Light shone on Shonky products
From useless to deadly, consumer group Choice has handed out its annual Shonky Awards to the dodgiest products in Australia.
The awards go to the worst-performing products and services, marking their poor value, false advertising, hidden charges, faulty goods and questionable claims.
“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,” Choice CEO Alan Kirkland said.
Topping the list is Samsung’s $3,000 WD16J9845KG washer-dryer, which takes 6.5 hours to complete a cycle, using 149 litres of fresh water to wash a 3.5kg load.
It is not the first time Samsung has made the list, after scoring an award for their inflammable Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last year.
Samsung also won in 2015 for a line of faulty top loaders that caught fire too.
Next in this year’s list come Cuddly Sensitive Hypoallergenic, which Choice discovered performs worse than water, while costing 3,000 times more.
From dodgy to deadly, Choice gonged major car manufacturers Honda, Toyota, Lexus, BMW and Mazda for use of Takata airbags, and their bungled recall.
The airbags have caused more than 180 injuries and at least 18 deaths worldwide, after being installed in hundreds of models of cars sold by dozens of manufacturers.
While the bags are at the centre of the largest recall in automotive history, a lack of awareness among drivers has led to a low rate of replacement.
Choice said some manufacturers had managed to replace the faulty airbags with identical defective Takata airbags.
“This earns ultimate Shonky status for Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Mazda and BMW for repeatedly failing to disclose a safety device that could actually kill you,” a Choice spokesperson said.
Ticket reselling site Viagogo claims to allow consumers to buy and sell tickets, but Choice says it is in fact used to offload fraudulent tickets at inflated prices.
“Viagogo's drip-pricing practice and dodgy 'customer guarantee' is about as reliable as a scalper in a back alley,” Choice said.
The group has received hundreds of reports from angry consumers saying that the company would not respond to their complaints. It is also facing federal court action from the ACCC.
Food company Nature's Way won a Shonky for its Kids Smart Vita Gummies, which were found to contain about 50 per cent sugar.
Nature’s Way hired TV personality Catriona Rowntree to plug the products and this celebrity endorsement, while using a colourful cartoon character on the bottle “aimed to tempt kids and trick parents”, Choice said.
“Claiming to be good for teeth, these sugary treats are little more than lollies and could cause tooth decay,” Choice said.
Westpac was awarded a Shonky for its Bump Savings account, which it offers to expecting parents to invest for the future of their unborn child.
Choice found customers would need to wait 16 years before they could cash in on the $200 opening deposit.
Another winner was the Pain Erazor pen, a $159 device that claims to use the “science of electro-analgesia” to relieve pain.
It does this by discharging an electrical current onto the skin up to 40 times, which the experts found is “unlikely to be beneficial for pain”.
Another major winner was Coles Complete Cuisine cat food, which does not meet a cat's nutritional needs.
This fact is contained in small print on the back of the can.
Coles says it is removing the word “complete” from the packaging, to “reinforce that this product is a complementary food”.
Videos of the winners can be seen below.