Ask Finney: Last-Minute Valentine's Day Gift Ideas, Parking Tickets, Buying a Home

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

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

Question 1:

Justin from San Mateo County asked: Any last-minute gift ideas for my girlfriend that's not candy or flowers?

Answer 1:

When it comes to gifts, people prefer experiences over stuff. Valentine's Day is no different. A survey from a couple of years back asked women what they wanted. Dinner came out on top. And jewelry came in second. If you don't have the cash to spring for dinner, maybe a movie or a walk in a nearby park, and a bottle of wine. All that said, diamonds might work well, too.

Question 2:

Rene asked us on Twitter: I received a notice from a collections agency that I'm delinquent on a parking ticket from the City of Oakland for $254. But I was not in Oakland, and the ticket belongs to a vehicle I do not own. What should I do?

Answer 2:

You probably heard from the city and ignored it. If that is the case, the clock is ticking. Call and explain it is not your car.
You will then have to fill-out forms. The clock could be running out, so get on it. Typically, you have 21 days to contest a parking ticket.

Here is a link to the City of Oakland parking website. And you have 30 days to contest the collection notice.

Question 3:

Fely asked: When is the best time to buy a house?

Answer 3:

For the most choices, spring and early summer. That's when families put their homes on the market to sell, and when families begin looking, so they can move during the summer break. The best time to buy for price is December. People are thinking about the holidays and not home buying, so prices tend to drop.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
Related Topics:
society7 On Your Sideconsumerconsumer concernsSan Francisco
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