This Minnesota family's hoverboard started on fire – now they're suing

A Minnesota family blames the company that sold them a hoverboard for the house fire that killed their four dogs.
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That hoverboard you sold us burned our house and killed our dogs.

That's the crux of the lawsuit a central Minnesota family filed this week against a New York company.

Kris and Joel Paffrath of Spicer lost four dogs in the July house fire that investigators say was caused by a hoverboard.

The Paffraths say the board was plugged in and charging when it caught fire in their kitchen. Their lawsuit against Trifecta Deals says the company's website made no mention of the fire hazard associated with hoverboards.

The lawsuit claims Trifecta Deals was negligent for selling the Paffraths a board with a defective design and says the company broke consumer fraud laws by misrepresenting the safety of the board.

A court document says Trifecta denies the allegation. They have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. The company has not answered an email from GoMN.

What's the problem with hoverboards?

Half a million hoverboards were recalled in July when the Consumer Product Safety Commission called them unsafe. Their lithium-ion battery packs can overheat, which sometimes causes them to catch fire or explode, the commission says.

The commission said then that it had investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires. Some retailers – including Target and Amazon – stopped selling them. Most airlines stopped letting people bring them on flights.

Some of the problem may have been deception by overseas manufacturers, though.

A lot of hoverboards seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection included counterfeit batteries, which are made to look like they come from a licensed supplier, but are often knock-offs from China that don't pass any safety standard.

Hoverboard makers are also working on making them safer. CNET wrote this month that the boards are "starting to look safe compared to phones."

Trifecta Deals now has a video on their Facebook page called "Hoverboard Troubleshooting 101." It includes instructions to limit the time that batteries are charged to no more than an hour and a half.

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