IKEA was among the industry giants to win at this year’s Shonky Awards, with its NEDKYLD fridge blasted for failing its energy tests and spoiling food.
Hosted this morning by consumer advocacy group Choice, the annual Shonky Awards shamed the year’s most under-performing products and their makers.
This year saw IKEA, Kogan and Medibank among those lampooned by Choice.
The IKEA fridge was put on blast “for failing energy tests and being bad at its one job”, in a statement Choice released this morning.
Choice’s whitegoods expert Ash Iredale tells SmartCompany it’s important for anyone in the business of making appliances to invest in research and development.
“When you’re getting your appliance tested for registration, make sure the lab that’s doing the testing is accredited and has a good understanding of the Australian standards,” he says.
According to its lab results, consumers should only expect their food to stay fresh if the fridge is kept in a consistently warm room.
Any fluctuations in ambient temperature — “say, if you’re going from summer to winter or if you’re going from a hot day to a cold night” — is likely to make the food unsafe for consumption in the long run, Iredale says.
“When the ambient temperature dropped, the fridge would actually warm up … by up to 10°C.”
In an earlier statement, Iredale also added the fridge will end up costing buyers much more than the sticker price, citing the cost of replacing spoiled food and the extra energy needed to run it.
Iredale says tests revealed the fridge needed 8.9% more energy than advertised, which translates to a 12% increase to electricity bills.
IKEA Australia recently announced it will soon buy and re-sell pre-owned furniture in an effort to increase sustainability. It also has plans to build all its furniture using recycled materials by 2030.
In a statement to SmartCompany, IKEA said the energy rating was awarded by an independent and accredited test lab in line with Australian regulations, and its products “undergo continual testing and improvements”.
“It’s disappointing that the NEDKYLD fridge has been included in the recent Choice report. The NEDKYLD fridge is a popular model and has received positive feedback from our customers,” it said.
An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) spokesperson tells SmartCompany that it will be looking into complaints from Choice. In the meantime, they encourage businesses to check the ACCC guidelines for advertising and selling.
“Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses should not engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive,” they said in a statement.
“Conduct that is misleading or deceptive can include making false statements or creating a misleading impression through the use of certain phrases or images.”
Meet this year’s Shonky Awards winners
- Kogan for receiving over 300 complaints in New South Wales between January to July.
- Medibank’s basic cover health insurance for being more expensive than the cheapest ‘bronze’ options in several states.
- IKEA’s NEDKYLD fridge for failing both its energy tests and at keeping food fresh.
- AMP superannuation for “eating away” at passive or inactive retirement funds with fees and insurance.
- Freedom Foods’ XO Crunch for advertising its cereal as “fun and nutritious” with four health stars despite being 22.2% sugar.
- Pet insurance in general for having too many exclusions and loopholes — 89 policies were reviewed and none of them met Choice’s standards.
This story was updated on Thursday, 10 October 2019 at 12:40pm AEDT to include a statement from the ACCC.
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