Shonky ‘worst products’ awards

From flushable toilet wipes that don’t disintegrate to payday lenders who are gouging customers, the 2015 Choice Shonky Awards  exposed some of the most duplicitous Australian businesses.  

Held every year by the consumer advocacy group, the Shonky Awards ceremony names and shames businesses whose products fail to live up to their marketing. Over 400 dud items were up for inspection this year, with major brands, including Arnott’s, Kleenex, Coca-Cola and Samsung, receiving awards.

“We hope the Shonkys encourage consumers to look critically at the goods and services they use, question poor service, hidden costs and the fine print beneath claims that seem too good to be true,” said Alan Kirkland, chief executive of Choice.

Here are the Shonky Award winners for 2015:


Failed to recall all of its faulty washing machines after 224 incidents occurred, including 76 fires. There are still around 58,000 machines around Australia yet to be recalled, refunded or replaced.


Mislead consumers into believing “flushable wipes” break down like toilet paper, when in fact they do not disintegrate for years and are responsible for clogging up sewers, equating to $15 million of sewer damage annually.


Funnelled money to Global Energy Balance Network – a not for profit that works on promoting a healthy lifestyle, which went on later to claim that it is a lack of exercise, and not diet that causes weight gain and obesity.


Promoted couches on its Australian website as being made of leather when they were actually made of polyester and polyurethane.


Failed to pass on official interest rate cuts to credit card customers and increased rates on its low-rate credit cards from 12.99 per cent to 13.99 per cent.

Payday lending industry

Encouraged vulnerable Australians to take out high-interest loans, and then struck when they collapsed into debt. The Federal Government is currently assessing the regulatory laws in the payday lending industry.


Advertised $50 laundry balls that were supposed to wash clothes without using detergent. Choice found that water alone did a more effective job.

Arnott’s Australia

Created its own ‘school canteen – meets amber guidelines’ food logo, and gave a ‘health halo’ to Tiny Teddy biscuits that were studded with 100s and 1000s sprinkles. Choice classified Tiny Teddys as confectionery and not a healthful snack.

What do you think of this year’s award winners? Are there other products and businesses that you think should win an award?


Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakis
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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