Applauding products that are too good to be true
In Australia, there is what’s called Choice’s Shonky Awards, which basically acknowledges products which don’t match up to their promises, and which, says Christopher Zinn, Choice’s director of communications, “reminds businesses that they can’t take advantage of consumers by bending the rules or putting risky products on the market”.
Here are some of the gems…
Peachy Pink shapewear
These underpants infused with green tea caffeine and peaches claim to reduce cellulite when worn eight hours a day over three weeks. The effects are “clinically-proven” by French research lab Spincontrol Laboratories which claims to employ “two doses of accuracy, one dose of creativity and a touch of audacity.”
Crystal-encrusted baby dummies
The coloured crystals fell off easily enough to become a choking hazard when tested by Choice. The dummies have been banned by the ACCC but are still available from overseas suppliers who avoid customs by labelling them as “jewellery”.
Sensaslim weight loss spray
This oral spray claims to decrease your appetite for food – at $70 per bottle. There is no evidence to back up the weight loss claims and the company has already been taken to court by the ACCC for alleged deceptive and misleading conduct.
Smurfs’ Village App game
A Smurf game available on iPad, iPhone and Android for free and aimed at young children requires players to use actual money to purchase “Smurfberries” to use as currency in the game.
In some cases it costs as much as $109.99 for a wagon-load of berries. While the game provides disclaimers before charging for purchases, Choice found that many children would not be able to read – or could easily get around – them.
Ouch. Eek. Oy vey.