Life Wellbeing CHOICE’s Shonky Awards: and the winners are …
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CHOICE’s Shonky Awards: and the winners are …

Milo made the list for its 4.5 star health claim.
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Consumer advocate CHOICE has announced its annual list of Australia’s most dodgy brands – and the winners include Pringles, Samsung and Cash Converters.

The awards were announced on Wednesday at a presentation featuring a live camel – in reference to what CHOICE labelled a misleading claim about the health benefits of camel’s milk.

Samsung was thrown under the bus for selling a number of dangerous products, including last year’s 144,000 “dodgy” top-loader washing machines and the 51,000 faulty Samsung Note 7 phones in 2016.

Note 7 phones were recalled due to a safety issues that resulted in occasional battery explosions.

“We think it’s time for Samsung to put consumer safety ahead of brand protection,” the consumer advocate said on its site.

The 11th annual awards also took a shot at Kellogg’s for its treatment of the popular chip Pringles this year.

As reported by The New Daily, Pringles packets suddenly shrunk in size this year, making it difficult for consumers to get their hungry hands inside the hallowed tube.

CHOICE called the brand misleading for secretly dropping the retail price, but raising the price per 100 grams.

“They also inexplicably increased the saturated fat content – by 60 per cent,” CHOICE said.

Cleaning product Vanish also earned a place on the infamous list for its carpet-cleaning product, Vanish Preen Powerpowder, with CHOICE claiming the product failed to even outperform water when cleaning carpet.

Amex was targeted for “sneaky surcharges”, while Milo was included for misleading customers with its 4.5 stars out of 5 on its health claim.

“The Shonkys are the awards that we’d prefer not to give out, but yet again we’ve caught out some of the world’s biggest brands with misleading advertising, dangerous products and sneaky tricks to rip off customers,” chief executive Alan Kirkland said.

The full list of Shonky Award winners

Samsung 

galaxy… for selling a product that’s too hot to handle.

CHOICE says:

Talk about being at the cutting edge of convergence. Not only does the Galaxy Note7 work as a phone, it doubles as an extreme pocket warmer with a nasty tendency to catch fire. And 51,060 of these potentially dangerous phones have been offloaded onto the Aussie market alone. 

American Express

amex-copy… for sneaky surcharges.

CHOICE says:

Surcharge free? Try surcharge unseen. Amex wants everyone to underwrite its costly card fees that ultimately deliver generous rewards and bonuses to wealthy cardholders. 

Camel Milk Victoria

… for milking the truth.

CHOICE says:

The only benefit this wonder substance looks like delivering is to the camel farmers’ bottom line. If the dodgy health claims aren’t bad enough, camel milk comes with a whopping $21 a litre price tag. It looks like things might get a little bumpy for these camel milk marketers, with CHOICE referring them to the ACCC and Victorian food enforcement bodies.

Cash Converters

cash converters

… for best wolf in sheep’s clothing.

CHOICE says:

Cash Converters charges a hefty 20 per cent establishment charge and 4 per cent monthly fees for its personal loans, meaning if you borrow $2000 you’ll end up paying back $3360 over the 12-month borrowing period. That’s a 68 per cent interest rate, enough to put you in a big hole full of bad debt.

Green and Clean

… for claims as thin as air.

CHOICE says:

Australia’s answer to air farming is Green and Clean, a Sydney-based company promising to help you “breathe the difference”. They’re spruiking these bottles of air to cashed-up tourists by telling them about the “cleansing benefits of pure clean air”. They don’t outright say that huffing their gas will improve your health, but they’re certainly dropping some big hints.

Kelloggs Pringles

pringles getting smaller

… for chipping away at your wallet.

CHOICE says:

We whooped and cheered, until we actually went and popped a tube of these bargain chips and found, to our shock, that we simply couldn’t get our hands into the packet! Kellogg’s had shrunk the tube!

Medical Weightloss Institute

… for dodgy diet advice.

CHOICE says:

“These people are taking advantage of vulnerable people who want a new answer,” says Professor John Dixon, head of clinical obesity research at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. Our prescription? The Medical Weightloss Institute should ditch the diet advice and try working out with their new Shonky Award – or feeling the burn with a box of lemons.

Nestle Milo

… for sugar-coating health claims.

CHOICE says:

Given Milo is 46 per cent sugar we were more than a little surprised by the high HSR claim, so we decided to take a closer look. Nestlé calculated Milo’s rating on an “as prepared” basis. This means they don’t just take into account the Milo, but also the 200mL of skim milk they say you should drink with it.

Vanish Preen Powerpowder

imagegen… for fast action money removal.

CHOICE says:

We tested the performance of water and were surprised to find that good old H2O outperformed this “revolutionary” carpet cleaner. So when it comes to cleaning up, one thing couldn’t be more certain: at $14.70 for one garishly pink bottle, the most likely thing to vanish with this product is your hard-earned cash.

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