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Finances Still Tied To America

On my way out of America's boundaries and into China's I tried my best to tie up any loose financial ends. Ends such as what to do with my car; canceling my phone service; ending my apartment lease early; notifying my current jobs, my banks, and my student loans.

I was successfully able to depart from my previous job of 3 years on good terms. My landlord let me out of my lease and found someone to replace me pretty quickly, which I was happy about. My banks were very informative about what I should do before I leave. I was able to buy China's currency from Santander and set up a nice bill pay system with them. My students loans, well, they're student loans.

I left my car to my younger brother, who was in need of a car to get to work. The deal was they would pay any bills that pertained to the car and I would pay the insurance. This decision came as a last resort. Previously, I was trying to sell my car but no one wanted it. When I gave it to my brother, I was happy that he would have something to get him from point A to point B without agitating my mother with his work and social life but that plan was nixed when my he got into an accident. All persons involved were just fine, but I was a bit stressed about the matter because I had hoped it wouldn't be a financial burden on me and my family. And as it turns out, thank God I had insurance, because they did their best to make sure it wasn't. The process wasn't ideal but it was better instead of worse.

My phone bill was and, unfortunately is, the biggest headache. I will have to call out Verizon for this story. I called Verizon before leaving to notify them that I was moving and needed to cancel my contract. I had expressed to them that I didn't have enough money for the cancellation fees and then I asked if there were any options to help me. They advertised their overseas package to me for travelers so that I could bring down the cancellation fees while continuing to pay a monthly bill. It hadn't occurred to me yet that I would pay more money in the end. And even though, I would be in China for a year, I decided to go with it because I needed a way to notify my family that I had landed safely and soundly. I arrived in ShenZhen without a scratch on my body or mind but I was experiencing some serious jet lag. I went to call my family as soon as I exited the gate and quickly realized that I had no service. How could this be, I made sure that Verizon turned on this particular service so I wouldn't have a repeat of my trip to Guatemala where I had to rely on wifi just to contact my family. I went to the phone stand to use the telephone card and I could not figure out how to operate a foreign phone number or understand Mandarin. On top of that, the driver who was supposed to pick me up wasn't there yet so I was really panicking. I went further into the airport and found a Starbucks. "Yes, Wifi!" I thought to myself. I tried to connect my iPhone and it didn't connect. It didn't connect anywhere. I went back to the gate and ran into the driver who then took me to the hotel. I checked in, went into my room and had to use the hotel phone to call Verizon to work on my phone. It took 3 to 4 hours for the sweet representative to connect my phone to their Chinese counterpart, China Unicom. At this point, I was very disappointed in Verizon and called to tell them that I definitely wanted to turn off my phone because the stress, loss of sleep and money to pay every month for a service that didn't work was not worth it. Verizon didn't turn off my phone and instead offered me another solution that would help me financially because they're all about "my best interest." A month later, I realized I barely used the service and I was still paying the bill. I have to get out, NOW! Did Verizon let me go - no. Finally, 4 months later I had the pleasure of speaking to a very informative representative who told me that they just should have turned off my service so I could stop being billed and then all I would have had to have payed was the remaining cancellation fee when I had the money. WHAT? You mean I have now already paid more than the cancellation fee and will still have to pay the cancellation fee and a representative could have helped me prevent it?! Oh My God! The kind representative said he had served in the military and did a tour and he absolutely understood the need to cancel a service to save money so he waived my cancellation fees and the remaining bill. He then transferred me to another rep who was not fully informed and then I had to tell her what he said and then she checked with the previous rep and then transferred me to her manager who asked me to pay the remaining balance on the last bill and that she would honor the waived cancellation fees from the male rep. Yes, Victory! But then I went home in December and found a collection notice of $240.00 for a Verizon Wireless bill. Son of a...gun. I immediately called Verizon and asked them about the agreement and they said there was no note of it on my account. So, I am now experiencing the same neglect that I experienced before. I deeply sigh at the thought of this whole ordeal. And I am reaching out to the Department of Consumer Protection about this. Gooooosefraabaaaaah.

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