Start-ups can learn from the mistakes of this year’s Shonky award winners, which include Toblerone for its “ridiculous” serving sizes, and waterproofing technology that doesn’t work.
The Shonky awards, or the Shonkys, are an annual event for dodgy goods and services, held by consumer watchdog Choice.
The awards aim to shine a spotlight on products and services that are “sneaky, slippery, unscrupulous and sometimes unsafe”.
“The Shonky awards serve as a reminder that businesses cannot provide misleading, less than truthful or dangerous products to consumers,” says Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just.
“The dishonour of potentially receiving an infamous Shonky encourages businesses to provide the fairest and best quality products and services into the market.”
“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 those claims that seem too good to be true.”
The 2012 Shonky award winners include a water-wasting Samsung washing machine, and the “outrageous” surcharges peddled by Ticketek and Ticketmaster.
Chocolate bar brand Toblerone also won itself a Shonky for its inconsistent serving sizes, which, according to Choice, frustrate consumers.
“The number of mountain pieces in some Toblerone bars is not easily divisible by the recommended serving size,” Choice said.
“The 400 gram bar has 15 mountain pieces yet the packaging claims it serves 16, the 200 gram bar has 15 mountain pieces but serves eight and the 50 gram bar has 11 mountain pieces but serves two.”
“Only the 100 gram mountain bar can be divided sensibly with 12 pieces to four serves.”
Another Shonky award winner, Nature’s Way Kid’s Smart Natural Medicines, claims to treat symptoms of potentially serious childhood infectious diseases, which may delay parents from seeking more appropriate medical advice.
“Nature’s Way were busted earlier this year for claims about the efficacy of the products but did not respond. Today, we have asked the ACCC to enforce compliance,” Choice said.
Other winners include Liquipel, a $99 product that promises – but fails – to provide additional water protection for mobile phones and tablet computers, and Cabcharge for its excessive 10% credit card fee.
The remaining winners include Exit Mould and Coles Ultra Mould Remover, which leave mould roots entrenched in grout to sprout another day, and the Jetset Travelworld Group for “sneaky” terms and conditions.