2014 Highlights: Wonga Told Off, Uni Laundry Lessons, RIP Free Delivery…
Amazon and RedSpottedHanky shocked us
Ah, 2014. It saw the mean people at Amazon abolish free delivery. Now, shipping is only free on orders worth more than £10, or stuff bought with a Prime membership.
There’s still a loophole though: pre-order something, and cancel when your item comes. Students can also get a six-month Prime membership for free.
RedSpottedHanky also started charging a transaction fee of £1, as well as £1 postage for train tickets. The move enraged many as it was quickly enforced with little notice.
Our take: Always shop around for the best deal, whether it’s train tickets or a present. Don’t just look at one site – Amazon and RedSpottedHanky’s moves this year may mean that they won’t be the cheapest option. If only there was a site, with many guides and pieces of advice, to help students save money…
Postgraduate loans were announced
The Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in the Autumn Statement that postgraduate students under the age of 30 will be eligible for a loan to cover another degree.
The loans will be introduced for students studying from the 2016/17 academic year, so it will also depend on if the Conservatives stay in power. The finance will differ from usual student loans, as they will be designed to be repaid in full.
Our take: It’s about time postgraduate loans are introduced. This all depends on who wins May's general election though, but hopefully even if the Conservatives don’t get in, the winning party will seriously think about this scheme. It makes sense, and will benefit thousands of students who cannot afford to do a postgraduate degree otherwise.
Wonga were told off for fake debt collection letters
Cheeky Wonga! Earlier this year, Wonga were found to have sent threatening letters to customers from fake debt collectors – and also charged them an administration fee for sending it!
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered Wonga to pay £2.6 million in compensation to 45,000 customers who were affected by the sneakiness of the payday lender.
Our take: Ooooh, that’s just bad – and takes advantage of people who are already struggling. More should have been done, like an investigation to make sure payday lenders act responsibly, as thousands of customers - including students - are vulnerable and really struggling. There are better ways to get money short-term, and we have plenty of guides to help you budget and save your cash.
Birmingham City taught students how to do laundry
After a study showed 66% of Birmingham City students didn’t know how to do their washing, they decided to do something about it – by releasing a guide to help students get to know their washing machine.
Our take: It might sound silly, but it was a helpful guide released with good intentions. Uni life is (partly) about being independent and to stop bringing your washing home with you… Many mothers must have thanked Birmingham City!
Student faked £46m stock market wealth
Student Mohammed Islam hit the news earlier this month after he claimed to have made $72million (about £46m, that’s a whole lot of moolah) by trading on the stock market.
Yeah, then he actually admitted he lied. He made the money… but it was virtual, and you can’t buy a yacht with virtual money. (Except maybe with Bitcoin, but give that a few years).
If you want to see the real Wolf of Wall Street in action, just go and see the film.
Our take: Getting rich quick and easily – that’s the dream. Check out our guides on how to make money quickly, but please... don’t expect to make millions.
Hello Kitty isn’t a cat?!
Hello Kitty was first introduced in the 70s, and since then people have assumed she is a cat.
I mean... the tail, whiskers and ears certainly suggested she was a cat or at least an animal of some kind.
But in 2014, Sanrio – the company behind Hello Kitty – threw a spanner in to the works by announcing that Hello Kitty is a human girl. Wat.
Our take: We’ve certainly never seen a girl that looks like Kitty – unless they were wearing a costume. Minds were blown and many children cried.