The 2014 'Shonky' Awards By Choice Include 'Peanut Butter' Biscuits That Contain No Peanut Butter

Image: CHOICE Australia.

Two banks, toddler milk drinks, a Kindle and peanut butter-flavoured Tim Tims that contain no peanut butter are among the winners of the annual Shonky Awards by Australian consumer lobby group Choice.

The Shonkys are given to products that Choice says present customers with the “shoddiest” services and the “most ridiculous” terms and conditions.

The Commonwealth Bank received a Shonky for its roll in the financial planning scandal while simultaneously lobbying for few controls over financial advice.

Choice says “According to a senate inquiry into the matter, CBA’s financial planners orchestrated a “calculated deceit”, and deliberately (and in some cases fraudulently) put clients into risky and inappropriate investments to meet bonus goals, costing consumers millions of dollars and leading to lost life savings and ruined lives”.

Arnott’s Tim Tams also scored a Shonky for its new peanut butter biscuits, which contain no peanut butter at all. “Here’s the spicy truth: although they proudly boast ‘peanut butter flavour’… closer inspection of the ingredients list reveals the product contains no peanuts at all,” Choice says.

And while the packaging is the same size as other Tim Tams, it actually contains two less biscuits.

While the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite garnered top reviews from the consumer advocacy group, its promise of eight weeks of battery life from a single charge was questionable.

Here’s what Choice had to say:

Its advertising around the gadget compares its battery life against a laptop (a measly five to nine hours), tablet (just five to 10 hours) and smartphone (four to 13 hours? Pshaw!).

While the stats for battery life for the laptop, tablet and smartphone are presumably based on continuous use, some very fine print indeed clarifies that the Kindle Paperwhite’s boasted eight weeks is based on just 30 minutes of reading per day.

The other winners were:

  • S-26 Gold Toddler and Junior milk drinks, which despite marketing claims, aren’t needed for for healthy children over the age of one.
  • Bankwest, which offers a high interest rate of 5.75% for its Kids Bonus Saver account before dramatically dropping the rate after 12 months to just 1% for amounts under $3000.
  • The cult food processor Thermomix, after fans lost hundreds of dollars off the value of their TM31 models overnight, when the company released its TM5 without warning in September. Choice says it received the highest number of nomination in the 9-year history of the Shonkys.
  • Kmart Swimwear – because it may become see-through when wet. And also can’t take “excessive contact” – “whatever that means” says Choice – but apparently it includes suntan lotions, oils, rough surfaces, heated pools and spas treated with harsh chemicals.
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