematic parts including the plug, cabling, charger, battery, and the cut-off switch.

The main reason of the suddenly-popular scooters overheating and eventually exploding or catching on fire is believed to be the low-quality Li-ion batteries installed by Chinese manufacturers. Due to a legal kerfuffle between patent holders, the market was seen as open and unregulated by a number of sellers who ordered the hoverboards in bulk from China, cutting corners on quality control.

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