Ask Finney: Unauthorized credit card charges, retail closures, community college costs

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

Question 1:

Danielle asks: I was a victim of credit card theft. I reported it to the company, and cancelled the card. But one of the merchants, who I did not buy from, is asking for a payment. What should I do?

Answer 1:

Immediately contact the credit card company. The most you are responsible for is fifty dollars as long as you report the card lost or theft right away. Do *not* deal with the merchant and consider reporting them to the card processor, Visa, Mastercard, whichever. By the way, some credit cards do not even charge the fifty dollars.

Question 2:

Brian asks: What do you think is the reason some major retailers are closing down? Is it because of online shopping?

Answer 2:

It is called the retail apocalypse. Last year, around 800 stores closed. This year, so far, three thousand. Online sales and high rents get the blame. And this could just be the beginning. 86% of all sales are still made through brick and mortar stores.

Question 3:

Terrence asked on Twitter: Hi Michael, with rumors community colleges being free in some states, should I go to college free of charge if I have financial aid? I attend Montgomery College in Maryland.

Answer 3:

Never do anything because of a rumor, and it depends on your financial aid. Are they grants that you don't pay back, or loans that you will be paying for years? But here are some hard facts. City College of San Francisco is now free. So there is an option. There is a move to make all California community colleges free, we will see what happens. Other states do offer free education, so do some European counties, even to those students from the United States. That would depend on the requirements of the college you go to. By the way, at City College of San Francisco, you must have lived in the city for a year to get the schooling for free.
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