Major toy and game retailer Toys "R" Us has decided to pull hoverboards from its website effectively immediately.
The new policy information, obtained by Mashable on Saturday, specifically concerns the Razor Hovertrax hoverboard.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to stop selling Hovertrax on our website, and are working closely with Razor, the manufacturer, to test the item against the latest safety standards," a Toys "R" Us spokesperson told Mashable.
"If, following the investigation, we decide it’s appropriate to resume selling the item, we will once again make it available on our website. For further product inquiries at this time, please contact Razor."
Indeed, a check on the Toys "R" Us website now shows a blank page that reads "no products found" where the Razor Hovertrax hoverboard once appeared. No information was given regarding the presence of the hoverboard in the retailer's brick and mortar stores, however, cached versions of the retailer's Hovertrax pages indicate that the item was only offered for sale online.
Reactions to the U.S. government's notice on Friday that all hoverboards on the market are considered unsafe by the agency have been slow in some cases, as the notice continues to filter out to manufacturers and retailers. But the quick action by Toys "R" Us may serve as a red flag for other retailers who haven't taken the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) notice seriously.
To some extent, experts say, once one retailer takes steps to cease sales or issue warnings to consumers, each of the others will feel more compelled to follow suit.
Image: Razor Hovertrax
"If everyone else is pulling [the products] off the shelf and you don’t, it could be hurtful," says Michelle Greenwald, a former SVP at Mattel and The Walt Disney Company and professor at the Columbia Business School. "If you’re Amazon or you're Walmart, you don’t want to be singled out for not caring about consumer safety."
The silver lining for retailers, she adds, is that "there will be latent demand" if and when more hoverboards do come back to market, certified as safe.
Despite the quick action on the part of Toys "R" Us, as of this writing, the retailer has yet to post a notice on its website or Twitter page regarding the decision to pull the hoverboard. Similarly, a check on the Razor Hovertrax website and social media feeds shows no update for consumers with regard to the CPSC's notice.