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This is in the US, but should be on-topic, because some people here have US subscriptions. Any similar experiences?
KIRO 7 has learned that a large national company has caught the attention of the Washington State Attorney General for possible unfair and deceptive business practices.

Sirius/XM Satellite Radio recently revealed it has more than 20 million subscribers, but because of her months-long investigation, Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy is now wondering how many of those subscribers wanted to cancel their subscription and couldn’t?

In Washington state, more than 120 complaints have been filed against Sirius/XM with the state Attorney General’s office. And most of those complaints reveal the customer wanted to cancel his or her Sirius/XM subscription but was not allowed to.
Full article with consumer horror stories at http://www.kirotv.com/money/25634897/detail.html
 

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At which point I would simply contact my credit card company and place a block on that company's payments. And if they decide to continue to give me free radio, well... :)
 

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I'd be a bit careful with going the route of just cancelling your credit card with XM Canada.

I cancelled one of my radios and they then tried to proceeded to attempt charge my credit card for a new subscription anyway. Luckily the card was actually expired, so since they couldn't get the payment through, they sent me to collections and shut down all of my other radios to boot. :eek:

-Checkmate
 

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But how is it collections-worthy? Collections is supposed to be when you're not paying for something you owe. Since satellite radio is pre-paid, if your payment for the upcoming service isn't going through they can just stop servicing you when what you've paid for expires and therefore it shouldn't be sent to collections. XM abusing the system?
 

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I just went thru this with XM. According to them your contract says if you do not tell them 30 days before the end of your current term, then your contract automatically renews for the same term at the current pricing.

In my case my home radio was expiring in the middle of September, and I did nothing as I wanted it to expiry. About 2 weeks after the end of my term, I started getting calls from XM collections wanting me to pay for another year. I told them I let it expire as I didn't need it anymore and they said...Sorry, you didn't notify us within the 30 day window therefore you owe us for another year. Since my credit card on file had expired they could not post a charge. They called me once a day for the next 3 weeks. Each time I told them the same thing....don't want the radio, go ahead and send me to collections. Calls stopped about 2-3 weeks ago, and nothing has come in the mail. Shall see what happens next.
 

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Guys, be very careful with XM and how you handle expiring subscriptions, trust me on this, this is coming from my first hand experience.

I'll try to summarize what happened to me. And although this post is going to end up being lengthy, trust me on this, this is the "Coles" note's version believe it or not.

So here is what happened to me. I had three radio subscriptions which all started and end on different dates. I received a call from a XM representative a few weeks before one of my subscriptions was ending. And quite truthfully, I didn't know one of the radios was expiring until XM called. The representative asked me if I wanted to renew my radio for another year, so I asked him which of the radio was up for renewal. He said that he didn't know, but rhymed off the radio ID number. I told the guy the ID was of little help, as I didn't have the I.D's memorized. For the record, two of the radios involved are in leased GM vehicles, both of which have less than a years time left on the leases, so for that reason, I told the guy that NO, I didn't want to renew at this time and I would figure out what to do later, when I knew which of the radios was involved. The XM Canada rep told me that was fine and told me that my radio would stop working at the end of my current subscription. I confirmed that I understood and that was fine.

A few weeks or so passed and first my radio in my truck shut off. Then a few days later, my wifes radio in her car shut off as well. I went to my cottage and tried the portable radio there and it worked for roughly 10 minutes or so and then it shut off too.

At that point, I knew something was up, as one of the radios had just been paid up for a year and only three or four months had passed. So I called XM and got the run-around like you wouldn't believe. The run around being, left on hold for lengthy periods of time, transferred endlessly from person to person, hung up on etc. So I got ticked off and gave up, after wasting a good hour of my life. A month or two passed with the radios continuing not to work and without any corrospondence from XM Canada.

Then, one night in October, I got home to find a letter from a collection agency claiming they were taking action against me on behalf of XM Canada for a debt of $165 dollars or so, that they claim I owed. I was surprised by this as I had, had, no correspondence from XM whatsoever. So I was obviously very ticked off by this and I immediately called the customer care center. Once again I got the run around, but because of the collection agency issue I persisted on for almost an hour. I was cut off a couple of times, I was passed from person to person and I was left on hold for lengthy periods of time while CSR's "checked" with some else. Finally after about an hour, one of the reps finally was helpful and admitted that XM had completely screwed up and that I didn't owe XM anything and that they had also mistakingly cut off my two other radios that were fully paid up. So this clerk, told me they would re-activate my two radios and add some extra time back for what had been lost and even a few months for my trouble. I requested and was told I would receive an email confirming that I had no outstanding debt to XM at any time and that a copy of this letter would also be promptly sent to the collection agency so that they could remove any debt from the credit history.

So at that point, I was still a little ticked off, but everything seemed fixed, so alls well that ends well.

The next day I tried the radio in my truck and you guessed it, it wouldn't work. You gotta love listening to the XM preview channel for hours on end, hoping it will refresh! Not!

So when I got home, I first tried refreshing the radio online and it wouldn't work and gave me a message to call XM. So, I called XM Canada once again. And again the run around game started. After some time on hold, I finally got through to a CSR and I explained what was supposed to have happened and this CSR put me on hold to check with someone. They then came back and told me that the notes on my account about the previous nights conversation didn't jive with what I was saying and the rep reverted back to the story that I owed XM an outstanding debt and they requested payment. At that point I told them to transfer me to a manager.

I was then transferred to a manager who let's just say was less then helpful. I must have explained the issue ten times and she simply wouldn't listen. Finally after a lengthy discussion I finally convinced her that I was right and she then decided to honour the previous nights agreement.

Next day, guess what... the radio in my truck still wouldn't. I call back again and once again I'm told there are issues and that I have an outstanding debt to XM and that I need to pay up. I ask to speak to the manager and I am told she's not available. I insist on speaking to her, so they tell me they will have her call me. Days go by and she doesn't call. So I track down the Toronto head office's phone number, and I explain to the live receptionist that I want to speak to someone in a position of authority in Toronto. At that point, I'm transferred to a woman's voice mail. That call also is/was not returned. Four or five days pass without any response. Given that, I send off a very detailed email to customer care, explaining what I am owed, what the issues are and asking them to resolve this issue and to please respond. Again, I receive no call or response.

So at that point, now the better part of a week or so has passed and now I'm really ticked off, given that I feel my credit has been damaged. So feeling I have little other recourse, I decide to go to the local BBB and I file a complaint. A week or two passes and all of a sudden the original customer service manager calls me at work and essentially starts laying down the law to me, telling me how it's going to be and as you can guess I'm not impressed at all. A lengthy debate ensues, mostly relating to how much time I am owed, and which is already prepaid on my two radios. No matter what I try to say, the manager simply won't listen. She finally tried to end the conversation by telling me that this is what I'm giving you and if don't like it tough. I request to speak to someone in a higher position of authority and she tells me that there is no one higher than her to speak to. So the conversation ends with Ms. Wonderful telling me that because I won't accept her offer that instead she'll send me a refund for what is left owing to me, but she can't confirm the amount, but my best guess is that I've lost about six months of prepaid time because her calculations are completely wrong. A few hours later, I get a response to the email I sent customer service, which is from a week or so earlier and essentially the email is short and just says that I don't owe XM a debt, nor did I at any time.

At that point I'm furious. So I write up an email response, spelling out the problems I've had in complete detail and more or less make it clear, that I'm now prepared to go to war on this issue and that I'm prepared to take this thing to small claims court, to the CRTC, the BBB and whoever else will listen. Instead of sending back the email to the customer service center, I instead take a wild guess at the president of XM Canada's email address and also send a copy to another executive contact that I got from the BBB. And guess what? The very first thing, the next morning I get a call as well as an email from one of XM's exec's that the president has forwarded my email too. The manager who calls is quite helpful and apologizes and confirms that he's checked my accounts and that I'm pretty well right in every respect and that they are looking to make things right. At that point things finally get rectified.

Now here's what I can tell you that I've learned based on my experience...

1) As a policy, XM Canada will actually attempt to bill your credit card in advance of your subscription ending. So take note that they don't bill on the day that your subscription actually ends, instead they will auto bill your credit card up to 30 days or so before it ends.

2) If you try to cancel your subscription in advance of it ending, expect to get the run around when you call to cancel. They will do things like bounce you from person to person, they'll cut you off, put you on hold for lengthy periods of time etc. as they simply hope you will give up. You might also find that they'll tell you what you want to hear and then they'll claim they have no record of you calling them.

3) XM seems to believe and for the most part, it's their official position, that once you start up a subscription, that it runs indefinitely and they're entitled to renew it indefinitely. Given that, if XM attempts and for some reason can't renew your subscription when the comes time, whether that's because your credit card is expired or whatever, then you can most likely expect that they are of the position that they are entitled to be paid for another subscription and they will then send you to collections, as in their minds, they are entitled to renew your subscription. And the fact that even though they shut off the service to your radio once the old subscription ends, that is of little consequence to XM Canada. The simple fact is that you need to understand that from XM's perspective, they have a sense of entitlement that they can bill you for ever. It's the classic old case of negative option billing.

4) If you want to cancel your service, or just one of your radios, your best bet is to call well in advance. And you would be best to do everything in an official way. Meaning, make sure you can prove things via a paper trail, recording etc. Otherwise, you're likely to find that XM Canada has no record of your phone call, email or notification to them. So make sure you have irrefutable proof that you told XM Canada you notified them of your intention to cancel.

5) If you check XM Canada's BBB rating, you'll find it's an F. Sirius Canada's is actually somewhat better. If you run into unresolvable issues like I did, the BBB might be able to help. And quite honestly, going to the BBB might also have the bonus effect of getting someone to take notice about what is going on with XM and perhaps that will effect change.

My hope in posting all of that, is that it will help someone else, somewhere down the line.

-Checkmate
 

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Checkmate thanks for the heads up, my 6 month $4.99 special is up on Dec 30/2010. After reading your post this am I called XM and canceled as of Dec30/2010. I also got my radio ID and will follow up with a fax.

They did offer me some deals but nothing to interesting, they also are charging $0.97 a month for royalties to everyone this year, the service is becoming a hassle. I will download my tunes and put them on a USB key and play in the car.
Thanks again for you informative post!!
 

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You're welcome recon.

It's a long read I know.

I really enjoy XM for the music, but the recent customer service issues I went through, as others have as well, certainly are an issue. Before XM, I had Sirius and I switched because I found I got better reception with XM at my cottage.

Whatever you do, if you truly want to cancel, make very sure you have some kind of concrete proof, that you requested that your account be closed.

I would proceed, expecting that it's quite possible that XM Canada might just go ahead and try to take payment anyway, and then claim that they have no record of your cancellation request.

I'd be interested to hear how you ultimately make out.

-Checkmate
 

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I just cancelled a radio that was up for renewal next week, no problems at all, except for the 10 minutes waiting to get an actual CSR.
 

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Hi jem,

I did the same thing and months later they claimed that I had no record of me cancelling and then when my credit card was out of date and they couldn't renew, they sent the debt to collections. :rolleyes:

There are lots of stories about the same types of things happening to other people as well.

Hopefully things go normally for you.

-Checkmate
 

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My XM story

Well my XM story isn't as long as the previous, but equally as dumbfounding.

I purchased an Infiniti FX35 a few years back and it had XM Radio in it. I purchased a one year subscription, and it ran a couple of years. At some point I changed my credit card, and i knew that the XM was coming up soon so I didn't tell them the new number, figuring they would get the idea I didn't want to renew (I should have known better).

Anyway 3 months after, I decided to renew, so I called and I told them I wanted to renew. They told me fine, but I had to cover the previous 3 months that I owed them. Well, the ratio was turned off on the day that it expired so I wasn't sure what I owed them for.

Anyway, the short version is that I told them I no longer needed their services. I was ready to give them money, and it slipped right through their fingers.

The next week I got a bill from them for $360 for a year contract. I laughed and threw it in the garbage.

What I don't get, is that their service really is marginal. They offer radio, now there's lots of free radio out there, plus they have these things called CDs and MP3s and Thumb Drives that all compete quite well with XM, yet they can afford to alienate their customers.

It's just astounding to me.
 

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It is astounding, and I completely agree but this business model seems to work. Bell is still the biggest, Rogers is almost as big and they have to be the worst when it comes to billing practices and sketchy service. There are plenty of competitors but the sheep just seem to love getting screwed by companies in general. Best we can do is know better and inform and help our family and friends.
 

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IMHO, automatic renewal, as practiced by Sirius and XM, needs to be outlawed. It amazes me that 'negative billing' was dealt with years ago but automatic renewals are still allowed. If I buy 1 years service, that should be it. Automated renewals should be an opt-in option, not opt-out.
 

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IMHO, automatic renewal, as practiced by Sirius and XM, needs to be outlawed. It amazes me that 'negative billing' was dealt with years ago but automatic renewals are still allowed. If I buy 1 years service, that should be it. Automated renewals should be an opt-in option, not opt-out.
I don't see the difference between this and say, cable or satellite TV. You subscribe and you stay subscribed until you cancel, really also no different than phone, internet service, etc. Just because satellite radio gives you the option of paying for one year, people seem to think it should be a one year term that does not automatically renew. Makes no sense.
 

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It is well understood that some services incur a monthly charge. Even on the Sirius site, the monthly packages are listed at $xx/mo. No problem there. But do I want them billing a 3 year subscription to my CC at $450 a pop without asking? That's a big no and I think many would agree. Like I said, the default should be to opt-in to recurring subscriptions. The option is there if you look in the right place but it should always be there.
 

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It's deceptive is the problem

I think part of the difference is the time frame.

Once a year is a lot harder for people to remember than once a month.

If they sent a message reminding you that if you don't cancel you will automatically be renewed, or an email, or a phone call, but they don't.

But here's the kicker.

They stopped my service, not long after my termination date. They didn't call or anything. Then when I called to renew, they wanted me to pay for a full year at $360 (not what I paid initially). That's not right, it's not ethical. It's just a sneaky way of trying to get that last dollar out of you. Well, they got their last dollar out of me. So who is the winner?
 

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To be fair, when you sign up for Sirius or XM's service, you are the one who chooses when the billing is to be (Monthly, Annual, 3 year etc), not Sirius.
 

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I received a 1 year sub as a gift last May... are you telling me it's fair for them to ding the person who gave it to me this coming May?

These kinds of back-handed practices need to be outlawed.
 

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I guess the point that i'm trying to make is that they use unethical and unfair business practices to retain customers. They don't want you knowing that your service is about to expire, so they can ding you before you realize. It's just a bit shady. It's not much different than the telecom industry. Wasn't Bell fined 1.5M by the CRTC for not obeying the do not call registry? Something that they are managing? Shady Shady Shady.
 
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