Australia’s dodgiest products and the companies that produce them have once again been named and shamed in consumer group CHOICE’s annual Shonky Awards.
Now in its 10th year, the annual Shonky Awards are the kind of prize a company does not want to see their name up in lights for – with awards going to “products and services that are sneaky, slippery, unscrupulous and sometimes unsafe”.
This year’s list features just one of the previous year’s shonky entrants. Here’s the complete list of the Shonkys new shame-faced entrants.
Arnott’s Tiny Teddies
Last year it was for experimenting with the iconic Tim Tams, this year it’s for Tiny Teddies.
Arnott’s drew the ire of the consumer group again this year for emblazoning the snack food product’s packaging with a school canteen logo and a reference to the product meeting the National Healthy School Canteen guidelines.
It was an eventful year for Arnott’s, after the Australian Food and Grocery Council found it had breached the voluntary Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative 102 times in a three-month period last year.
The payday lending industry as a whole earned a spot in this year’s Shonky Awards, impressing CHOICE in the worst of ways for a general insistence on charging exorbitant interest rates and preying on vulnerable people. Among the payday lenders to fall foul of the regulators in the past year was well-known brand, Cash Converters.
Samsung top loader washing machines
Samsung has come under fire this year for the 144,000 top loader machines it recalled after the machines were found to be a fire hazard and in one case caused a house fire even after the product recall notice had been issued.
CHOICE estimates there are still 70,000 of the washing machines yet to be recalled and blames the company’s ongoing poor communication with consumers for its Shonky Award nomination.
Ikea leather couches
CHOICE says Ikea’s “leather furniture” sections are potentially misleading, after the group found a few that were not made from leather at all but from polyester and polyurethane instead.
Nanosmart laundry balls
CHOICE found the balls do nothing to wash clothes and at $50 each, the group is warning consumers against using the product.
Kleenex Flushable Wipes
CHOICE found Kleenex’s Flushable Wipes may be flushable but claims that the product disintegrates like toilet paper are false.
The consumer group did its homework for this, visiting a local water treatment facility and saw how these products were not breaking down.
NAB’s “low rate” credit card
“Low rate” cards produced by the big four banks came under close scrutiny this year, but NAB came under particular scrutiny after CHOICE noticed it had not lowered its credit card interest rates in line with a fall in interest rates to historically low levels.
Last but certainly not least, the makers of Coke have come under fire for their ‘Global Energy Balance Network’, because of its ties to “Big Soda”, as CHOICE puts it.
The network apparently is dedicated to the fight against obesity, which CHOICE found to be a bit rich considering the sugar in many of Coca-Cola’s products.