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About thomash2

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  • Location Germany
  • Nationality American
  • Hometown USA
  • Gender Male
  1. I was able to get Google Voice to work. And it does seem to be able to receive some US SMS short code text messages, although I haven't tested it yet with all of the services that I use that require SMS authentication.  I was finally able to unlock my credit and debit cards!   I used a PC browser to signup, although the same method might apply to the phone app. The problem I had was that signing up for Google Voice requires a US IP address.  So I used a VPN with a server in the US.  Then you need a US mobile number to link with Google Voice, but the SIM card for that number does not need to be physically in the phone that you want to use Google Voice with.  You still need to receive a one time SMS code to that number for verification, so you can either put the SIM card into another phone, or put it in your only phone and sign up on a PC browser. I received a prepaid US SIM card for Ultramobile (T-mobile) from my brother.  The Ultramobile number costs $3 a month to maintain (specifically the PayGo SIM card that is only available in brick-n-mortar stores), but text and calls while on international roaming are very expensive. I entered this mobile number into Google Voice and got the authentication SMS code.  However, you then need to select a new US telephone number for your Google Voice number, but after choosing a number, nothing happened when I pressed the submit button. I found that it was due to the VPN.  So I deactivated the VPN and returned to a German IP address.  After, pressing submit it gave me an error (or it may have changed to a skip button), but the browser proceeded to the next page and I successfully received an account, while being able to logout and login while on a German IP address.   While on the German IP address, after successfully getting a new account, I was able go through the steps again to choose a new US telephone number. I tested the SMS function a few times and it seemed to work.   There is an option to forward SMS and calls that are made to your Google Voice number, to the linked US mobile number. But receiving calls to the Google Voice number is free, at least from US numbers but I'm not sure about from international numbers, while forwarding the call to the US mobile number would incur international roaming charges.  So it makes more sense not to forward the calls.  Google Voice will not forward calls to non-US mobile numbers, so you cannot link your German mobile number to it.   One interesting feature of Google Voice seems to be the ability to make calls from your Google Voice number through your linked US mobile number by cellular voice connection, in case there is no internet data connection available.  I'm not sure if I understood this feature correctly, but it doesn't make sense to do it while roaming internationally because that US SIM card needs to be in the phone that you're calling from, which would then incur roaming fees from your US mobile carrier. If the SIM card is in your phone and you are roaming internationally, you would probably want to deactivate this function, otherwise you might get surprise charges.   I haven't tested the voice quality of Google Voice, but the international rates seem as good or better than Skype, while Skype needs a paid subscription to get a US telephone number that can't receive some forms of SMS messages.   I read an article somewhere that Google Voice and Skype use different types of routing systems, so call quality and time lagging experienced could be different between the 2 services when under different circumstances.  However, with Skype I sometimes experience disconnects or the microphone dropping out while calling the credit card hotline and having to go through the whole queue again to try to get the credit card unlocked.  So I'm willing to try Google Voice to see if it's any better.  At least I can (probably) now properly receive SMS authentication codes.   The other thing that is useful is a VPN service.  Some websites block non-US IP addresses, for example some of the sites from the big 3 credit reporting services.  During the big data breach, I tried to freeze my credit report, but the sites were not allowing me to access the webpages. The VPN set to a US address fixed this problem.  I had tried the Avast / AVG VPN service, but it disconnected frequently and many of their servers were blacklisted by the websites that I was trying to access.  I then switched to one of the other more prominent VPN services with many more servers and IP addresses available, and they work most of the time.
  2. Hm... I read on other forums that some people have problems receiving the SMS with Google Voice for bank verification.   Oh, I tried installing Google Voice, but it is region locked and won't sign in if you have a German IP address.
  3. I called the internet shop, and the guy asked me to send another email to the same address.  He said he would look out for my email. Don't know if he will actually look.  I can only wait.
  4. I made an internet order in 2018 from a German internet shop. A few months ago I was reviewing my credit card statements for the tax return, and I noticed that they charged me 3 times for that order.  I paid by Sofort through the website.  And then on the same day there were 2 additional charges for the same amount to my credit card, which they have on record from previous orders. So in total I was charged 3 times.  I emailed and faxed them with the copies of the bank and credit card statements, but they didn't reply. (They had answered a sales question by email the previous day before I noticed the triple charge). I wrote a letter to the credit card company, but they wrote back that since the card account has since been closed, they will not do anything about it.  I don't think posting a letter would be any different, so later I'll try calling them on the telephone.  But if they don't give a reply to that either, what else could I do?  The value is around 200 €.  So legal methods are probably not economical, and would be a hassle.
  5. I'm not talking about normal SMS from a normal telephone number. The SMS "Short Codes" (the short telephone numbers that you see when you receive these types of SMS) that US banks (and probably European Banks) use to send the verification codes, don't work with Skype or other VOIP systems.  I've also read elsewhere that they don't work with these "international" SIM cards with US numbers, that aren't provided by one of the main US telecom companies.  Well, anyway, I asked someone to mail me an Ultramobile US SIM card, which is run by T-mobile.  I'll give it a try when I receive it.
  6. Does anyone know of a US SIM card that I can use in Germany to receive SMS text verification messages from US bank accounts, something that doesn't charge monthly fees and only charges for the minutes and text that you use, like how German prepaid cards work?   I used to simply give the banks my US Skype number, but recently they want to send a verification link or code by SMS, which Skype numbers can't receive if they're sent by SMS short code. So I'm going to ask a friend to buy a SIM from the US and mail it to me.   But I don't see any prepaid SIM cards that don't require you to buy a monthly plan with a monthly fee. The cheapest prepaid SIM card plan that I could find is Ultramobile (T-mobile) PayGo, which is $3 a month, with international roaming allowed.   However, I don't know if SMS short codes work while roaming internationally with the Ultramobile SIM card. I've read that some people were  not able to receive them with some of these prepaid SIM cards.
  7. I'm running into this problem again, as a business customer has a main office in one city in France where the VAT ID is registered and orders zero VAT reverse charge, but has a branch office in a second city also in France, that they want me to ship the package to.   I have always told customers that I would only send to the same address registered to the VAT ID.  But this particular customers needs it sent to the second office.  Is it acceptable to send it to the second address? And if so, do I  need any other documentation other than what I usually do when sending to the matching VAT ID  main address?   I asked 2 accountants in the past about it, but for some reason they never answered my question.  They always went around it, and simply said "verify VAT ID and registered address". Never saying directly yes or no for shipping to a secondary address.   Does anyone know what is acceptable in this situation?  I thought about shipping a paper invoice to the main address with tracking/Einschreiben as proof that the actual VAT registered business had made the order and intend to use the products, and then shipping the package with the actual products to the second address.   Or perhaps I ask them to send me a signed letter stating that the second address is the location of a branch of the main office, operating under the same business and accounting.  And that products delivered to the second address are intended for use in their own business.
  8. I was wondering if it was acceptable to ship to a different shipping address than the registered VAT address given for VAT ID verification, for intra-community trade and zero VAT.   For example, the invoice will have 2 addresses listed for the customer, a billing and a shipping address. Normally the billing and shipping addresses are identical, and the address matches the verified address for the VAT ID. I check the VAT address and ID on the German finanzamt website, and click the button to request a confirmation by post, which takes 2 days to get. I don't keep a screenshot of the webpage showing the results ( or is it needed?).   However, occasionally, a customer will ask for a different shipping address in another part of the city, or a completely different city in their country.  I tell them I can only ship to the same address as their registered address with the VAT ID.   Or is it possible to ship to a different address and have zero VAT?   Handelskammer websites only state that the VAT ID has to be verified, shipping must be out of Germany, and sold items must be used for business purposes. I have been told conflicting answers by Germans, and I have asked a steuerberater and he repeats what the HK websites say and doesn't comment about the shipping address.   Also regarding Gelangensbestätigung, I believe the rules were changed in October 2013 that a delivery confirmation from the shipping company is satisfactory instead of getting a signed Gelangensbestätigung statement from the customer.  This is correct?   For Deutschepost International Einschrieben, there is no delivery confirmation, so I keep the receipt from the cashier, and a printout of the destination country's postal service tracking.  FedEx, offers a PDF delivery signature confirmation.  But UPS and DPD do not, so I only have a printout of the online tracking. All tracking sites do not show the delivered address, only the state or city (or local depot) of destination.