Ask Finney: Buying dehumidifiers, de-moisturizing packs for your garden, free trial charges

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7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions. (KGO-TV)

7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions.

Question 1:
Rita from Burlingame asked: I'm looking to buy a dehumidifier for my home. I get a musty smell from time to time. Any tips?

Answer 1:
There are two things to consider when buying: capacity and placement. If your home already smells musty, a medium to large unit would probably work best for you. They're made for high humidity environments and pull up to 10 gallons of moisture from the air in a day.
Get one with wheels, so you can easily move it around your home. Washable filters keep your costs down. Also, get one with an Energy Star rating. That'll save you up to 15 percent in operating costs.

Question 2:
"G." from Milpitas asked: Can I use those small packages of crystals for de-moisturizing pills in the garden, or are they toxic? I'm just trying to recycle.

Answer 2:
The small, paper plastic packages are filled with non-toxic silica gel, a kind of sand. Yes, you can use them in your garden. They're great for storing seed packs and keeping herbs dry. And, no, the desiccant packs are not toxic, according to the FDA. However, they could pose as a choking hazard, which explains the "Do Not Eat" warning label on most of them.
You can and should reuse them for anything you would like to store away and keep dry like clothes, papers and photos.

Question 3:
Elke from Hayward asked: I signed-up for a free trial for products. Now I'm getting charged, and I don't want them. How can I stop paying? I'm on a fixed income.

Answer 3:
This is a total rip off and happening a lot lately. So much, there is a new law to stop this. Beginning July 1, a new state law about auto-renewals and continuous service offers, including free trials will go into effect. It says before you can be charged again, you must be notified, and told how much you will be charged. And give you the option to cancel. But for you, right now, contact the company, again, and tell them to stop. Then, contact your credit card company and tell them you never ordered the product, want the charges dropped, and none of them going forward. Also, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Click here to file a complaint with the FTC.

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