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Pathetic purifiers, Harvey Norman’s credit card traps and cleaners worse than water: Shonkys 2020

November 11, 2020 Lifestyle News No Comments

Australia’s leading consumer advocate has announced the recipients of the 15th annual CHOICE Shonkys.

“In the sixtieth year of CHOICE, it’s fitting that the 2020 Shonkys uncover and call out practices from companies taking advantage of their customers,” says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

“Whether it’s complex financial products designed to trap people in debt or home appliances that fail in our lab testing, the CHOICE Shonkys are here to help you avoid buying a dud.”

The 2020 CHOICE Shonkys are:

“CHOICE’s work is more important than ever in 2020 as Australians negotiate through the COVID-19 health crisis and tough economic times. This year alone we’ve campaigned for banks to treat people in financial hardship fairly, identified dodgy hand sanitisers and called out the insurance industry for playing tricks with their definition of fire. These Shonkys represent five more ways CHOICE is working with our members and supporters to fight for the interests of the community,” says Kirkland.

All quotes attributable to CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland:

InvoCare Funerals – for failing to be upfront about prices 

Upfront pricing in NSW, but the rest of the country misses out

“InvoCare – the company behind White Lady Funerals and Simplicity Funerals – has done everything it can to avoid being upfront with grieving families about costs. When the NSW government introduced laws requiring funeral companies to disclose their prices, InvoCare should have done the right thing and made prices available to all Australians. Instead, it has cynically left the rest of the country in the dark. InvoCare provides prices for NSW and ACT funerals on its website but doesn’t provide grieving people in other states with the same information.”

Greentech air purifiers – for pathetic purification

Greentech Pure Air 500 – Last place (19%) in CHOICE tests

“With the bushfires last summer and COVID-19 not long after, air purifiers have been heavily marketed to Australians as a solution to bushfire smoke and airborne viruses. Not so for Greentech air purifiers, which performed abysmally, coming dead last in our testing. In fact, our labs could barely find any difference in the quality of air when they tested the Greentech purifier.”

Harvey Norman – for a toxic partnership with Latitude Finance

For pushing a high cost credit card onto customers 

“The banking royal commission uncovered many behaviours that were hurting people. This  included businesses exploiting an exemption from credit laws to sell credit cards in stores, without checking whether the person can afford to repay the debt. Harvey Norman has partnered with Latitude Finance to push a credit card with an eye-watering interest rate of 22.74%. On this Harvey Norman Latitude Mastercard GO card, a purchase of $5000 at 22.74% would leave someone making the minimum repayments paying back $17,909 over 29 years. With Latitude, Harvey Norman is selling one of the most expensive credit cards on the market and it needs to end now.”

Floor cleaners – for being flawed cleaners

Floor cleaners from Coles and Bunnings perform worse than water

“CHOICE puts products to the test in our labs every day and these test results are one of the reasons we have to. Floor cleaners barely work. In our lab tests some brands sold at retailers like Coles and Bunnings performed worse than water. In fact, our experts say floor cleaners are basically “floor perfume.” They won’t do much more than make your floor smell nice. This is why CHOICE’s independent testing is so important – without someone checking, you could be buying products that barely work.”

Revitalife – for a sales scheme that needs to be put to bed

Using a “health survey” to sell beds with little evidence

“The sales tactics employed by Revitalife were brought to our attention by members of the CHOICE community and our colleagues in the community legal sector. Revitalife uses a “health survey” to target people with health worries. This company promises to help customers with their health needs but then sells them expensive beds with dubious health claims. Revitalife makes huge claims about the benefits of their beds based on a single clinical trial of six people. This just isn’t good enough. Revitalife is targeting older Australians through a shonky sales scheme and selling sleep remedies that aren’t supported by credible evidence.”

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