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Fake hoverboard batteries plague Samsung, LG

Fake batteries are becoming a headache for Korean battery-makers Samsung SDI and LG Chem, after recent hoverboard fire and explosion cases in the U.S. reportedly involved counterfeit batteries bearing Samsung and LG logos.

More than 300 counterfeit hoverboards worth around $94,000 were seized in Miami by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week, according to a news report by Sun-Sentinel. 

A person rides a hoverboard on the street. (Yonhap)
A person rides a hoverboard on the street. (Yonhap)

The counterfeit hoverboards, which were shipped from China, contained batteries carrying the LG logo, the report said, citing officials participating in the investigation.

The latest development came after another investigation by U.S. authorities revealed that problematic self-balancing boards used fake Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries.

Neither company produces batteries for hoverboards.

“Fake batteries have long been a sticking point, but it is not easy to track down counterfeiters,” said a public relations representative from LG Chem said.

“The company is currently keeping a close eye on the recent fire-related hoverboard cases,” he said.

A Samsung SDI official also said that there was no single silver bullet to address the fake battery issue, adding “consumers will have to take extra care when purchasing hoverboards.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning against fake safety marks used by some hoverboard-makers this week, and U.S. marshals raided the booth of a Chinese firm, which allegedly showcased knockoff hoverboards, during the CES International trade show held earlier this month. The raid was conducted at the request of the original maker of the product.

Global online and off-line retailers including Amazon, Tesco and Argos have stopped sales of the boards in the aftermath of the safety issues, and many airlines have banned passengers from boarding flights with electric scooters.

Some small online retailers in Korea import and sell self-balancing scooters with price tags ranging from $400 to $1,000.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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