After a 23-hour flight from the US, I stepped straight off a plane and into CHOICE’s Shonky Awards ceremony today - and instantly my jetlag evaporated.
Nothing could have revived me more than being reminded of our vision in action – to make Australians the most active and savvy consumers in the world. And nothing does this as effectively as the Shonkys, the least coveted awards in the country.
For those who don’t know, we award Shonkys for the meanest, silliest rip-offs and scams of the past year, and this is one awards ceremony where the ‘winners’ are nowhere to be seen on the red carpet!
Eight companies and products received gongs today and the ensuing media coverage ensured that, as befits our people’s watchdog status, we were able to ‘warn’ consumers off going anywhere near the winners.
And what winners they were! From a recreational rope that stretched and snapped with minimum force, to a website that gives you not only the meaning behind babies’ names but also a $144 a year bill for looking at it - a fact hidden in the terms and conditions.
Read about the Shonkys in full.
In this, our 50th anniversary year, the Shonkys have reminded me all over again why CHOICE is as relevant today as when we launched in 1960. Yes, product safety has much improved; yes, there are tighter laws to protect consumers; yes, consumers’ opinions are taken into account much more than when we started. But, despite our best efforts, there are still companies out there trying to pull the wool over our eyes, and as your watchdog, it is up to us to guard your interests and put them in the doghouse.