CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. customs agents have seized 43,000 counterfeit “hoverboards”–the largest ever in the United States.
Agents said the boards posed a safety threat. The boards were discovered during an inspection at the Customs and Border Protection warehouse in Bensenville.
The boards apparently had been shipped from China. The devices’ components, including the chargers, carried the Samsung brand name but contained counterfeit parts.
“They’re smugglers,” William Ferrara, director of field operations for the Chicago Customs and Border Protection office. “They try to take advantage of the desire that U.S. consumers have to purchase these hoverboards so corners were cut, safety was sacrificed.”
A spokeswoman for Samsung says the company has direct business with hoverboard manufacturers.
There have been several reports of bogus boards with chargers that can overheat and catch fire.
Earlier this month, a counterfeit hoverboard, caught fire at a home in Fox River Grove while its residents were sleeping. Ferrara says the counterfeiters could be the reason behind some of the boards catching fire.
“Legitimate manufacturers put safety measures in place so that these boards don’t overcharge,” he said.
The hoverboard – which is basically a two-wheeled skateboard, not a literal hoverboard – had been charging in the family room of a home in the when it started on fire around 4:45 a.m.
Residents had heard popping noises and then the smoke detectors in the house. Residents went downstairs, and noticed the hoverboard that was charging overnight had heated up and caught fire.
One of the problems of potentially dangerous counterfeits is many of them are sold online by hard to trace dealers. Best advice – get your scooter from legitimate retailers that you know.