Spontaneous fires continue to injure owners of ‘hoverboards’

There are certain products considered so "cool" that manufacturers cannot wait to put them on the market. Unfortunately, the rush to make money often means that the products are not adequately tested. Companies don’t know how the products will be used – and abused – by consumers.

But people can get hurt even when a product is used as directed. Lack of adequate testing may mean that dangerous design and manufacturing flaws must be discovered by consumers themselves. Good examples of this problem are the products sold as "hoverboards."

These devices don't actually hover. Rather, they are more like a cross between a skateboard and a Segway. But a misleading name is not the worst problem plaguing these products. Instead, there have been numerous reports of hoverboard batteries exploding and causing fires.

In December, a couple in Alabama sued the manufacturer of a hoverboard they had purchased after if allegedly caused a destructive house fire. At that time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission was investigating 16 similar fires in 12 different states – all blamed on malfunctioning hoverboards.

Earlier this week, one of these dangerous and defective products was allegedly responsible for a house fire here in California. News sources say that a Petaluma man heard an explosion that came from where his daughter's hoverboard was plugged in and charging. Thankfully, he was able to put out the fire and no one was injured. But he likely suffered around $10,000 in damage to his home.

Although the cause of these fires has been linked to problems with hoverboard batteries, it is unclear why these defects were not detected before the personal transportation devices went on sale. Releasing a product with serious safety problems isn't just bad for business. It puts consumers in serious danger and exposes the company to serious legal liability.