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Named and shamed: The firms that confuse and let down users the most

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Facebook, Tesco and WizzAir have been included in a consumer champion’s ‘hall of shame’, alongside a number of broadband and mobile providers for their shoddy service and products.

Consumer champion Which? has identified the companies responsible for the biggest consumer letdowns of the year in its inaugural ‘Shoddies’ awards.

To be nominated for a Shoddy, companies had to fall short on one of the following criteria: failing an industry standard, potentially breaking the law, causing consumer harm or confusion, or regularly underperforming in its customer surveys or lab tests.

After Which? experts nominated contenders from their testing, surveys and investigations from the last year, a judging panel from across the organisation selected this year’s Shoddies.

Here are the firms that made the ‘hall of shame’:


The social media site has been awarded a Shoddy for failing to tackle fake review trading groups.

Every year since 2018, Which? has uncovered groups trading in fake reviews on Facebook. The consumer champion estimates that the groups it has reported to the platform total 1.5 million members.

Which? has repeatedly shared its findings with Facebook, but as recently as April this year, found a further 14 groups trading in reviews for Amazon, Google and Trustpilot, sharing more than 62,000 members between them.

Telecoms providers with record mid-contract price hikes

All telecoms providers with above inflation mid-contract price hikes have been awarded a Shoddy by Which? this year.

Many customers of broadband and mobile providers – such as BT, EE, Plusnet, Shell Energy Broadband, TalkTalk, Three and Vodafone – sign up to their deal rising in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation – plus an extra 3% to 3.9% – every spring. This year, this typically led to price hikes of 14.4%.

Virgin Media and O2 also use the outdated Retail Prices Index (RPI) – which is typically even higher than CPI – as a basis for their price rises, leading to price hikes of 17.3% for O2 customers in 2023.

Wizz Air

Which? has dubbed Wizz Air the UK’s worst airline. It scored just 48% in Which?’s annual airlines survey. This made it the worst airline serving the UK despite “stiff competition in an industry where dreadful customer service is common”.

Which? also looked at county court judgments for six airlines in March this year – the five biggest in the UK and Wizz Air – and, despite being the smallest in terms of passenger numbers, Wizz Air accounted for almost half . Further, it was recorded as owing £2.2m to customers.

Wizz Air admitted the pandemic had led to issues but said it had settled hundreds of CCJs and was working to resolve those outstanding as soon as possible, though it said postal issues had caused delays.


Tesco received a Shoddy for failing to display unit pricing on its Clubcard offers. Unit pricing – the price per 100g or 100ml, for example – helps shoppers to compare prices of different products and make informed decisions about what to buy, which is particularly important during the cost-of-living crisis.

Tesco said its pricing practices have been checked and endorsed by Trading Standards. But after Which? reported Tesco to the Competition and Markets Authority amid concerns the practice was potentially illegal, the supermarket announced plans to add unit pricing to Clubcard offers, starting next year.

Alfa Romeo: Unreliable motors

Alfa Romeo earned a Shoddy for performing poorly in Which?’s annual survey of more than 49,000 car owners. It received just one star for brand reliability across the three age groups of cars.

Four in 10 Alfas aged less than four-years-old had a fault in the 12 months covered by last year’s survey, and around one in eight (14%) of cars broke down.

For those in the five to nine-year age range, 43% faced at least one fault, and with older (10-15-year-old) models, over half (53%) suffered a fault while one in five had at least one breakdown.

Hisense, Panasonic, Philips and Sony

These firms earned a Shoddy for making TVs without accessibility features that would help blind or partially sighted Brits enjoy television programmes.

However, across the TV brands Which? tested in 2022, Hisense did not include a screen reader, while Panasonic, Philips and Sony only had screen readers on their higher-end models, earning them all a Shoddy for their lack of accessibility.

Babyzen Yoyo Connect

Which? testing found that the Babyzen Yoyo Connect, which converts a single stroller into a pushchair for two children, had a safety issue with its handlebar and design.

In testing, it proved difficult to safely tilt the pushchair up onto kerbs: it has two handles, and if using the rear handle closest to you to tilt the buggy, then the stroller pivots in the centre and tips forward.

But Babyzen said the product is safe to use and compliant with the European General Product Safety Directive.

Boots, Beurer and Béaba

These three companies received a Shoddy for selling unreliable digital thermometers.

The Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact Thermometer, Beurer FT 95 NonContact Thermometer and the Béaba Thermospeed Infrared Ear and Forehead Thermometer all received a Shoddy for failing to measure temperatures accurately.

All three companies said that their products are tested in line with British and European legislative standards.

Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: “Our inaugural Shoddies aim to push firms to do better, by highlighting the products, services and business practices that have fallen short and let consumers down over the last year.

“During an unrelenting cost-of-living crisis, we should all be able to expect high-quality products and services for our money. All the companies named and shamed in this year’s Shoddies need to up their game and offer consumers the value for money and services they deserve.”