Ask Finney: Skimming devices, pothole refunds, vehicle lemon laws

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

Question 1:

Andrew asked on Twitter: How can a consumer sniff out a card skimming device before putting their own card through a system?

Answer 1:

It can be hard. Skimmers are credit and debit card readers crooks use to steal your information at gas pumps, ATM's and the like. Those that are installed in the machines are undetectable, but many are placed outside, and for those, you should check for any signs of tampering, like a loose or ill fitting card slot or keypad or mismatched colors, or if it just looks different. It never hurts to move to the next machine. And use readers where there is good lighting, and closest to attendants.

Question 2:

Richie asks: I hit a big pothole in Oakland that cracked my rim, and was forced to buy a new one. How do I get the city to reimburse me?

Answer 2:

You file a claim with the City of Oakland. And do it now, you only get six months from when the incident occurred. Make sure you name the street where you hit the pothole, include pictures of the damage, and a copy of the receipt for the new rim. Here is a link to the City of Oakland's website.

Question 3:

The final question comes from a different Andrew: Does the lemon law apply to a 2012 car with 50,000 miles? We have taken it to the dealer five times for the same issue under warranty, and have had no success.

Answer 3:

Yes, the lemon law applies to cars still under the original manufacturer's warranty. If the company has had a reasonable amount of attempts to repair, you may have a lemon. The general rule of thumb is four repair attempts or 30 days in the shop, but those are just guides. If the issue is safety-related, two attempts or even less can qualify. A good starting point for you is to contact the Bar Association and get a free consultation with a lemon law attorney.

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