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Major fridge fail, junk finance and "bag of sugar" cereal: SHONKYS 2019

IKEA, Kogan, AMP and the entire pet insurance industry named in 2019 CHOICE SHONKYS.

Consumer advocate CHOICE has announced its 14th Annual SHONKYS, singling out shonky fridges, food and finance products for its yearly dishonour.

"CHOICE's job is to stand up against companies doing the wrong thing. The SHONKYS draw upon our unique testing, reviews and advocacy to help you identify the worst-of-the-worst. In a time of fake reviews, cash for comment, salespeople and lobbyists everywhere, it's more important than ever for independent voices to tell the truth," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

"This year highlights businesses and industries who have ripped off, misled and treated Australians like cash cows to be exploited. Following the Banking Royal Commission, it's no surprise that financial services businesses are such a feature of this years' SHONKYS," says Kirkland

The SHONKYS 2019 are:

  • Kogan - for dodgy customer care
  • Medibank 'Basic' Cover Health Insurance - for failing at the "basics"
  • IKEA Nedkyld Fridge - for failing energy tests and being bad at its one job
  • AMP Superannuation - for ruined retirements
  • Freedom Foods XO Crunch - for telling us a bag of sugar is healthy
  • Pet insurance - for bad insurance riddled with exclusions

Infographic available: https://infogram.com/1p1rm56l9w21pxtmll2vrjd6pmu6g17nddm?live

Other media releases, photos, video and graphics available for media use here: https://shwca.se/SHONKYS2019

All quotes attributable to CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland

Kogan - for dodgy customer care

Over 300 complaints to NSW Fair Trading (Jan-July 2019)

"Kogan is a serial offender when it comes to consumer rights - from January to July this year it has topped the New South Wales complaint register with over 300 complaints. Kogan needs to improve its customer service and stop beating around the bush when its products are defective. Kogan must simplify the process for refunds, repairs and replacements to meet community expectations and the law."

Kogan refunds and returns policy shows room for improvement - CHOICE.com.au

Medibank 'Basic' Cover Health Insurance - for failing at the 'basics'

Basic more expensive than cheapest Bronze in NSW, ACT, NT, SA, WA and Tasmania

"2019 is the first year that private health insurance has topped the list of financial worries in CHOICE's regular national surveys and it's easy to see why. A new system that was meant to make things simpler has turned into a mess thanks to rip-offs like those from Medibank. Medibank's 'Basic' junk cover costs more than many higher cover Bronze policies. Medibank deserves a SHONKY for failing at the basics - simple and affordable health insurance. We also encourage Australians to escape the industry marketing and go to DoINeedHealthInsurance.com.au to see if they even need these junk policies at all"

Do I Need Health Insurance?

The worst Basic health insurance policies - CHOICE.com.au

Infographic available: https://infogram.com/1plx333vjgdrlzuqk6w00rj21ec3ddn1kx

IKEA Nedkyld Fridge - for failing energy tests and being bad at its one job

CHOICE score: 39% (Last place - Top scorer 83%)

Food freshness score: 35% (Top scorer 80%)

Energy test: FAILED

"The IKEA Nedkyld is one of the worst fridges we've ever tested. Not only is it terrible at keeping your food cold, when CHOICE tested the Nedkyld's energy use against its star rating, it failed the test. It's hard to understand how this fridge is still on sale in Ikea stores, especially with a misleading energy label."

How we test fridges - CHOICE.com.au - Fridge Buying Guide - CHOICE.com.au

AMP Superannuation - for ruined retirements

Over 1 million zombie super accounts eating away retirements

"AMP received some of the strongest criticism from the Banking Royal Commission - and it was deserved. If your superannuation is with AMP, chances are you've had your retirement leeched off of to fund its executives' lifestyles. CHOICE has partnered with the new consumer group - Super Consumers Australia and found that AMP holds the largest number of zombie accounts of any other super fund - accounts that sit there being wasted away by fees and insurance. For AMP, it's money for doing nothing. Managing people's retirement funds isn't your average business - there's a higher moral standard to meet when it comes to people's security and comfort in older age, and AMP have failed this standard."

Why an underperforming super fund could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars - CHOICE.com.au

Freedom Foods XO Crunch - for telling us a bag of sugar is healthy

Claims that a 22.2% sugar cereal is "A fun and nutritious way to start your kid's day."

"Every year it seems there's a new shonk in the food industry trying to pass off junk as healthy. This year, Freedom Foods XO Crunch cereal earns a well deserved SHONKY for health washing and marketing a big bag of sugar towards our kids. Freedom Foods proudly displays 4 health stars on this bag of sugar. CHOICE says it should be one and a half if health star ratings accurately reflected the amount of added sugar in a product - something that industry groups have lobbied to prevent. This SHONKY shows why the food industry needs to be kicked out of room when it comes to Health Star Ratings. The food industry has gamed the Health Star system to make a big bag of sugar look like a healthy choice for your kids - and that's a disgrace."

CHOICE has made a complaint to the ACCC regarding misleading advertising of this and other products with similar health claims.

Support fairer food labelling - CHOICE.com.au

Pet insurance - for bad insurance riddled with exclusions

86 policies reviewed - 0 recommended by CHOICE

"Pet insurance is the insurance a business sells when it wants to make money without providing any service at all. Riddled with exclusions and technicalities, pet insurance is one of this country's worst value insurance products. It relies on emotionally manipulating your love of your pet to sell you worthless insurance."

"This year CHOICE found this industry so bad we refused to recommend any policy. There was not a single policy that we could in good conscience suggest that pet owners consider buying. This also highlights why insurance companies shouldn't be exempt from laws against unfair contract terms - it's vital this special loophole for insurers is closed"

Six Things You Need to Know About Pet Insurance - CHOICE.com.au

Media contact: 0430 172 669, media@choice.com.au