United States Postal Service Bans Hoverboard Shipments on Airplanes

PHOTO: A youth rides a hoverboard on Oct. 13, 2015 in Knutsford, England.PlayChristopher Furlong/Getty Images
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The hottest toy of 2015 -- the hoverboard -- is no longer welcome on the United States Postal Service's airplanes and will instead have to be shipped using ground transportation, according to a statement from USPS.

The postal service said the decision is "out of an abundance of caution" after some hoverboards have apparently caught fire. The decision is "in line with the airline industry" after several major carriers banned the self-balancing scooters from their airplanes, USPS said.

"This product travels on ground transportation, due to the potential safety hazards of lithium batteries," according to a USPS statement.

Hoverboards have come under scrutiny after several of the devices reportedly burst into flames, causing fires and sending riders to the emergency room.

At issue is whether the lithium-ion batteries powering some hoverboards are causing them to overheat and if some manufacturers are using lower quality batteries to trim costs. Authorities have seized 164 hoverboards with fake batteries or other counterfeit marks, according to a new report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said earlier this week it was investigating 12 hoverboard-related fire incidents in ten states.

"Consumers want and deserve answers about the safety of hoverboards. I have directed agency staff to work non-stop to find the root cause of the fire hazard, how much of a risk it might present, and to provide consumers with answers as soon as possible," Elliot Kaye, chairman of the CPSC said in a statement.

Hoverboards can cost anywhere from $299 to as much as $1,000 for higher-end models.

Amazon warned hoverboard manufacturers last week that they have to “provide documentation demonstrating that all hoverboards are compliant with applicable safety standards" before the device is sold on the retailer’s site.

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