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Counterfeit Hoverboard Battery Could Cost Amazon $30 Million

Paul Ausick

In January of last year, a $1 million home in Nashville was destroyed when a hoverboard purchased from Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) caught fire. The family's father had to rescue two of his children from the blaze.

In October, the family filed a lawsuit against Amazon accusing the online retailer of knowingly selling a dangerous product and seeking $30 million damages. The hoverboard was sold by an Amazon reseller named "W-Deals," and, according to The Counterfeit Report, was equipped with a counterfeit Samsung lithium-ion battery.

According to a report in The Tennessean, the lawsuit W-Deals is a "sham organization registered at an apartment in New York City" and has not responded to requests from the lawyers in the case. Under Tennessee product liability law, a seller is responsible if the manufacturer cannot be located.

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The Counterfeit Report noted that Samsung, the alleged maker of the lithium-ion battery that caused the blaze, did investigate:

Samsung officials inspected the hoverboard battery purchased by the family as well as an intact battery from an identical product sold through Amazon's website. Samsung confirmed that it did not manufacture the lithium battery in the product purchased by the family, and the battery was not manufactured in a manner consistent with Samsung practices and procedures, concluding the battery represented as an "Original Samsung Advanced Battery" on the Amazon listing is counterfeit.

Amazon began pulling some hoverboards from its website in December 2015 after the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission began investigating reports of fires in 10 states related to hoverboard batteries. All major U.S. airlines ban hoverboards from their planes.

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