And the winner is...
We recently asked Australians to keep their eyes open for product failures both epic and ordinary as part of our World Without Choice contest, and neither were hard to come by.
Now we have a winner, Jodie McNally of Queensland, who submitted a shot of her charred Samsung washing machine in the aftermath of a fire incident (see below).
Because we're sticklers for verification, we asked that she follow that up with a slew of original documentation to prove that the event occurred as described. As expected, everything checked out. Thanks Jodie! And congratulations: Jodie wins a covetable $3000 worth of products, all rigorously tested right here in the CHOICE labs.
Check out Jodie's Samsung washing machine fail along with all the other entries below.
"My Laurastar iron caught on fire while I was in the shower. It was a terrifying experience. I never leave an appliance on while in the shower anymore. It's haunted me for life."
"At 3am my Samsung fridge caused a fire that destroyed our home. Fire investigators believe it was a faulty thermostat."
It looks like products not "fit for purpose" are part of our everyday lives, but apparently you already knew that.
For this particular round-up of rejects, the Australian consumer marketplace certainly rose to the occasion. Harnessing the collective power of consumers to shine a light on shoddiness has been a noble undertaking as far as we're concerned, and the timing is good.
Product recalls are on the rise and – none too soon – a review of the product safety system is planned this year as part of the federal government's review of Australian Consumer Law.
Let's hope the product makers of the world take a good, hard look at themselves.
"I'll get off your garden and pee on your porch."
"Fitbit wrist band broke. It's not replaceable and is rendering a $350 watch useless for a replacement part that would probably cost $5."
On this page are the 20 most-voted-for entries in the competition.
Thanks to your efforts, our gallery of failure runs the gamut from a dangerously self-destructing clothes iron (our top scorer with 3138 votes), to a Samsung fridge that burned a house down and a pet product that proved laughably unfit for purpose.
A broken Fitbit wristband that rendered the unit useless also elicited an outcry of affirmation.
Then there's the George Foreman slow cooker lid that "simply imploded one day with a resounding bang", according to its owner and the sausage with some kind of plastic, distinctly unfoodlike item tucked inside.
"My George Foreman slow cooker lid simply imploded one day with a resounding bang! It left me begging the question after a 12hr shift whether it was salvageable. No. #glasscurry #worldwithoutchoice"
"This plastic was not listed in the ingredients for these sausages!"
We thank all participants for helping us keep product-makers honest, and we look forward to working with you again. See the rest of the most-voted-for entries below.
"#worldwithoutchoice #fail #actuallyepicfail #etphonehome"
"The remains of my washing machine and all of my clothes. Thanks Samsung! #worldwithoutchoice"
"The outer glass on my oven door has partially fallen off."
"Childproof safety locks stood no chance against my 18 month old."
"Koda must have read "Stop; Chew!" instead of "Stop Chew."
"A little known feature of the Apple iPod Nano is that it doubles as an incendiary device when charging!"
"Not so steamy. It runs out of steam before it gets started. #worldwithoutchoice"
"Dear Schweppes, I don't think 'green apple' means what you think it means. NO apple in your apple soda. Really?"
"Poltergeist iron! While ironing it started creaking and cracking, it kept getting hotter even after unplugging it, then suddenly started to peel open until I hosed it, resulting in a 2m plume of steam."
"Was looking for some peas, not pineapple... not sure what to believe..."
"My washing machine does a great job ... of washing the floor! It leaks each cycle and is now completely rusting away. Fail! #worldwithoutchoice"
"'Don't hold back', they said."