Australia’s dodgiest products of 2020 have been revealed in the annual CHOICE Shonky Awards… and some of the items and services inducted into the hall of shame this year may or may not shock you…
Floor cleaners that don’t even clean, an air purifier that doesn’t do anything but suck air in and blow it back out, and a major funeral company that apparently fails to be upfront about prices, are among five products and services that have earned themselves a lemon gong this year.
Consumer group Choice holds the mock awards every year to oust the shonkiest products and companies taking advantage of Aussies.
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“The Shonky Awards shine a light on dodgy products or services to inform consumers and encourage businesses to do better,” CHOICE said.
“We name and shame the shonkiest products and companies that have taken advantage of Australian consumers in 2020.”
Below is a full list of the five products/services dubbed the shonkiest of 2020:
InvoCare Funerals… For failing to be upfront about prices:
“InvoCare is profiting from keeping grieving families in the dark,” CHOICE campaigner Amy Pereira said.
“NSW made funeral companies disclose their prices so families wouldn’t be taken advantage of. Companies like InvoCare have done the bare minimum, leaving grieving families in the rest of Australia behind.
“InvoCare needs to be upfront with all Australians and provide itemised costs for services online,” Pereira said.
Harvey Norman… For a toxic partnership with Latitude Finance:
“Financial counsellors and community legal centres across Australia have seen that Latitude credit cards sold at Harvey Norman harm people experiencing financial vulnerability,” CHOICE campaigner Patrick Veyret said.
“Harvey Norman has one of the most expensive credit cards on the market… Most people would be shocked to find that 1.9 million Australians struggle with credit card debt. Credit card debt affects your relationships, your sense of being in the world, your sense of community, your work, your mental health.
“Something needs to be done about Harvey Norman and Latitude charging 22.74% interest rates… Even worse, the rate jumps to an eye-watering 25.90% on outstanding balances,” Veyret said.
Floor cleaners…. For being flawed cleaners:
“We tested these floor cleaners in a scientific setting against typical soils that you’re likely to find in your own home and found that, despite how expensive they are compared with water, they didn’t perform any better,” CHOICE home-cleaning expert Ashley Iredale said.
“When you take, say, 50 millilitres of ammonia and dilute it with five litres of water, you’re really not going to get much performance at all.”
“It doesn’t help that most of the cleaners don’t list the ingredients or even the active cleaning ingredients on the bottle, let alone the percentage of these ingredients,” Iredale added.
In the end, he said “If you want your floors clean just use a plain old bucket of hot water. Save your money.”
GreenTech PureAir 500 air purifier… For pathetic purification:
“This and the other GreenTech model we tested performed so poorly that we basically couldn’t detect them doing anything at all,” CHOICE household goods expert Chris Barnes said.
“They were abysmal at removing dust from the air, terrible at removing smoke from the air, couldn’t remove VOCs from the air… they really are complete duds.
“I can only assume the problem is in the design. Certainly the price tags don’t indicate that they’re cheaply made.”
Revitalife… For a sales scheme that needs to be put to bed:
“Sleep disorders need treating by a sleep physician,” a CHOICE sleep expert said.
“If a bed retailer is trying to sell a comfortable bed then I would say they are very qualified to do that. If they are attempting to diagnose or treat sleep disorders they are clearly not qualified to do that.
“I am not aware of any research showing any particular mattress can improve sleep in the elderly.”