Tim Tams and infant formula among CHOICE’s ‘Shonky Award’ winners
Biscuit manufacturer Arnott’s Peanut Butter Flavour Tim Tams and infant formula s26 Gold Toddler and Junior, which are manufactured by Aspen Nutritionals, have been named among the seven ‘winners’ of consumer group CHOICE’s annual ‘Shonky Awards’.
“The CHOICE Shonky Awards put the spotlight on products and services that are sneaky, slippery, unscrupulous and sometimes unsafe,” said Alan Kirkland, CHOICE Chief Executive. “The risk of receiving an infamous Shonky encourages businesses to sharpen up their act and put consumers first,” he said.
“This year we had a record 1041 Shonky nominations from across Australia, which highlights the level of consumer concern about shonky products and services,” Mr Kirkland said.
The Commonwealth Bank, Arnott’s, Amazon Kindle, Kmart and Thermomix were among the seven companies named and shamed at the Shonky Awards in Sydney on Tuesday 14 October 2014.
This year’s Shonky Award winners were:
Arnott’s Tim Tam (Peanut Butter Flavour)
CHOICE said Arnott’s departure from its traditional chocolate treat this year left many consumers with a “bad taste in their mouths”. CHOICE said the product does not contain peanuts, despite being a ‘peanut butter flavour’ biscuit. CHOICE said the product also “offered poor value by cutting two biscuits and 35g from the pack while maintaining the same price and package size”.
S26 Gold Toddler and Junior
In marketing its S-26 Gold Toddler and Junior powdered milk to retailers in an industry trade magazine, CHOICE said S26 offered this marketing: “Keep mums buying with our extended range of nutritious milk drinks”.
CHOICE said the problem with this was that professionals advise that toddler and junior milks are not “needed for healthy kids over the age of one, and that the focus should be on increasing solids and developing better eating habits”.
The popular food mixer performed well CHOICE’s product tests, but CHOICE said Vorwerk, the Company behind Thermomix shredded the trust of its customers this year, resulting in over 530 nominations from the public. The flawed launch of its new model left loyal ‘Thermo fans’ out of pocket and hot under the collar, according to CHOICE.
CHOICE said the Company’s decision not to notify consumers of the imminent release its first new model in 7 years “in a bid to keep spinning dough was nothing short of Shonky”. CHOICE has referred Thermomix to the ACCC.
CHOICE said some Kmart swimwear became see-through when wet, and came with the ‘confusing’ warning: avoid “excessive contact” with suntan lotions, oils, rough surfaces, heated pools and spas treated with harsh chemicals.
CHOICE said the Commonwealth Bank’s response to one of the Australia’s biggest financial planning failures was “questionable at best”. CHOICE said that after a long delay in acknowledging fault, the banking group “lobbied to remove financial advice protections while offering up a slick PR campaign in an attempt to apologise for losing consumers’ life savings”.
CHOICE said BankWest offered a 12 month teaser rate of 5.75 per cent on its Bankwest Kids’ Bonus Saver account but moved all but $1 into a low interest account paying just one per cent for amounts below $3000. Children who made withdrawals received an interest rate of just 0.01 per cent a month.
One of Amazon’s biggest selling points for its new Kindle’s Paperwhite e-reader is that it can last an impressive eight weeks. But CHOICE said the fine print reveals that the eight weeks of battery power relies on the Kindle Paperwhite being used for 30 minutes a day. That means the Kindle’s battery life is actually 28 hours – typical for many e-readers. CHOICE has referred Amazon Kindle to the ACCC.
While not every Shonky Award winner may be breaking laws or breaching regulations, CHOICE said it believed “that consumers deserve better products and services, and the 2014 lemons are ripe for the picking”.
“We hope the Shonkys encourage consumers to look critically at the goods and services they use, and question poor service, hidden costs and the fine print beneath claims that seem too good to be true,” Mr Kirkland said.