Fans without puff, awful airline advocate and toddlers targeted: Shonkys 2021

CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland – Images:

Consumer advocate CHOICE has announced the recipients of the annual CHOICE Shonky Awards, which recognise the worst products and services the consumer advocacy group has come across in the past year.

Shonkys ceremony available for download here:

“These are our 16th annual Shonky Awards and it amazes me that we have to keep giving them out,” says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

“It’s easy to avoid getting a Shonky Award. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver, don’t rip your customers off and don’t sell unsafe products. Sadly, we keep finding businesses that fail these basic tests. This year’s Shonky Awards highlight some of the worst CHOICE has found in the past year,” says Kirkland.

The CHOICE Shonkys 2021 are:

Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles – a shonky sugar bomb

Humm – for unsafe lending

The Breville Foodcycler – a $2,000 compost bin

Knock-off Bladeless Fans – generic fans with no wind power

The Airline Customer Advocate – for leaving us stranded

“The major theme of the 2021 Shonkys is companies making big promises that they can’t deliver – whether that be healthy food, environmental benefits, advocating for you in tough times or keeping you cool on a hot day.

“Healthy toddler food should actually be healthy. An expensive compost bin shouldn’t generate more waste. A credit provider should lend safely. A smart fan should cool you down. And an airline customer advocate should advocate for you,” says Kirkland.

All quotes attributable to CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland:

Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles – a shonky sugar bomb

68% sugar and $150 a kilo

“CHOICE experts were shocked when they discovered that Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles have even more sugar than Allen’s lolly snakes. This product markets itself as a healthy, fun toddler-friendly snack, but the reality is it’s an expensive, sugar-laden dud. Kiddylicious uses marketing tricks to make you feel like you’re doing the right thing by your child but these lollies are 68% sugar, at a cost of $150 a kilo. Kiddylicious Strawberry Fruit Wriggles are a shonky sugar bomb.”

Kiddylicious images and video:

Humm – for unsafe lending

Up to $30k of unsafe debt

“Buy now pay later products have been deliberately designed to avoid safe lending laws. That means they don’t need to check whether you can afford to repay a debt before they lend you money. Humm – which is lending people up to $30,000 without a safe lending check – demonstrates just how dangerous these products are.

“CHOICE has asked Humm four times how they check whether they are lending safely and we could not get a straight answer.

“Buy now pay later providers like Humm like to pretend they are just a modern form of lay-by but nobody ever lay-byed $30,000. This is unregulated credit, pure and simple.”

Humm images and video:

The Breville FoodCycler – a $2,000 compost bin

Saving the environment with another appliance for landfill

“The Breville Foodcycler is not only pointless – it is extremely wasteful. When we tested it out in the CHOICE Kitchen Lab we found it bulky, expensive, complicated and noisy. This product is designed and marketed to make you feel like you’re doing the right thing – putting your food scraps to good use and avoiding landfill. The reality is you’re buying an alternative to a simple compost bin that will cost at least $2000 over the course of its lifetime. Worse, the product needs you to regularly replace parts like filters, so it contributes to landfill. When there are easy options like compost bins or worm farms that deliver the same result, all you can call the Breville Foodcycler is shonky.”

Breville images and video:

Knock-off Bladeless Fans – generic fans with no wind power

The worst fan we’ve ever seen

“These knock-off bladeless fans are some of the worst performing retail products we’ve ever seen. Their marketing promises smart home features and the design copies fashionable trends, but these are fans without smarts, without power and without puff. The CHOICE Labs originally tested the Kogan model and found it to be the worst we’ve ever tested but once we dug a little further, we found a number of these knock-offs littered across Australian retail. Each retailer uses a different name but sells the same Shonky option and variations on this fan were found in Harvey Norman stores, Big W, and across retailers online. Avoid these lazy retailers who whack their logo onto cheap, dud products. CHOICE lab tests show you can get much cheaper, better fans if you do your research.”

Bladeless fans images and video:

The Airline Customer Advocate – for leaving us stranded

An advocate that doesn’t advocate

“The Airline Customer Advocate is no advocate. It can’t investigate your complaint, it can’t make an independent decision and it has no power to make airlines do anything. In 2020 the Airline Customer Advocate announced that it wasn’t taking complaints about the most common problems faced by air travellers – such as being offered a credit instead of a refund. It’s basically a complaint forwarding service masquerading as an independent complaints handling body. Australians deserve a real airline ombudsman with the power to investigate complaints. That’s why the Airline Customer Advocate deserves this Shonky Award.”

Airline Customer Advocate images and video:

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