LIVERMORE, Calif. - Sending your child off for his or her first trip overseas can be daunting. Livermore mom Lisa Herrington made sure her daughter, Annie, could call home in an emergency, but wound up with a huge bill.
It began when Annie decided to go with her church group on a two-week trip to Ecuador.
"We adopted a village of children " Herrington said.
Annie had sponsored two of the children, and wanted to finally meet them. Herrington wanted to know her daughter could call home.
"In case there was an emergency, if she got sick, or a problem with her visa, she could contact us,'' she said.
Herrington added an international calling plan on her daughter's cellphone. Verizon said she'd have to pay for a full month, then cancel when she got back.
So she did.
"That was fine with me, $40 for one month and when there was a date I'd call back,'' Herrington recalls."We got the plan for peace of mind."
Turns out Annie never needed the plan. She spent two weeks in the village and sponsors took care of everything. So was she glad she had the phone just in case?
"No," Annie said sheepishly. "The only thing I liked about having my phone was I was able to take pictures of the children. They all really wanted to have pictures taken."
No matter, Herrington says she didn't mind paying. That is, until a year later, when she realized the plan never canceled. Herrington says her bills are so long, covering charges on four phone lines, she didn't notice that the $40 charge had stuck for a whole year.
"And I contacted Verizon and I didn't get anywhere in resolving it," she said.
At first, Herrington says Verizon offered a partial refund, then no refund at all, even though she had only signed up for one month on the plan.
"I had actual documentation," she said. "Here's the date it's gonna cancel and it didn't cancel."
She contacted 7 On Your Side and we asked Verizon about those charges. The company refunded her $500, telling us:
"Our goal is to provide the world-class experience our customers expect and deserve. In this case, we did not meet our customer's expectations. We appreciate the opportunity to address Ms. Herrington's concerns and we apologize for any inconvenience."
"I'm so glad 7 On Your Side got involved, you guys are amazing, I'll say that," she said.
The takeaway? Herrington says it's easy to add a service, but not so easy to get rid of it. So make sure when you cancel a service, check to make sure it came off your bill.
Click here for more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.