Every year we look forward to one awards ceremony more than any other – the Shonkys! Yes, it’s that time of year when consumer organisation CHOICE names and shames the shonkiest of all shonky products and services, and the unscrupulous companies who unleashed them on an unsuspecting public.
After receiving a record number of nominations, CHOICE whittled the list of contenders down to seven.
A senate inquiry found that some of Commbank’s financial planners orchestrated a “calculated deceit” and deliberately in some cases fraudulently put clients into risky and inappropriate investments to meet bonus goals. According to CHOICE the bank then offered up a slick PR campaign apologising for the failure, but at the same time lobbied to water down financial advice protections that could protect consumers in the future.
Arnott’s Tim Tam
CHOICE discovered the newest peanut butter flavoured biscuit contains no peanut butter, had two fewer biscuits and weighed 35g less than the original and yet, cost the same as a regular packet of Tim Tams. Furthermore, most consumers wouldn’t have noticed the difference at the supermarket as the package size was still the same as the original biscuits.
The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite model received a Shonky Award for trying to convince consumers that the e-reader only needed one charge for 8 weeks of battery life. Buried in the fine print was the fact that this claim was based on thirty minutes of use per day, meaning the actual battery life is 28 hours and not the 1344 hours promised.
S-26 Gold Toddler and Junior
S-26 milk drinks are marketed to parents concerned about ensuring their children receive adequate nutrition. Despite the fact that these type of milk drinks aren’t actually required for healthy children over the age of one, the company’s advertising campaign ‘guilted’ many a conscientious parent into buying the product.
Kmart’s swimwear has given sun-loving Aussies the first swimwear you can’t actually swim in as it may become transparent when wet. The label also cautions the wearer against coming in contact with rough surfaces, heated pools or harsh chemicals like… chlorine?
On the surface, the Bankwest Kids’ Bonus Saver account’s 5.75% interest rate is a great way of teaching children the benefits of saving money. However, read the fine print and you’ll discover that this amazing rate only lasts for 1 year, after which the rate plummets to a very unimpressive 1% but only if you don’t make any withdrawals. Make a withdrawal and the interest rate drops to just 0.01% for the month. Ouch!
Vorwerk, makers of the cult all-in-one mixer the Thermomix received a Shonky Award for not alerting their customers ahead of time to the fact that a new model was being released. Customers continued to buy the TM31 model right up until the launch of the TM5 which would wipe off hundreds of dollars from the resale value of the TM31 literally overnight. To add insult to injury, the TM31 model was the subject of a recall by the ACCC.
Now in it’s 9th year, the Shonky Awards is looking for the public’s help to decide this year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award for the shonkiest of the 7 shonky award winners for 2014.
Cast your vote at the Hall of Shame website: http://www.choice.com.au/shonkyaward/peoples-choice-vote.aspx