Flood insurance is so confusing it’s been named as among Australia’s worst products, alongside a weight-loss nasal spray and quail eggs to cure erectile dysfunction.
Consumer group Choice has awarded eight lemon trophies this year for dodgy, dubious and deceitful goods and services as part of its sixth annual Shonky Awards.
In the wake of the summer floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, the insurance industry is held in such low regard it has been lumped alongside products like crystal encrusted baby dummies and underpants that fix cellulite.
Choice said the 2011 floods left homeowners in three states without cover as insurers dodged their responsibilities.
“In many cases this was because of numerous definitions for the term `flood’ and the convoluted abuse of the English language which made policies indecipherable to even lawyers,” it said.
The honours for misleading consumers also went to SensaSlim, for selling a $70 “weight-loss spray”, which the company claims decreases appetite.
Choice said there was no evidence the product worked, pointing out how the retailer sued for defamation.
Quail Kingdom quail eggs also make dubious claims, with the company’s website suggesting the product, retailing at $2.50 a dozen, can treat everything from tuberculosis to Chernobyl-style radiation and obesity.
The product’s healing powers have not been proven by clinical trials, and it is not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic goods.
Peachy Pink under garments, selling for $55, claim to eliminate cellulite when worn for eight hours a day for 21 days because they are “infused” with green tea, peaches and caffeine.
Choice director of campaigns Christopher Zinn said the awards, unveiled on Tuesday, were there to remind businesses to be honest.
Crystal-encrusted baby dummies “that Choice tests found to be a choking hazard” and the Chinese-built Chery J1 with fake roof racks “for cosmetic purposes only” also got gongs.
They were joined by a Smurfs’ Village app for Apple iPhones.