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Amazon settles lawsuit over unsafe hoverboard toy

Amazon has settled a lawsuit alleging that a house fire and injuries were caused by a defective, counterfeit hoverboard ahead of a trial date.

The suit, which was first filed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2016, claimed the Fox family's $1m home was destroyed by a fire caused by the battery in the FITURBO F1 hoverboard toy. The father had to rescue two teenage children, who were forced to jump from the second floor of the property.

The family sought $30m in compensation from Amazon, claiming they had lost $1.9m in home and property, and has also suffered severe psychological effects and long-term injuries. The amount of the settlement agreed by the online retail giant hasn’t been disclosed, and came ahead of a trial scheduled for November of this year.

Amazon wont the first rounds of the product liability lawsuit, but last August an appeals court ruled that the company must face claims of misrepresentation and consumer fraud related to the sale of the hoverboard, bought from Amazon Marketplace for around $275 as a Christmas present in November 2015.

The court said Amazon stopped hoverboard sales after its investigation yielded proof of the fire risk, but criticised the company for not informing the Foxes or 250,000 other buyers of hoverboards around that time of the danger.

A vague highlighting news reports of dangers associated with products containing lithium ion batteries did not go far enough, it concluded. Amazon insisted it was not at fault, blaming the Chinese manufacturer of the hoverboard and the third-party seller that advertised the toy on its site.

A New Jersey court last year also held that Amazon should be held liable in another defective hoverboard-related suit, but a later judgment in an Arizona court concerning two hoverboards that caught fire went in the company’s favour. The cases are being tracked with interest as Amazon also faces product liability claims over counterfeit goods sold on its platforms.

SecuringIndustry.com reached out to Amazon for a comment on the settlement, but the company declined to comment.

Meanwhile, there are still concerns about the safety of hoverboards being sold on Amazon and other retail websites, despite the high-profile lawsuits surrounding the fire risks.

In February, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned that the X1-5 hoverboard sold by New High-Tech Enterprise has lithium ion batteries that can overheat, posing a fire hazard. It was being listed on Amazon as well as other site such as nhthoverboard.com and ewheelsusa.com.

“CPSC is aware of one report of an X1-5 hoverboard overheating and smoking,” said the organisation. “Although the X1-5 bears a UL mark, the product is no longer UL-listed and a sample tested by CPSC did not conform to…the UL2272 safety standard.”

The company was asked to recall the product, but refused to do so, it said.


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