Jaxon Lane saved money for months to buy a hoverboard.
Once the 10-year-old Texas boy saved $200, his parents helped him order a hoverboard online from Electric Empire USA – a South Florida-based company “committed to providing a quality product and the highest level of customer support.” They placed the order and, in days, Jaxon was riding around on his brand new hoverboard. He was really getting the hang of it, but days later, he says his board started to malfunction.
“It just started to spin rapidly, ‘cause I would be riding along and it would just shake and throw me off and it really hurt,” he said. “I got a couple bruises from it.”
According to its website, the company’s hoverboards come with a Samsung-certified battery and offers a 90-day return period for any factory defects not caused by the end user. So his parents shipped it back and were told a replacement would be sent within 24 hours. But nearly 3 months later, Jaxon was still waiting.
“I see FedEx trucks going by and look at my front door and there’s nothing,” he said.
The Lanes asked for a refund to no avail. It turns out, both the Florida Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida have received hundreds of complaints combined about Electric Empire USA and Hoverboarder.com - two local companies selling hoverboards online. The BBB says it got over 600 complaints in just weeks.
“Some of the people have received the items and they have not turned on, not charged, so they’re completely damaged,” said Cinthya Lavin, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of SE Florida. “Most of the complaints are about people who have purchased these hoverboards, paid with their credit cards and not received any items.”
As for Jaxon and his family, Electric Empire USA refunded their money and, in a statement, said they “are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused. As a growing small business, we have been struggling with ‘growing pains’ and are working to fix the issues with customer service”.
But now, when you to go the websites of Electric Empire USA and Hoverboarder.com, you’ll find a page that says, "As requested by the Federal Government, (the company) can no longer ship out the hoverboards we have in stock. Due to the suddent and unexpected request, (the company) can not fulfill customer's orders. At the time of the request we had already purchased all hoverboards needed to fulfill customer's orders, these hoverboards can no longer be used. Due to these circumstances we are forced to go out of business."
It goes on to note that it is receiving a lot of requests for refunds. "The reason we are unable to personally issue refunds is because all of our money was used to purchase inventory to fulfill our customers orders. After receiving notice from the CPSC that we cannot ship our boards, we are left without any capital to personally issue refunds. We are now out of business."
Jaxon is happy he got results before the business shut down.
“I’m very grateful that Electric Empire USA is refunding my money back to me,” he said. “I wanted to say thank you to NBC for their report and for helping me get my money back.”
If you’ve purchased a hoverboard from one of these two companies, the websites direct you to contact your credit card company to dispute the charge and request a refund or chargeback.
If you’re thinking of buying a hoverboard as a gift this holiday season, make sure the board is UL Certified. It should have a label saying so on its box. You should also always be clear on a company’s refund policy before making a purchase.