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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Holiday Advice for Consumers -- Hoverboards

Release Date: 
December 11, 2015

WASHINGTON— Consumers around the world are in in the midst of their holiday shopping, looking for that perfect gift for family, friends, coworkers, and clients. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other federal agencies are diligently working to protect the American consumers, allowing them to shop with confidence.  CBP’s enforcement efforts have led to the seizure of 164 hoverboards with fake batteries or other counterfeit marks.

“The men and women of CBP remain vigilant in protecting American consumers,” said CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. “Working closely with our partners, we want to ensure that counterfeit and substandard merchandise does not appear in households this holiday season.”

CBP is working closely with partner Federal regulatory agencies to target the counterfeit lithium ion batteries that power some of these hoverboards. CBP’s Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) has issued alerts to CBP field personnel to closely inspect these products and root out dangerous and hazardous counterfeits.

“Consumers place their trust in the UL mark and labelling any product with a counterfeit UL mark deceives consumers, placing them at unnecessary risk,” said Brian Monks, Vice President UL Global Security and Brand Protection Division. “UL is committed to keeping counterfeit, potentially unsafe products away from consumers. We applaud the efforts of CBP in identifying these counterfeit products and getting them out of the marketplace.”

Hoverboards—self-balancing, two-wheeled, motorized platforms—are one of this year’s most popular items. However, major safety concerns have surfaced following reports of fires possibly caused by substandard and counterfeit batteries within some hoverboards. Counterfeit and pirated products threaten our economic security by hurting legitimate businesses who invest significant resources into manufacturing safe, quality products. Even worse, these products often pose serious health and safety hazards to the people who buy and use them.

Counterfeit batteries are not a new area of concern for CBP. In fiscal year 2014, CBP seized counterfeit batteries with a total retail selling price of nearly $12 million dollars. One seizure comprised 18 commercial shipments of counterfeit rechargeable toys, for allegedly infringing on the Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) registered and recorded U.S. trademark.

If you are aware of or suspect a company or individual of infringing your trademark or copyright, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System . Trade violations can also be reported by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. Consumers may also reference the UL website (www.ul.com) for additional information.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017