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As usual, this year there were plenty of contenders lining up for the awards you’d think nobody would want. So who gets the lemon gong in 2012?
CHOICE's annual Shonky awards recognises and reprimands misleading claims, false advertising, lack of transparency, faulty goods and/or poor service.
You can help decide which of the eight CHOICE Shonky Award winners is the Shonkiest. Vote now!
Video: The 2012 Shonky Awards
We hand out our Shonky Awards for 2012 in Sydney, after casting our eagle eye across the consumer landscape to find the shonkiest products and services.
Having tested 170 washing machines over the last six years, the 7kg Samsung SW70SP top-loading machine takes top prize for water consumption - the Shonky prize, that is, and that’s nothing to cheer about.
Using 224L of water on its auto-sensing mode to wash a 3.5kg load of clothes earned the machine a score of 0% for water efficiency.
Unfortunately this enthusiastic water use didn’t translate to a great wash performance – though to be fair its rinse performance was top notch. Read more or Back to top.
Liquipel is a nanotechnology coating for phones and other mobile devices that claims it “can now make your phone water safe, supporting a long and receptive life”. It does this by applying “an invisible coating to the inside and outside of your electronic device, giving you optimal protection against damage from accidental contact with water”.
We had some iGadgets Liquipelled and put them to the test. After sending four iPhones to a watery grave, it was apparent that the Liquipel claims, unlike the Liquipelled gadgets, don’t hold water, making the $99 service a false reassurance and a complete waste of money. The only iPhone to survive was a ‘control’ phone that wasn’t Liquipelled! Read more or Back to top.
When CHOICE investigated bathroom mould killers this year, we were astonished to learn that they don’t actually kill mould. These alleged mould killers can’t penetrate porous surfaces, like grout, which is where mould tends to party. While it may look nice and white post-spray, courtesy of the bleach removing the colour, the root structure remains entrenched in the grout, ready to sprout again and party another day.
It gets worse: the bleach can actually erode and corrode grout and tiles, making them more porous – and more receptive to future mould festivities. Read more or Back to top.
We pay a lot to see big international acts in Australia, but it’s the issue of the additional ticketing charges, courtesy of the ticket selling duopoly Ticketek and Ticketmaster, that’s so irksome. By the time you add the various credit card surcharges, handling fees and service/delivery fees, it’s extortion.
And what about the rort where you still have to pay the service/delivery fee if you print them out yourself? On your own printer. With your own ink and paper. Read more or Back to top.
You book a taxi, take the scenic route down to Shonkytown and hand over your credit card – whereupon you're hit with an additional 10% credit card surcharge. But according to Cabcharge, the company responsible for the payment processing infrastructure in cabs, it's actually not a 'surcharge'. Rather, Cabcharge says, it "applies fees on financial services rather than as a surcharge on the underlying transaction."
From January 1 next year, new surcharging rules come into play courtesy of the Reserve Bank, whereby surcharges have to reflect the true cost of providing the service. Naturally, Cabcharge reckons it won't be affected by the new rules… because it's not a surcharge. Read more or Back to top.
Our shonky radar bleeped into overdrive when we discovered, buried in its terms and conditions, that Jetset and other members of the Jetset Travelworld Group (Travelworld, Harvey World Travel and Best Flights) requires you to waive your chargeback rights in its booking terms and conditions.
Chargeback is a service that allows you to apply to your credit card company to get your money back if goods or services you’ve paid for with your credit card aren’t provided. CHOICE believes chargeback rights are vital when it comes to travel, particularly international travel where insolvency isn’t usually covered by travel insurance. Read more or Back to top.
Shonky loves homeopathy. The idea of selling water for upwards of $1000 per litre and claiming it’s medicine represents the very essence of shonkiness. But convincing anxious or desperate parents they can use it to treat their children’s ailments takes it to a whole new level.
Introducing the Nature’s Way Kids Smart Natural Medicine range of homeopathic remedies for various ailments. Being homeopathic, the harm doesn’t come from the stuff itself – it’s effectively water with blackcurrant flavour. The harm comes from it doing nothing for your children in the expensive and mistaken belief you’re doing something. Read more or Back to top.
Picture, if you will, a gathering of 16 people, ready to tuck into their 400g bar of Toblerone, which conveniently contains 16 serves – according to the packet. But as serve number 15 takes the last mountain piece, a problem becomes apparent: 16 serves but only 15 pieces.
And it’s not just the 400g Swiss chocolate-y mountain range that suffers a number of serves versus number of mountains disjunction. The 200g range has 15 pieces and 8 serves and the 50g has 11 pieces and 2 serves. Yep, it's as cuckoo as a clock! Read more or Back to top.
6 Nov 2012
The results are in! The winner of the People’s Choice Shonkiest Shonky is Nature’s Way Kids Smart Natural Medicines, with 44% of the vote.
14 Sep 2012
A new treatment for mobile devices promises to make them "water safe" - but how well does it work?
12 Jan 2015
Find out which washers from major brands rate best for getting dirt out of your clothes and for water and energy efficiency.
6 Aug 2012
Reducing moisture, not expensive mould removal products, is the key to preventing household mould.
28 Mar 2014
We investigate the problems associated with buying tickets through agents, cinemas, and from scalpers.
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