U.S. border patrol officials have seized thousands of dollars worth of illegal hoverboards at the Minnesota-Canadian border.
The merchandise – 1,650 Smart Balance Hoverboard scooters and 90 motherboards that had the suggested retail price of $645,252 – were found in a rail container headed to Ranier, Minnesota, according to a news release.
Officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) working at the International Falls Port of Entry discovered the items, which they found violated multiple laws and regulations, including Bluetooth counterfeit trademark violations on both the scooters and motherboards.
“CBP continues to play a key role in Intellectual Property Rights enforcement,” Anthony Jackson, the port director in International Falls, said in the release. “CBP continues to stay focused on combating the illegitimate trade in counterfeit products."
Importing illicit goods and counterfeit merchandise can damage the U.S. economy and threaten the safety of the people who use the products, the CBP says.
Counterfeit hoverboards a growing problem
Earlier this week, officials seized dozens of illicit hoverboards in Miami that had unauthorized batteries, a news release notes. And last month, officials found hundreds of themin Virginia that had counterfeit "Samsung" trademarks and "fake, potentially dangerous batteries," a news release said.
These fake hoverboards pose a major safety concern, CBP officials say, after numerous reports of the hoverboards randomly starting on fire – and the counterfeit batteries may be to blame.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to investigate the root cause of the fires and the agency offers tips on its website in an effort to prevent more injuries, including looking on the toy for a mark of a certified national testing laboratory. It may not rule out counterfeit hoverboards, but it will show if safety is a priority for the company that manufactured the toy.
The potential for the lithium ion batteries to start on fire has prompted most major airlines to ban the toy from airplanes and many online retailers to stop selling the product.