Hoverboard maker Swagway is allegedly putting counterfeit safety marks on its products. Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety science company that reviews products to determine if they are safe for consumers, said Swagway put its UL safety marks on its hoverboard, but UL has never inspected or certified any hoverboards.
“Swagway Hoverboards have not been evaluated by UL to any Standard for Safety and it is unknown if the Swagway Hoverboards comply with any safety requirements,” a UL statement said. “To date, UL has yet to certify any hoverboards for safety.”
Swagway said it uses battery cells and adapters that have been certified by UL. However, according to UL, that does not grant Swagway the right to use the UL safety mark on its product.
“UL certification of components such as a battery pack or power supply in hoverboards is different from certification of the hoverboards themselves,” the UL statement said. “For technology such as hoverboards that use lithium-ion batteries, it is important to understand the interaction among components and UL has yet to evaluate any power supplies or battery packs in a hoverboard system.”
John Drengenberg, consumer safety director and an electrical engineer at UL, told Spend Matters there are 22 billion UL safety marks placed on products every year and the incidence of counterfeiting is small, but the company is “very aggressive” with counterfeiters.
“Our mission is safety, and if something is unsafe and someone uses our mark, we call it counterfeit,” Drengenberg said.
The Northbrook, Illinois-based company has about 94 laboratories around the globe. It also has an entire department dedicated to anti-counterfeiting and works with border protection and other global law enforcement agencies on the issue.
Swagway said it was “disappointed” in the news from UL and has made “good faith efforts” to work with the product safety review company. In an emailed statement, Swagway’s legal team said: “Swagway has always ordered and used UL certified battery cells and UL certified adapters for its hoverboards. UL insists that, rather than using the UL mark used by Swagway, to signify the use of UL certified components in a system that is not UL certified, Swagway was required to use a different UL mark. UL contends the mark used by Swagway must only be used to signify certification of an entire system. Swagway’s entire hoverboard is not UL certified. Indeed, to date, UL has yet to certify any hoverboards for safety.”
Fire Risk, CPSC Investigation
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in December is was investigating hoverboard safety after numerous reports came out of the devices starting on fire. A number of hoverboard makers announced recalls of the products and sellers like Amazon took them off their sites. The CPSC said it was specifically looking at hoverboard battery packs and chargers, as they are believed to be the source of the fires.
Hoverboards are also being banned in a growing number of places. College campuses around the nation, for one, are banning the devices due to the fire risk. The Carolina Panthers also recently announced its players were prohibited from using hoverboards while in their stadium. Nearly 60 airlines have prohibited overboards onboard as well.