Countdown to the 2016 Shonky awards

Who will take home the prize?

Image of CHOICE staff
By CHOICE staff

And the lemon goes to...

Time to dust off the lemon yellow carpet, because it's that time of year again... that's right, CHOICE is getting ready the 11th annual Shonky Awards!

This year we're excited to announce that, for the first time in Shonky history, the awards ceremony will be available to watch live online. You can watch it all unfold from 11am AEST on Wednesday 5 October. Just visit – and if you can't tune in to watch live, you can always catch up on all the action later on.

The 2016 Shonky Awards will be hosted by CHOICE's own Kate Browne – also seen on The Checkout –- and Marc Fennell, who hosts The Feed on SBS2 and Download That Show on ABC Radio National.

What makes a Shonky?

shonky: (adjective) Australian slang meaning "unreliable, unsound, dishonest, poor or of dubious quality; shoddy" 

We've scoured the marketplace to find the shonkiest practices out there – from banking and finance con jobs, to products with unfounded health claims, to everyday consumer goods that simply don't work as they should.

In order to qualify for this prestigious award, a product must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Flaws, faults or failed a standard
  • Lack of transparency
  • False claims or broken promises
  • Consumer detriment or confusion
  • Poor value for money
  • Has the propensity to outrage or amuse

The Shonky Awards name and shame the worst goods and services sold in Australia. Our goal is to expose the ways businesses lie to, trick and rip off consumers, and how they weasel around the standards in place to protect Australian consumers.

Shonky Awards get results

Last year we gonged eight lucky winners: Samsung, NAB, Arnott's, Nanosmart laundry balls, Ikea, Coca Cola, Kleenex and the entire payday loans industry. Some of these companies thought long and hard about their awards, and changed their business practices for the better.

Ikea: last year we called out the Swedish furniture giant for listing sofas upholstered with polyester and polyurethane under the "leather sofa" category on their website. Within days of receiving their Shonky, Ikea changed their webstore, and now consumers are able to more easily find out whether they're looking at the genuine leather article, or a cheap substitute.

Arnott's: we gave Arnott's a Shonky for trying to make out that popular Tiny Teddy kids' snacks were healthier than they really are. Arnott's slapped a logo on its hundreds and thousands and choc chip covered Tiny Teddys claiming they met the "amber" guidelines developed by the National Healthy School Canteens Project. A bit of a fib, since choc chips and hundreds and thousands are actually "red" confectionery products – not recommended for canteens. A couple of weeks later we heard that Arnott's was updating their packaging, and would move toward putting Health Star Ratings on their packs instead.

Kleenex: after denying there was anything wrong with their "flushable" wipes, in June Kleenex announced a new and improved wipe – not that there was anything wrong with the old ones, of course. We tested the new product, and found that it still isn't completely safe to flush them down the loo. We're not calling it a win just yet, but baby steps, Kleenex, you'll get there eventually.

Check out all the winners from the past decade of Shonky history in the Hall of Shame. We look forward to you joining us on 5 October as we reveal the winners of the 2016 Shonky Awards.