It seems fitting that my final editorial for CHOICE is for a Shonkys edition, given the way that these awards have shaped my time at CHOICE.
Fairness in the financial system has been a theme since my very first Shonky Awards, when we gave Cabcharge a gong for its outrageous 10% credit card surcharge. That was the start of a campaign that ultimately saw excessive charges outlawed in 2017.
With the Commonwealth Bank's Shonky 'win' in 2014, we shone a light on the financial advice scandals that saw many people lose their retirement savings.
While the CBA wasn't the only institution to have overseen a scandal, we were particularly irked by its slowness to recognise problems and compensate consumers, and by its lobbying to water down consumer protections.
Little did we know at the time that these scandals were the beginning of a string of issues that would ultimately lead to the banking royal commission.
Our work on this issue led to the government initiating one of the largest mandatory recalls in Australian history
Dangerous products have been another key theme, with our 2017 award to major car manufacturers for failing to do enough to get Takata airbags out of cars.
Despite evidence that these airbags could explode and cause serious injury, Toyota, Honda, BMW and Mazda had been slow to warn drivers about the dangers. They'd also been replacing faulty airbags with new models that risked the same problems without informing owners.
Our work on this issue led to the government initiating one of the largest mandatory recalls in Australian history, forcing manufacturers to deal with the problem.
And then last year we gave an award to Qantas for being the 'spirit of disappointment' with its deteriorating service and complicated rules for travel credits.
Qantas responded defensively at the time, but after another 12 months that saw the early departure of a CEO, a commitment to board turnover, and a back down on travel credits, it looks like we were on the money. As a result, there's now a serious debate about improving travellers' rights when flights are delayed or cancelled.
It's so important to have an organisation like CHOICE that has the courage to stand up to large businesses when they've done the wrong thing by their customers
We have, of course, had fun along the way highlighting some products that were downright silly, but it's the big issues that stick in my mind. They reinforce why it's so important to have an organisation like CHOICE that has the courage to stand up to large businesses when they've done the wrong thing by their customers.
Seeing the delight with which our members react to the Shonky Awards and your fierce support for our work has been one of the greatest pleasures of my role at CHOICE. While I'll no longer be involved in this work, you can feel confident that I'll be cheering it on from the sidelines.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.