Thursday, 05 October 2017 12:33

No CHOICE but to expose the 8 Shonky Award Winners for 2017


Every year, consumer advocate CHOICE unveils the list of products, services and companies it has deemed as being worthy of a "Shonky Award", and this year's no different!

Samsung, Westpac, Coles and Vita Gummies are among the eight brands named and shamed at the 12th annual CHOICE Shonky Awards in Sydney today.

“Whether it’s for targeting the unborn with a poor value savings account, financially exploiting those in pain or chipping away at kids’ teeth with dodgy vitamin products, this year’s winners deserve their awards,” says CHOICE chief executive Alan Kirkland.

“Unfortunately each year the Awards go from strength to strength as companies continue to serve up poor value, hidden charges and questionable claims. Sadly, it looks like we’ll be back again in 2018.

“For those eight companies that sank to the bottom in this year’s awards, they now have an opportunity to follow the lead of previous recipients such as Ikea and Qantas and clean up their act.”

Award winners at the 2017 Shonkys are:

1. Samsung – For a $2999 waste of time and water.

Samsung’s WD16J9845KG $2999 washer/dryer took 6.5 hours to complete a cycle and used 149 litres of fresh drinking water to remove three litres of water from a 3.5kg test load (the water-efficiency label states it will use a whopping 210 litres to dry a full load). In the time it takes to dry a load of clothes, you could nab a cheap fare from Sydney to the Gold Coast and dry them on the beach every week.

2. Viagogo For ripping you off with dodgy practices.

Ticket resale website Viagogo may see itself as a simple go-between for scalpers, buyers and sellers. However, illegal drip pricing, using tricky tactics to create confusion and failing to respond to consumer complaints elevate this website to VIP status when it comes to rip-offs. For these reasons and more, CHOICE is giving Viagogo a one-way ticket to Shonkyville.

3. Vita Gummies For rotting children’s teeth.

Featured on TV and attracting a celebrity endorsement, Nature’s Way uses colourful cartoon characters to shout the health benefits of sugar-coated Vita Gummies to children. Claiming to be good for teeth, these sugary treats are little more than lollies and could cause tooth decay. Vita Gummies are Shonky candies aimed to tempt kids and trick parents.

4. Westpac For targeting the unborn with a bad deal.

With a poor 2.30% interest rate, customers need to wait 16 years before they can cash in on the $200 bonus on Westpac’s Bump Savings account, which recruits customers before they are even born. If that wasn’t bad enough, by investing in this Westpac account until the “bonus” kicks in and not taking advantage of the best rate in the market, you’ll be left $5000 worse off. Killer clowns, monsters under your bed and now being signed up to a bad deal before birth – Westpac gets a Shonky for this downright creepy, poor-value bank account.

More advice on children's saving accounts at Choice here

5. Coles Complete Cuisine cat food For incomplete cat food.

With a name like Coles Complete Cuisine, you could be forgiven for assuming this product is a "complete" food, something that is specially formulated to meet all of your pet’s nutritional needs. However, the tinned treat is decidedly incomplete when it comes to nutritional value, as stated in small font on the back of can – confusing, right? Feeding your feline friend Coles Complete Cuisine could cause significant problems like expensive vet bills, sickness, or worse. CHOICE thinks this deserves a serve of a clearly labelled Shonky just for Coles.

6. Pain Erazor pen – For being unlikely to erase anything except your hard-earned cash

Ads for the Pain Erazor pen claim it offers drug-free pain relief through “the science of electro-analgesia” by discharging an electrical current onto your skin up to 40 times. For a mere $159, the Pain Erazor is probably good for lighting your stove top but unlikely to be beneficial for pain. The pen has earned itself a Shonky for its painfully dodgy claims.

7. Cuddly Sensitive Hypoallergenic fabric softener For performing worse than water while costing 3000 times more.

Water received a higher score than Cuddly Sensitive Hypoallergenic, which got the lowest score in tests. At $6 per litre, it’s a lot more expensive than tap water’s $0.002 price, and it’s more costly than many of the fabric softeners tested.

8. Honda, Toyota, Lexus, BMW and Mazda (Takata airbags) For repeatedly failing to disclose a safety device that could actually kill you.

The recall of Takata airbags affects 100 million cars and has resulted in more than 180 injuries and at least 18 deaths worldwide. The 2.49 million vehicles affected in Australia span 70 models of cars sold by 14 manufacturers, but five manufacturers have truly distinguished themselves on the Shonky stage by failing to disclose like-for-like replacements in recalled vehicles and the use of deadly ‘alpha’ inflators. This earns ultimate Shonky status for Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Mazda and BMW who all failed to notify consumers about the risks they face.

Naturally, CHOICE states its belief that "consumers deserve better products and services, and the 2017 lemons are ripe for the picking".

You can see the full report on the 2017 Shonky winners here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.





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