Amazon Ignored Hoverboard Fires

A Nashville family is suing Inc after they say a hoverboard caught on fire and destroyed their $1 million home – and Amazon knew about the fire hazard.

Stacey Barchenger at Knox News first reported on the story.

Steve Anderson, from the law firm Anderson & Reynolds, said that the Fox family “…contends that Amazon and its various subsidiaries had information about the danger of this product well in advance [of the fire], and on top of that, they had notice, they should have known the product was being misrepresented on their website.”

The Fox family is a family of six. The father, Brian Fox, had to rescue two of his children from the burning home, according to fire officials quoted in the lawsuit.

Almost every single possession of the family was destroyed in a matter of minutes due to the blaze.

The family is alleging that they were sold a counterfeit hoverboard from China, not the hoverboards with Samsung lithium-ion batteries they were under the impression they were purchasing from Amazon.

Hoverboards are similar to skateboards, but are powered by a battery pack. The listing claimed the hoverboards had Samsung batteries, but were actually powered by counterfeit batteries from China.

In Tennessee, product liability laws state that the seller is responsible for damages if the manufacturer of the product cannot be found. The hoverboard in question was listed online to an organization that is registered to a New York City apartment. No one at the residence has responded to lawyers’ requests.

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon knew the hoverboards were exploding. Amazon quietly stopped the sale of the hoverboards after an investigation showed proof of the potential for the boards to catch on fire.

The online shopping behemoth did not warn 250,000 buyers of the products that the hoverboards posed a fire hazard – instead, the shopping retailer sent out a mass email that vaguely reported that there were “news reports of safety issues” with products containing a similar lithium-ion battery.

The lawsuit from the Fox family is seeking $30 million in damages, as well as additional penalties against Amazon. The family is looking to recoup the loss of their home, personal possessions, and to be compensated for the emotional distress and physical injuries they have sustained.

photo courtesy of Nashville Fire Dept.