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Interim Ban on Sale of Unsafe Hoverboards in Australia Enters Last Lap

Posted by Manav Sharma on

Starting June 16, we are finally entering into the final lap of Interim Ban on sale of sub quality Hoverboards in Australia. It has been 3 months since the Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer O’Dwyer after considering advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) first imposed an Interim Ban on sale of unsafe Hoverboards for 60 days starting March 18, 2016. The ACCC since then has cracked down on many Hoverboard suppliers that were selling 'unsafe' self balancing scooters. Consequently, many suppliers relying on sourcing of cheap & sub quality products from overseas have either shut down their shops or were asked by ACCC to recall their hoverboards/hoverboard parts from the market and refund the customers; thus making the markets 'almost' free of unsafe devices.

The ACCC in its commitment of ensuring safety of Australian citizens chose to extend the ban by another 30 days on May 18 after the initial period of 60 days came to an end. While many industry players were expecting the extension to be the final stage before the ban is lifted and some strategic & permanent regulations are introduced to ensure availability of only safe Hoveboards in the Aussie market on an ongoing basis, the ACCC surprised everyone by extending the ban further for another 30 days, effective from June 16, 2016. As a result, the interim ban will remain in effect until 16 July 2016. It is also worthwhile to note that the initial ban of 60 days had a provision to extend the ban by another 60 days divided in equal periods of 30 days each, subject to review and assessment of the market situation by ACCC.

Although, questions were raised about the effectiveness of the Hoverboard ban in Australian market following the Hoverboard fire incident in Bankstown, NSW, yet, many industry experts have maintained that the ban is working and are predicting that the interim ban will not only prove to be efficient in preventing fire incidents in future but also help build confidence among consumers who have grown suspicious about the safety levels of these products in last few months.

In pursuit of delivering a leak proof regulation to ensure an ongoing self regulation of Hoverboards market in Australia, the ACCC in its May circular requested the suppliers and other stakeholders to suggest their best preferred options (out of the 4 options offered by ACCC) in creating a safer market in future.

The efforts have already started bearing fruits for the Australian market as we are witnessing a consistent decline in number of suppliers selling cheap Hoverboards. A handful of suppliers such as Revo Glider from Kaiser Baas and Sky Walkers have successfully attained the required certifications and approvals to be able to sell again in Australian market. Therefore, it will not be wrong to predict with the ever growing popularity of these devices and the availability of only safe products in the market, the Self Balancing Scooters are set to achieve the best Christmas gift tag in 2016 as well, thereby repeating the success from last year.

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