Even before the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made its determination about the safety of hover boards, Amazon acted on feedback from customers to proactively stop sales, notify customers about safety concerns, and offer refunds. The CPSC commended Amazon for our leadership in taking these immediate, voluntary actions and urged other companies to the do same. Given Amazon’s demonstrated leadership in the best interest of customers, the Journal’s attempts to distort the facts is particularly disappointing.
Here are the facts
In 2015, hover boards were sold widely—from local mall kiosk, online websites, and established big box stores. Because it was a new product type, and became popular very rapidly, there were no regulations for hover boards and no agency had deemed them unsafe.
“I am pleased that at least one leading retailer is erring on the side of caution and taking action now. For consumers who purchased a hoverboard from Amazon, they can return the product right now for a full refund. I want to commend Amazon for voluntarily stepping up, providing a free remedy and putting customer safety first."
- CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye
In December 2015, across thousands of hover board products and brands, Amazon identified 17 independent, unverified customer complaints. These complaints were not specific to any one brand, manufacturer, or seller and were insufficient to determine any safety trend or concern about hover boards generally. Even the CPSC, which had access to far more information and data than Amazon, was not able to identify a safety trend and had not declared hover boards unsafe.
Notwithstanding our limited information, with our customers’ best interest in mind, Amazon was the first company to proactively stop sales of hover boards, notify customers of the concerns, and direct them to detailed safety advice. We also proactively offered refunds to all customers who had purchased a hover board on Amazon.com, despite the fact that hover boards were sold by independent third party sellers, not by Amazon. The CPSC commended us for taking these immediate, voluntary actions and urged other companies to do the same. Many did not, and it is telling that the Wall Street Journal has omitted that fact from its story.
Amazon went on to work with the CPSC and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leader in global safety certification, to develop a safety standard for this new product type, which has since been implemented across the industry. Third party sellers are required to meet these standards to offer hover boards in our store.
Customer safety is a top priority and we continue to invest in our teams and technologies so we can improve our early detection systems and protect customers.