Consumer watchdog Choice has released the winners of the 2014 Shonky Awards and, as always, the list makes for interesting reading. “Follow-on” milk formulas, see-through swimwear and even beloved Tim Tams were named and shamed this year, along with (don’t hate me) Thermomix.
Without further ado, here are the winners of the 9th Annual Choice Shonkys:
S-26 Gold Toddler and Junior
These two products win a gong for playing on parents’ anxiety about their kids’ diets and marketing an essentially unnecessary product. While formula is a life-saver for mums who struggle to breastfeed, powdered-milk drinks aimed at toddlers and pre-school kids contribute little and cost a lot. Nutrition experts actually recommend avoiding powdered-milk drinks as they can reduce a child’s appetite making them even less likely to try that green thing you put on their plate. Choice was particularly incensed by S-26’s industry marketing slogan “Keep mums buying with our extended range of nutritious milk drinks”.
Arnott’s Tim Tams Peanut Butter flavour
Contain no actual peanuts. Seriously. What’s worse, you get two fewer biscuits for the same price as plain Tim Tams…
It actually says on the label that Kmart swimmers might become see-through when wet and also that excessive contact with sunscreen and water will damage the fabric. In my opinion, this translates into “this product is made from poor-quality materials that cost us bugger-all and may serve no purpose”. Whaddya think?
I know, I know best thing EVER etc. Even Choice says it is an all-round awesome piece of kit BUT the rollout of the new model was handled in a terrible way with new customers taking delivery of their “new” Thermie, only to discover an even newer one was fresh on the market. Read more about that sad story here.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
The Kindle Paperwhite wins its award due to shonky advertising, which misrepresented the battery life of the unit. they didn’t actually lie, but as Choice so eloquently puts it: “Some very fine print indeed clarifies that the Kindle Paperwhite’s boasted eight weeks [battery life] is based on just 30 minutes of reading per day. That’s like a lollypop that lasts a whole year (as long as you have just one lick a day). Or an SUV with a tank of petrol that will last a month (as long as you only drive it round the block each day).”
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
CBA had an absolute shocker with its financial planning services leaving thousands of clients in dire straits due to dodgy deals and misleading information. As if this wasn’t bad enough, CBA had to be ordered by a senate inquiry to compensate customers, and offered potentially inadequate amounts. Then they posted $8billion profit. Read more (and watch a very cheeky video) here.
Last but not least Bankwest gets a Shonky Award for its Kid’s Bonus Saver account that offers a high interest rate (but only for 12 months, after that the rate drops dramatically), penalises kids for making withdraws, and pressures parents to keep up the minimum $25/month payment.
Do you know a Shonky candidate?
How many times have you paid for something and thought, “well, that wasn’t worth it”? Don’t suffer in silence — name and shame, people! Feel free to add your Shonky candidate in the comments below, and also jot it down to nominate the company for the 2015 Shonkys. Remember, as a consumer, you have power. Don’t let the you-know-whats get away with ripping us off!
Which do you think is the Shonkiest? Vote here!