Choice Review; Is it a reliable and trustworthy website?

Choice is an Australian consumer advocacy group. Choice started over 60 years ago, with Choice Magazine being a reliable source of education and empowering consumers across the country. Choice informs consumers about their rights. Choice also provides unbiased advice on products and services. Read on for the full Choice review..

The Good

  • Advocates for the consumer
  • Independent
  • Unbiased information
  • Advice on consumer rights
  • Good track record of change to benefit the consumer
  • While reviews are paid access, you can access buyer guides for free.
  • Helpful articles – all accessible for free

The Bad

  • Most of the information on Choice, including Choice Magazine, requires a membership for access
  • Choice only reviews a limited range of products, not all options on the market
  • Memberships is expensive if you’re not in the market for a lot of products
  • Reviews may be out of date
  • Consumers can access many product reviews for free these days, leaving Choice as less competitive
  • Poor reviews of customer service

Verdict: Though membership is pricey, Choice works to protect consumer rights. There is still free information on their site.

Introduction to Choice Review

For over 60 years Choice has been a trusted source of consumer information in Australia. Choice is an independent consumer advocacy group, with Choice Magazine being a valued source of consumer information for many years. Choice provides consumers with information on their rights. Choice, like Finder and Product Review, also reviews products and services, so consumers can save time and save money when finding the best deal.

choice review

What is Choice?

Choice is a consumer advocacy group that has been active in Australia for over 60 years. Choice is funded by its members and is independent. This means it doesn’t get funding from other sources such as businesses or government. As a consumer advocacy group, Choice aims to put the customer needs first, when it comes to products and services.

Choice provides consumers with advice and campaigning on consumer rights. Choice also gives advice, reviews and tests products so the consumer has unbiased information on what is the best deal for them.

Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group | CHOICE

Why do people use Choice?

People use Choice for a number of reasons, such as consumer advice, and service or product reviews. Firstly, Choice has laboratories where they scientifically test products, and then rate their performance. This information is available to Choice members, saving them money and time when it comes to making the right purchase.

Secondly, Choice advocates for safer services and products. Choice has been instrumental with the introduction of such things as Australian Consumer Law, country of origin labeling on products and unit pricing in Australian supermarkets.

Thirdly, Choice provides consumers with advice on what to do when they have a problem with a product or service. Choice can let people know what steps they can take if they have a problem and tell people what their consumer rights are.

Finally, Choice is funded by its members, so they have no hidden agenda. Choice is transparent in its role of consumer advocacy. This means the information they give out is unbiased and independent and they are not influenced by companies, government or other agencies.

Is Choice reliable?

Choice is a reliable consumer advocacy group in Australia. Choice has been successfully protecting and advocating for consumer’s interests in Australia for over 60 years. Choice, and its members, have been behind some significant changes that have benefited consumers, including the introduction of Australian Consumer Law.

As with anything, times can change, and there is a suggestion that Choice reviews may have seen its heyday. Some online consumer reviews about Choice suggest as a product review forum, there may be more comprehensive and cheaper options out there. However, when it comes to their key role of consumer advocacy, Choice has a strong track record of delivering.

Does Choice magazine still exist?

Choice Magazine is the flagship publication of the Choice consumer advocacy group. When the advocacy group first formed in the 1950s, the creation of the magazine was a key way of communicating information to consumers, and yes, it still very much exists.

Members who subscribe to Choice Magazine receive 11 monthly editions of the publication, per 12 months. Choice Magazine covers products and services, safety and value, as well as informing people of their consumer rights.

CHOICE magazine

choice review, choice magazine
The Choice magazine is still very much around – 11 issues per year with your membership

How do you use Choice?

The best way to use Choice is to sign up as a member. There are different levels of subscription that give Choice members access to independent and unbiased information on products and services. Your membership may also entitle you to consumer help, specific to your situation.

Choice review items and products. For example, you may be in the market for a new washing machine. A membership to Choice will give you access to their latest review on washing machines, where they test different brands of washing machines against certain criteria. Choice will then grade each machine on value and performance, giving each a score for consumers to compare before buying.

Choice also identifies the worst products and services out there. Choice’s annual Shonky Awards educates consumers on what products are on the market that are best avoided, and why.

While a Choice membership gives you the best access to tests, reviews and advice, some information is available for free on Choice’s website at choice.com.au

The Shonky Awards | CHOICE

choice review, choice shonky awards
Shonky award winners are great to read! They’re kind of like a ‘Don’t buy these’ products page

 Advantages of using Choice

  • Advocates for the consumer
  • Independent
  • Unbiased information
  • Advice on consumer rights
  • Good track record of change to benefit the consumer such as unit pricing and country of origin information in supermarkets
  • While reviews are paid access, you can access buyer guides for free.
  • Helpful articles – all accessible for free
choice review
Buyer guides can be accessed for free. For this example, I searched microwaves, and there was a heap of information on the above topics as seen
choice review
Articles on different topics can help consumers save money or figure out what to look for when buying

 Disadvantages of using Choice

  • Most of the information on Choice, including Choice Magazine, requires a membership for access
  • Choice only reviews a limited range of products, not all options on the market
  • Memberships is expensive if you’re not in the market for a lot of products ie building a house
  • Reviews may be out of date
  • Access to information has changed since the inception of Choice Magazine, and these days there is a lot of free product review information online available to consumers
  • Online reviews of consumers using Choice highlight areas for improvement for Choice’s own customer service

FAQs about Choice

Does CHOICE have an app?

While Choice has a website and magazine, it also has an app that can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android. Choice members can download the app to access digital advice and reviews on their phone, ipad or tablet.

How did CHOICE Australia begin?

Choice began as the Australasian Consumers’ Association in 1959, with a name change in 1963 to the Australian Consumers’ Association. This was in response to an increase in dodgy products on the market after WWII and the formation of similar groups in the UK and US.

The main aim of the consumer advocacy group was to publish a magazine to educate and empower people about their consumer rights, services and products.

The first edition of Choice was published in 1960. The Australian Consumers’ Association was also a founding member of the International Organisation of Consumers Unions in 1961.  

What is the role of the ACCC?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is part of the Australian federal government’s Treasury Department. The ACCC’s role is to stop businesses from being anti-competitive, protect consumer rights and monitor pricing. The ACCC does this by overseeing legislation such as the Competition and Consumer Act, which includes the Australian Consumer Law.

While Choice is a consumer advocacy group, the ACCC is the organisation that administers Australian Consumer Law and will take companies to court if the ACCC alleges wrongdoing, such as the company making false or misleading claims with a product. For example, in 2016 Choice awarded Kimberly-Clarke a Shonky Award for their “flushable” wipes that couldn’t be flushed. The ACCC later took Kimberly-Clarke to court over it.  

CHOICE response to “flushable wipes” ACCC case

Is Choice free?

Choice as a consumer advocacy group is funded through its membership, in order to maintain its independence. The best way to use Choice is to sign up as a member, however, the website has free information for anyone to access.

There are three levels of membership. The three month digital-only membership provides access to online reviews for $26.95. There is also a one year option that gives online access for 12 months at $83.95.  The one year digital and Choice Magazine membership option is $119.95 and gives online access with 11 issues of Choice Magazine delivered to your home address over the 12 months.  

choice review, choice membership prices
Choice membership price options

As mentioned, for those on a budget, the Choice website has a lot of information for consumers to access for free. It’s also worth noting that public libraries may also provide free access to Choice Magazine for library members.

CHOICE membership options

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

Bill Gates

Conclusion – Choice Review

Choice is the current evolution of the Australian Consumers’ Association. For over 60 years, Choice has acted to protect the interests of Australian consumers. Choice aims to be an independent and unbiased advocacy group that provides information on consumer rights, as well as service and product reviews.

Over the years, Choice Magazine has been a key part of Choice communicating with consumers. However, with more product review sites, such as Finder and Product Review, and information available for free on the internet, some consumer reviews on Choice itself suggest the membership fees may not be value for money.

Despite room for improvement with its product reviews, Choice has a good history of holding companies to account with their Shonky Awards for substandard products and services. In some instances, this focus has led to the ACCC taking legal action against the company. Choice has also been at the forefront with positive, consumer-focused change such as unit pricing in supermarkets. So overall, as a consumer advocacy group, Choice has a strong track record. 

So whether you’re looking to review banks, car insurance, Superannuation funds, baby products or appliances, it’s worth comparing products – if you’re not paying for a membership, the general product information and buying guides on Choice are still quite valuable.

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